Why have the Conservatives not published their “Bill of Rights” proposals?

Last week the Conservative party sent to the press a press release and a proposals paper on their envisaged “Bill of Rights” which is to replace the Human Rights Act 1998.

I published the press release here.  The legal blogger Carl Gardner published the policy paper here (and it was also published on a few news sites).


But the curious thing is that the Conservatives did not publish the press release or policy paper.  It seems that they sent their proposals, which would affect the fundamental rights of all citizens, to their contacts in the press.  Left to the Conservatives, the proposals were not to be published so that that public could read them unless a media outlet chose to publish the proposals.

What the Conservatives should have done, of course, is publish the proposals on their website, for consultation or comment.  After all, these are important proposals about a serious matter.

But, no.  The details of the proposals were for the Press only.  If the Press published the proposals paper then that was up to them.

And five days later, the Conservatives have still not published their proposals.

The only mention on their site is this pathetic page (“share the facts“!).  They also sent this (ironic) tweet (“Get the facts you need on our plans…“) linking to that utterly non-informative page.


One can understand why the Conservatives would now not want to publish their legally illiterate, widely derided proposals; but they did not not know what the response would be at the time the proposals were announced and shared with the Press.

What this omission indicates is something different from simple embarrassment.

What this shows is that the Conservatives only see this as a media exercise, so as to generate politically advantageous coverage.

The Conservatives do not really want to know what you think about abolishing the Human Right Act and they do not want you to have access to their plans, independent of any media outlet; the Conservatives instead care more about what the Press thinks and what the Press will tell you to think.

In essence, it tells you everything about the Conservatives’ contempt for citizens that their “Bill of Rights” proposals were intended only for the Press, and not for citizens to be able to see for themselves.




Just after I published this post, this happened – the Tories inserted a link on their website and dishonestly made out it had been there all along.




5 thoughts on “Why have the Conservatives not published their “Bill of Rights” proposals?”

  1. I’ve been following the tale on Twitter: as you point out, it’s amusing until you realise that these fools are the ruling party, in power, and exercising their powers to remove the rights of subjects; and lying about it.

    But is it really lying when you’re speaking to someone you regard with contempt? What is ‘truth’ or ‘lie’ when speaking whatever words you are supposed to say to people who simply do not matter? It’s demeaning and irritating that a man of Christopher Grayling’s importance is obliged to speak to people beneath him; it implies a respect, as if they matter, or are even – God Forbid! – they are in some way equals. Citizens, even.

    No, the people who matter have been told, in private. The voters who matter, in bulk if not as individuals, have heard their dog-whistle phrases and will chew enthusiastically at whatever they are given by the press; the voters who don’t matter… Well, who cares what they think? Is anyone in the mass media going to tell them? Would it even matter if they did?

    Place yourself in the shoes of the Minister, or his useful and ambitious servants, or think yourself into the place of some important aristocrat’s neice or nephew, running the Twitter feed at Party HQ…

    It isn’t ‘lying’ if you go out onto the family estate and tell your sheep and cattle that the moon is just the sun at night, the deficit is coming down, and the truth was always out there on the CCHQ website.

    The only possible embarrassment is that your neighbours – fellow landowners and a very old family – might think you a bit odd if they ever heard you pretending to talk seriously to livestock; and the sheep will bleat anyway, and it doesn’t matter, and the cows will come in to be milked anyway, and it doesn’t matter.

    The ‘Lie’, if it is a lie at all, is that you spoke to them at all, instead of giving them the orders they deserve, with an honest display of your contempt.

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