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Human Rights Act Could Bury Names of Arrested British Lawmakers

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British MPs are going to use human rights laws so that their names are not revealed if arrested by the police. The police and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority are jointly investigating another MP whom authorities refuse to name.

While the names of MPs arrested by the police get automatically published in the House of Commons order paper, IPSA refuses to name this MP. However, it admits there is “reason to suspect a criminal offence has been committed.”

The Telegraph disclosed that the UK government endorses a recommendation which is included in the “future business” listings at the House of Commons. The recommendation was tabled by Chris Grayling, the Conservative Leader of the House of Commons, as well as Conservative MPs Thérèse Coffey and Charles Walker.

According to the motion, the Speaker is not going to announce when an MP has been taken into custody. MPs, however, must pass the motion even though it could be “nodded through” if no one objects during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Dia Chakravarty from the TaxPayers’ Alliance said it was odd that the government was so secretive about it. “Given the lack of any clamour for a change to these long-standing rules, it certainly seems odd that the Government has quietly tried to slip this motion through and the public will want to question their motivation for doing so,” the political director said.

“It is all the more ironic that ministers appear to be relying on the same human rights laws they tell us they are committed to reforming.”

The Human Rights Act in the UK was adopted in 1998. According to The Guardian, it aims to hold to account the governments of 47 member countries of the Council of Europe. It offered rights and protections against governmental access to individuals: freedom of expression, fair trials and the prohibition of torture.

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