Strasbourg Court needs big changes

CAREFUL readers will recall that, in common with both main political parties, I do not believe that convicted prisoners, whilst in jail, should have any right to vote.

As Justice Secretary, I was faced with a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg telling the UK that we were wrong.

I felt that the Strasbourg Court had over-reached itself.

It had been set up after the last war to ensure basic rights in countries controlled for years by fascists.

It had done a good job in this area.

But it was not there to second guess decisions of national courts in the functioning democracies of Europe, where the judiciary were plainly independent.

Our highest courts (under the Human Rights Act) had said whether prisoners could vote was up to the electors and Parliament, not unelected judges.

Much more serious than prisoner votes is whether “guests” in this country – those here as spouses, on work permits, unfounded asylum seekers – can be deported from the UK if they break our rules; and who should decide.

The man who, in Blackburn, killed young Amy Houston in a hit-and-run accident is a case in point.

Ministers said he must leave the UK.

He pleaded a “right to a family life” because, after he’d exhausted all rights to be here, he’d become a father by a local girl.

But our courts said they had to follow what the Strasbourg Court had laid down. He’s still here.

With senior Conservative David Davis MP, I went to see the presiding judges in Strasbourg shortly before Christmas – to press for the Court to rein itself back to its original purpose, and that it needed big changes in the way it operated, and who became judges.

This year – for the first time since 1992 – the UK has the Presidency of the Council of Europe (nothing to do with the EU), the Court’s parent body.

It gives us a once-in-a- generation chance to lead reform.

So I’m very pleased that Prime Minister David Cameron went out to Strasbourg yesterday to make that case.

Comments (6)

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2:45pm Thu 26 Jan 12

Jerzei Balowski says...

So if Cameron is unable to reform the court, and brings an act before parliament to withdraw us from it, you and your colleagues will vote with the Government ?

Thought not.
So if Cameron is unable to reform the court, and brings an act before parliament to withdraw us from it, you and your colleagues will vote with the Government ? Thought not. Jerzei Balowski

4:58pm Thu 26 Jan 12

district01 says...

Constantly blowing your own trumpet is not an endearing trait!

“With senior Conservative David Davis MP, I went to see the presiding judges in Strasbourg shortly before Christmas – to press for the Court to rein itself back to its original purpose, and that it needed big changes in the way it operated, and who became judges.”

I don’t think that anyone who has caused many thousands of innocent lives both at home and abroad because of the invasion of Iraq by way of a lie should have the right to vote either. Why should both yourself and Tony Blair have the right of a vote and not them? Those that cast stones at others should look themselves in the eye!

Also, why have you brought the name of poor Amy Houston into the discussion now. You were there supposedly upholding the law yourself at that time and not until now have sought to mention her case?

Better late than never?
I don’t think so!
Constantly blowing your own trumpet is not an endearing trait! “With senior Conservative David Davis MP, I went to see the presiding judges in Strasbourg shortly before Christmas – to press for the Court to rein itself back to its original purpose, and that it needed big changes in the way it operated, and who became judges.” I don’t think that anyone who has caused many thousands of innocent lives both at home and abroad because of the invasion of Iraq by way of a lie should have the right to vote either. Why should both yourself and Tony Blair have the right of a vote and not them? Those that cast stones at others should look themselves in the eye! Also, why have you brought the name of poor Amy Houston into the discussion now. You were there supposedly upholding the law yourself at that time and not until now have sought to mention her case? Better late than never? I don’t think so! district01

6:43pm Thu 26 Jan 12

Wishingwell says...

Yeh, Right Mr Straw just like the Crims would vote for Mr Cameron. Lol You can't be standing again!
Yeh, Right Mr Straw just like the Crims would vote for Mr Cameron. Lol You can't be standing again! Wishingwell

9:29pm Thu 26 Jan 12

Between_the_lions says...

Wasn't it the Liebour Party that allowed convicted prisoners to have game stations, tv's, their own clothes and other luxuries in prison.

I'm sure that offended more people than the voting issue.
Wasn't it the Liebour Party that allowed convicted prisoners to have game stations, tv's, their own clothes and other luxuries in prison. I'm sure that offended more people than the voting issue. Between_the_lions

5:34am Sun 29 Jan 12

outofyourmind says...

well! people? what do you realy expect from him, iam still waiting for my referendum. forget it people we are not in a democratic country. thay just let us think that? it makes us easyer to control. be fair if thay said were going to take all your money and teach you kids **** subjects, because when thay grow up. theirs no jobs to go too,thats if the parants are lucky to have a job then,only 10 years away 4 milllon plus unempolyed nice one jack you and your labour mates have done more to distroy the UK than hittler. and he drop bombs!!! if i had my way you and tony would be danceing at the end of a rope. That does not inclued war crimes, the police are bent? if thay wasnt people mr jack **** would be in jail. so think on that good bye and good luck we will all need it!!!!
well! people? what do you realy expect from him, iam still waiting for my referendum. forget it people we are not in a democratic country. thay just let us think that? it makes us easyer to control. be fair if thay said were going to take all your money and teach you kids **** subjects, because when thay grow up. theirs no jobs to go too,thats if the parants are lucky to have a job then,only 10 years away 4 milllon plus unempolyed nice one jack you and your labour mates have done more to distroy the UK than hittler. and he drop bombs!!! if i had my way you and tony would be danceing at the end of a rope. That does not inclued war crimes, the police are bent? if thay wasnt people mr jack **** would be in jail. so think on that good bye and good luck we will all need it!!!! outofyourmind

6:26pm Sun 29 Jan 12

district01 says...

PS - How about doing something really useful Jack in your retirement by trying to get a ‘Labour’ party back. I know that this would be very difficult because of your past willingness to have succumbed to Tony Blair’s party traits, but better to have a true ‘Labour’ party than what we have at the moment.

Tony Blair has a lot to answer for because of the trouble he’s caused and his offspring aren’t doing any better are they?

Our country needs a Labour Party and not a continuation of a Tony Blair ‘new’ party pretending to be something they have proven never to have been!
PS - How about doing something really useful Jack in your retirement by trying to get a ‘Labour’ party back. I know that this would be very difficult because of your past willingness to have succumbed to Tony Blair’s party traits, but better to have a true ‘Labour’ party than what we have at the moment. Tony Blair has a lot to answer for because of the trouble he’s caused and his offspring aren’t doing any better are they? Our country needs a Labour Party and not a continuation of a Tony Blair ‘new’ party pretending to be something they have proven never to have been! district01

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