LONDON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron has angered rights groups over his planned repeal of the Human Rights Act.
Cameron intends to replace the Human Rights Act, considered a legacy of Winston Churchill, with a British Bill of Rights.
"It's exasperating to hear the prime minister vow to tear up the Human Rights Act again -- so he can draft 'his own.' Human rights are not in the gift of politicians to give. They must not be made a political plaything to be bestowed or scrapped on a whim," said Amnesty U.K.'s campaigns director, Tim Hancock.
Cameron's most recent announcement to repeal the Human Rights Act was made at a party conference in Birmingham, where he also criticized the broader European convention on human rights, stopping short of saying Britain would withdraw.
Since the European convention on human rights was written following World War II, "interpretations of that charter have led to a whole lot of things that are frankly wrong," said Cameron.
"Rulings to stop us deporting suspected terrorists. The suggestion that you've got to apply the human rights convention even on the battlefields of Helmand. And now -- they want to give prisoners the vote. I'm sorry, I just don't agree."
Invoking Britain's history as "the country that wrote the Magna Carta," Cameron asserted "we do not require instruction on this from judges in Strasbourg."
"So at long last, with a Conservative government after the next election, this country will have a new British Bill of Rights, to be passed in our parliament, rooted in our values. And as for Labour's Human Rights Act? We will scrap it, once and for all."
How will the British Bill of Rights differ from the Human Rights Act? That's a question Labour party spokesman Sadiq Khan is asking. "If it is different, Cameron needs to be honest with the British people and say which rights he wants to strip from them -- the right to a fair trial, the right to life or perhaps the right to privacy or freedom of expression?"
"The Human Rights Act gets the balance right between protecting our rights and preserving parliamentary sovereignty" says Andrea Coomber, who heads the law reform charity Justice. "Parliament isn't right 100% of the time, as ID cards, control orders and DNA databases remind us. ... If the rule of law is tempered by the popular majority, it becomes no real rule at all. Talk about this kind of British Bill of Rights might be good politics, but it's unnecessary and dangerous for our constitution."