Religion and human rights: safe in the hands of HMG?

Two snippets from speeches by Cabinet Ministers at this week’s Conservative Party conference:

Eric Pickles:

“This Government has backed British values, having pride in our nation and our flags, supporting our united identity and our common English language.

We have stood up for the role of Christianity and faith in public life. And protected councils’ right to hold prayers at meetings, if they wish. Upholding values of tolerance and freedom of religion. They’re not human rights. They’re British rights. Rights that existed long before European Judges came into existence.”

Teresa May:

“Last year, for example, I came to conference and I said ‘enough is enough’ on the misuse of human rights laws. You might remember the speech – Ken Clarke and I spent the next few days arguing about a cat. I said we’d change the immigration rules to end the abuse of Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights.  One year later, the new rules are in place and ready to be tested by the courts.

I still believe we should scrap the Human Rights Act altogether – but for now, we’re doing everything we can to stop human rights laws getting in the way of immigration controls.” [emphasis added].

Comment: is superfluous, except perhaps the thought that what Eric Pickles almost certainly meant to say was “unelected European Judges”.