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We need a British Bill of Rights – so we can hear less from the likes of Keir Starmer

13 October 2013

10:32 AM

13 October 2013

10:32 AM

In his five years as Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer  has shown a striking appetite for (self-) publicity and given the job a higher profile than ever. He’s just informed the world, from Andrew Marr’s sofa, that he’s opposed to plans by the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, to tear up the egregious Human Rights Act which is playing havoc with the English justice system.

I can see why he’s alarmed: the confusion caused by superimposing European law on English law gives huge power to people, like him, who adjudicate. It has encouraged, in England, the emergence of American-style judicial activism. And the confusion elevates people who should be legal technocrats, like Keir Starmer, into people who sit on Marr’s sofa and tell us why they have decided (for example) that the law prohibiting gender-based abortion should not be enforced.

Here’s what he had to say:-

Mind you, it would have been equally inappropriate for him to cheer on Grayling’s plan for a British Bill of Rights. The correct response to Marr’s question is that, as DPP, he is paid to enact the law as passed by democratically-elected government – rather than divest himself of opinions on what those laws should be. His intervention has, however, reminded us why we need a Bill of Rights. Rule of law is becoming rule by lawyers, as Harry Mount argued in a recent Spectator cover story. The laws of the land should be decided in Parliament by elected politicians, not by barristers like Starmer and the sooner a Bill of Rights makes this point, the better.


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