NEW MP Keir Starmer has used his maiden speech in the House of Commons to demand that the Human Rights Act is saved from the axe.
He rose to his feet in the chamber on Friday for the first time since winning the Holborn and St Pancras parliamentary seat at last month’s general election, warning that the Conservative government would be making a mistake to repeal the Act.
Magna Carta was the foundation of the notion of equality before the law and individual freedom; that it enshrined due process, habeas corpus and access to justice; and that it was the origin of trial by jury.
It is thus ironic that in the year when we celebrate Magna Carta, proposals were announced in the Queen’s Speech to ‘bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights’. That is code, of course, for repealing the Human Rights Act, which, like Magna Carta, is a human rights instrument setting out fundamental values and rights.