The Conservative Manifesto and human rights

The Conservative Party has published its Manifesto in advance of the General Election. On the issue of the UK’s continued adherence to international human rights obligations, it says this:

“We will not bring the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law. We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway but we will consider our human rights legal framework when the process of leaving the EU concludes. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the next parliament.” [p 37]


In a sense, since we are leaving the EU the issue of the Charter of Fundamental Rights will fall away because, in any event, it applies to national authorities only in circumstances in which EU law is engaged. The critical guarantee for freedom of thought, conscience and religion is Article 9 ECHR; and it is somewhat reassuring to note that, should Mrs May win, the UK’s commitment to the ECHR – and, presumably, though not stated in terms, to the jurisdiction of the ECtHR – will remain intact until 2022 or thereabouts. And, who knows, with experience she may even come to soften her attitude to Strasbourg.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Cite this article as: Frank Cranmer, "The Conservative Manifesto and human rights" in Law & Religion UK, 18 May 2017,

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