§ Mrs. Bridget Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to ratify the 1 and 2 optional protocols to the international 347W covenant on civil and political rights and the 6 optional protocol to the European convention on human rights; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
We have no plans to ratify these optional protocols. We believe that the European convention on human rights—ECHR—provides individuals with a stronger means of redress than they would have under the first optional protocol to the international covenant on civil and political rights—ICCPR. With regard to the second optional protocol to the ICCPR and the sixth optional protocol to the ECHR, we believe that the abolition or reintroduction of the death penalty is an issue of conscience which should be decided by a free vote of Parliament.