X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Stop blaming judges, Ms May, and repeal the Human Rights Act

18 February 2013

9:12 AM

18 February 2013

9:12 AM

The latest session in May versus Judges over foreign criminals’ right to family life (Article 8 of the European Convention) is running as prescribed. Theresa May used the Sunday papers to demand that judges follow the wishes of parliament and deport more foreign criminals. A gaggle of retired judges and eminent lawyers told (£) her where to get off.

In terms of the PR and the politics, it is game, set and match to Ms May. As Trevor Kavanagh notes in The Sun, the Eastleigh by-election, where immigration may play as an issue, is an important backdrop for the Home Secretary, particularly given the imminent arrival of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants. But, as for the validity of the arguments, the judges are right, and it is they who are upholding the will of Parliament.

[Alt-Text]


Ms May, after a sustained campaign in the media, introduced changes to the existing immigration rules on 13 June 2012, to iron out inconsistencies and to suit the government’s policy objectives. The explanatory memorandum describes her aim with regard to foreign criminals’ right to family life:

‘In particular, the new Immigration Rules reflect the qualified nature of Article 8, setting requirements which correctly balance the individual right to respect for private or family life with the public interest in safeguarding the economic well-being of the UK by controlling immigration and in protecting the public from foreign criminals.’

The phrase ‘qualified nature’ refers to the words of the convention: the right is subject to restrictions that are ‘necessary in a democratic society’. The government’s argument is that restrictions are necessary in order to protect economic interests and public safety.

The judiciary has been busy applying the new rules, balancing the rights of the individual with the interests of the public; but, the rules do not trump the Human Rights Act (1998), the relevant piece of primary legislation. The guidelines are, well, just guidelines. They were discussed in the House of Commons; but the Commons is not Parliament, and a Commons debate does not have the binding force of an Act of Parliament. The law cannot and should not change without full and proper parliamentary scrutiny and a vote.

The judiciary is upholding the will of Parliament in this case, not the Home Secretary. If Ms May doesn’t like the law, she should seek to change it by repealing the Human Rights Act.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close