CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

FOREIGN AFFAIRS – SOVEREIGNTY & THE JUDGES – 11 January 2011

Dr Julian Lewis: Our right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir Malcolm Rifkind) is surely correct in saying that there is always what the Business Secretary would perhaps call the nuclear option of withdrawing completely. Is not one of the reasons why we, as a sovereign Parliament, are feeling more and more repressed by this sort of judicial activist legislation that things are so often put forward as if they were absolute rights whereas they should be viewed as qualified rights? That is why a common-sense Parliament would say that someone had abrogated some of their rights by bad behaviour, for example, but these courts say that the rights are absolute so that no matter how badly people behave, they cannot, for example, be deported.

[Mr William Cash: My hon. Friend makes a very important point, which I think all Members will want to take into account. As a lawyer myself – there are many other lawyers in the Chamber – I know that there always exists within the framework of the judicial or court system the adversarial nature of arguments based on words. One reason I came into this House after a fairly lengthy career in the law was that having had so much exposure to parliamentary legislation and its impact on people, I was conscious of the fact that however clever or adroit a lawyer might be in expressing his opinion in court or in his practice, the impact of law on the people who receive it – the voters – was quite a different matter. The common sense mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) provides a salutary reminder of the necessity to remember that we in this House are Members of Parliament. We are legislators; we are not lawyers. We are seeking to apply principles that will enable this country's people to be better governed.]