During the last decade or so the UK has been the stage for a legislation extravaganza in the name of counter-terrorism and national security. Such laws, often hastily passed and draconian in nature, have been the source of much debate. Twelve years ago today Parliament passed the first in this controversial series of statutes – the Terrorism Act 2000.
While it might not be as immediately obvious as the right to life or the right to a fair trial, for instance, the right to marry is a hugely important freedom and one protected by Article 12 of the Human Rights Act.
Of all the fundamental freedoms protected by the Human Rights Act, none attracts controversy quite like Article 8 – the right to respect for your private and family life. Barely a day passes without it hitting the headlines for apparently all the wrong reasons. Flicking through certain newspapers you would be forgiven for concluding that it exists only to shield foreign murderers and rapists from deportation.
Next week MPs will have their last chance to debate the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill before it moves to the House of Lords. It’s fitting that Monday is also Halloween, for there is much to be frightened of in these proposals.
Another day, another unprovoked attack on the Human Rights Act. The Prime Minister, writing in the Sunday Express, gave the HRA another thoroughly predictable bashing. It’s all becoming depressingly familiar – the legislation carries the can for everything from the recent riots, ‘young people today’ to a perceived erosion of personal responsibility. Perhaps climate change and rising obesity can be laid at its door too?