Gay community sceptical about Cameron’s Bill of Rights

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background. Exclusive

The gay community has reacted with scepticism towards David Cameron’s idea of a British Bill of Rights.

The leader of the Conservative Party said in a speech at the Centre for Policy Studies, that the current Human Rights Act did not adequately help fight terrorism or crime.

He claimed a British Bill of Rights would better reflect rights and responsibilities of UK citizens.

Mr Cameron said: “While the relationship between individual citizens and powerful institutions may change in response to changing circumstances, it is vital that free societies do all they can to maintain people’s human rights and civil liberties, not least because a free society is, in the long term, one of the best protections against terrorism and crime.”

He said a new solution is needed “that protects liberties in this country that is home-grown and sensitive to Britain’s legal inheritance that enables people to feel they have ownership of their rights and one which at the same time enables a British Home Secretary to strike a common-sense balance between civil liberties and the protection of public security.”

Mr Cameron added that he would still make use of European courts but judges could base their rulings on a British document.

Gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, told “I cannot see how a Bill of Rights can improve on the Human Rights Act.

“Given David Cameron’s criticism of human rights legislation, I suspect his bill of rights would water down the act, this would cause grave damage to the lesbian and gay community’s campaign for equality.

“It’s a Trojan horse to halt possibly the gains we have made.”

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay charity Stonewall, told, “We would have to take a view if what was in it and if it provides the same protections.

“If it reduced the protections then we would be more anxious.”

Mr Cameron’s proposal was labelled as “dangerous” and likely to cause “confusion” by the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith.

The Human Rights Act has been most recently used by transsexuals to ensure they gain pension rights according to their proper gender and was a key factor in the introduction of civil partnerships last year.

It is currently being referred to in the case of Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson, a British lesbian couple looking to have their Canadian marriage recognised in the UK.