HC Deb 30 April 1968 vol 763 cc995-6
Q3. Mr. Archer

asked the Prime Minister whether he will establish a Commission to examine existing and proposed legislation in order to ensure conformity with the United Kingdom's obligations under human rights conventions.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. It is a normal responsibility of the Government to ensure that existing or proposed legislation conforms with the United Kingdom's obligations under any international instrument to which it is a party.

Mr. Archer

Without impugning the admirable record of this country in this field, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he agrees that it is better systematically to prevent infringements before someone gets hurt, and would not this also have the effect of reducing the appalling delays before ratifying such international obligations as the Genocide Convention?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. That is why I think the House was moved last week by the quotation by the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) of part of the Human Rights Convention which he felt was binding and over-riding on us all. That is why we have introduced the Race Relations Bill which was debated last week. We always have a problem, and have had under successive Governments, in respect of these human rights conventions and others of the special problems in one or two dependent territories, of the position in Rhodesia, and there has always been a derogation made which one day will have to be discussed with the Government concerned in respect of Northern Ireland.

Mr. Hogg

As the Prime Minister has referred to the Race Relations Bill, may I ask whether he will draw the attention of his right hon. Friend to an Amendment standing in my name and the names of other hon. Members to that Bill which will enable the Government to take advantage of his hon. Friend's suggestion?

The Prime Minister

I shall draw my right hon. Friend's attention to it, but I shall be surprised if he has not already studied it and realised its full implications. Obviously I would not wish to anticipate what will be said on both sides of the Committee when this matter is considered upstairs.

Forward to