Higher Education Bill
Bill of Rights
Higher Education Bill
Bill of Rights
To whom it may concern,
I have huge concerns regarding the National Security Bill in particular in regards to journalism.
This Bill could see journalists treated like spies for reporting on matters of public interest under these reforms.
Currently there is a defence of “matter of public interest” which allows the disclosure of materials. This is already treated with contempt as we saw when two members of staff had their homes raided in an attempt to find out who disclosed the footage of Matt Hancock having an affair during Covid.
The National Union of Journalists and other groups campaigned last year to have the defence put back in and the Law Commission then went on to recommend that a public interest defence ought to be available to anyone, including journalists, who are charged with unauthorised disclosure. It also suggested establishing an independent statutory commissioner to investigate concerns of wrongdoing from whistle blowers.
However the Home Office has not taken these forward. Responsible, conscientious people must not be criminalised for exposing wrongdoing and therefore I urge you to add these proposals to the Bill before it comes to Parliament.
I have cc’d my MP in to this so that they can address my concerns and be aware of the problematic nature of this Bill in advance.
I am writing to you today about my concerns regarding the Brexit Freedoms Bill as part of the Governments Operation Overreach to erode our rights and freedoms.
As you are undoubtedly aware as members of the EU some 13% of our laws came directly from there. Some of these are integral pieces of legislation that we wouldn’t want to get rid of such as maternity and paternity pay, working time directives and banking regulations.
Of course as we have now left the EU we now have to go through the 13% and either make it into full British law or get rid of it. I believe this should be done with due democratic process, with all MPs being able to represent their constituents by debating and voting on these pieces of legislation. However we see that the Government wants to pass the Brexit Freedoms Bill allowing a small group, behind closed doors, to have authority to pick and choose what to keep or not.
This means there would be no accountability, no opportunity for challenges to bad decisions and we could lose some vital legislation without any forewarning. This poses huge risks to us and those pieces of legislation that we would keenly like to retain.
Therefore I ask you to stand up for due democratic process and vote against this Bill at all stages.
I am writing to you today about my concerns regarding the Schools Bill as part of the Governments Operation Overreach to erode our rights and freedoms.
This Bill is a huge interference with private and family life. The notion that happy, healthy families have to answer to the local authority over so many aspects of their parenting and choices for education is absurd.
Of course we want to protect vulnerable and at risk children but there is already significant provisions in place to do that. This Bill will have an impact on well equipped home educators and make it almost impossible.
Further than that the penalties for not obeying this legislation and the local authorities rule are extreme. They will harm not just the parents but the children and the whole family unit.
The following points as listed by, Education Otherwise, are the ones of most concern:
As you can see the problems with this Bill are so numerous it is almost beyond redemption. Therefore I ask you, as my elected representative, to vote against this Bill in it’s entirety at all stages.
I am writing to you today about my concerns regarding the Higher Education Bill as part of the Governments Operation Overreach to erode our rights and freedoms.
This Bill seeks to make University education not only elitist but focused solely on the benefit in a capitalist society.
Firstly it seeks to penalise teens who fail their Maths and English the first time round. Many teens do just that, especially those who come from a vulnerable background, but then they resit it the following year and continue with their education. However once they reach university age, under these new proposals, they will no longer be able to stay in student halls or access student loans.
Further than that, the current practice is that if a teen is just one grade off their necessary grades to get into their desired course they can sit a foundation year first. Yet the Government are trying to close as many of these access points as possible.
This will disproportionally disadvantage teens from poor socio economic or minority backgrounds and it will become an elitist program only for the rich.
Alongside this provision is the Governments move to stop funding courses which do not see 60% of graduates in a highly skilled job within 6 months of leaving. This has lead to panicked responses with University’s closing courses like BA English Lit, BA English Lang, BA Human Geography and BA Education Studies with immediate effect. This means there will be no 22/23 intake despite students already having applied and accepted places on these courses. The teens that have struggled through the last few years of pandemic learning are now having their future hopes snatched away at the last minute.
I ask you as my MP to call upon the Government to reverse these proposals as a matter of urgency and halt this Bill so these courses can remain.
University education ought to be available for all, in a wide range of subjects.
I am writing to you today about my concerns regarding the Genetic Technology Precision Breeding Bill as part of the Governments Operation Overreach to erode our rights and freedoms.
I fundamentally believe that people need to not only be eating real food but also that they have a right to know what we are eating.
The EU had many stringent restrictions on genetic modification of plants and animals, especially when it came to products for consumption. However as we have now left the EU the we see that the Government wants to raise the threshold to a bar that is of high concern. Allowing companies to manipulate our food just to maximise their profits.
Further than that they want to remove any labelling to that effect so you won’t be able to confidently buy food in the supermarket and know what you are getting. Was this bread made with British farmed wheat or synthetic factory wheat? Was this chicken for my Sunday lunch the product of natural fertilisation or is it a Frankenstein chicken pumped full of who knows what during the breeding process? If this Bill goes through, we just won’t know.
Therefore I ask that you oppose this Bill entirely, to protect the health and rights of this nation, by voting against it at all stages.
I am writing to you today about my concerns regarding the Online Safety Bill as part of the Governments Operation Overreach to erode our rights and freedoms.
This Bill has merit in some parts. It is a legitimate aim to protect children grooming, revenge porn, hate speech, images of child abuse and posts relating to suicide and eating disorders. However as the term “legal but harmful content” remains undefined it will undoubtedly be used to stifle free speech.
It is a well known fact throughout history that ill defined legislation leads to Human Rights abuses. The Government will require big tech companies to censor the British people to ensure they don’t cause “harm” to their fellow. This means that often it will be millennials in Silicon Valley that will be determining what they believe is harmful.
This will likely lead to an overzealous approach due to a risk avoidant nature and the potential of big fines. Will conservative religious views be deemed harmful for example and therefore restricting religious expression? How about challenging the Government?
The loss of free speech is a loss of democracy. As coined by MP David Davis this is nothing short of a “censorship charter”.
I look to you as my MP to challenge this Bill at all stages to amend the term “legal but harmful” to ensure that this does not restrict my, or anyone in this nations, right to free speech.
I am writing to you today about my concerns regarding the Public Order Bill as part of the Governments Operation Overreach to erode our rights and freedoms.
We saw the Government assault our right to freedom with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Of course they tried to go even further than the original provisions by introducing late stage amendments to the House of Lords. Thankfully the Lords stopped these in their tracks.
However, now they are trying again. The Government act as if the recent actions of protesters are new in style or design however that is not the case. Interrupting the printing press or locking on has been happening for as long as protesting has, with the suffragettes themselves being partial to a lock on.
In this Bill there will be extensive stop and search powers, protesting injunctions which will see people being ankle tagged with no need to prove any prior criminality, higher sentences meaning protesters will be risking prison time if they go out and more.
This Bill is solely an attack upon our rights and freedoms, if it were allowed to go through we risk living under a dictatorship not in a democracy. I therefore ask you to oppose it in its entirety by voting against it at every stage.
I am writing to you today about my concerns regarding the Bill of Rights as part of the Governments Operation Overreach to erode our rights and freedoms.
I want to start by stating that I believe that this reform proposal is entirely unacceptable and I do not support it in any way. I stand for Human Rights and will continue to do so even if the Government tries to take them away through this reform.
The Government should be doing more to uphold our Human Rights and instead I find these proposals weaken and dilute them, which is why I cannot and will not support these proposals.
Below I will detail the six most pressing concerns that I see contained within the Governments proposal, this however, ought not to be taken as an endorsement of any other part of this Bill, of which I am entirely opposed.
My first concerns about the Bill of Rights are about how it will impact the individual. I have four main issues that I want to address which are that:
The proposal of a permission stage will be prohibitive.
In the reform proposal it proposes that there ought to be a permission stage when an individual wants to bring a Human Rights case before the court. This would ‘require claimants to demonstrate that they have suffered a significant disadvantage before a human rights claim can be heard in court.’ This will have a huge impact upon the number of claimants who are able to bring their case before the courts.
My belief is that our human rights need more protection, not less and bringing in this extra procedural stage with such a high, and undefined, threshold, at the initial stage, before it is even heard in court, means that many human rights abuse cases will go unheard. I do not believe that this can be considered acceptable.
I note the Government has used the same language as European Court of Human Rights protocol 14 but that is a European Court, facing a tremendous backlog. My belief is that as the domestic courts are not facing a backlog and each case referred to the courts will have been committed here in the UK it ought to be of the highest priority to the UK courts. I also fail to see that it is in any way comparable to the German Federal Constitutional Court which the Government makes reference to.
I want more protection for individuals, not less, therefore while I stand against the whole notion of this reform I would be particularly concerned about the introduction of a permission stage and believe it would lessen the amount our human rights were upheld.
The scope of positive obligations would be diminished.
There are many people in this nation who are in state run institutions from hospitals, to care homes, to prisons, to refuges. It has long been established that the state cannot absolve itself of its Human Rights obligations by doing nothing.
If the state does nothing and an individual’s rights are infringed upon and/or abused then the State is responsible, I believe this is rightly so. It is the Government’s obligation to uphold every citizen’s Human Rights.
Yet this proposed reform seeks to pass the buck and put the emphasis on personal responsibility. Now while I support the notion that we are all responsible for our own conduct, that does not mean the State can ignore Human Rights atrocities happening on it’s own soil, in it’s own institutions.
This impact will be felt predominantly by our most vulnerable in society; those with care needs, children in care homes, and so on. I will stand for them and their rights, they need proactive support. When this is coupled with the previous point which would prevent many of these cases even reaching court it would open up a huge risk of human rights abuses of our most vulnerable.
This, therefore, is another reason that I cannot support these proposals due to the reduction in accountability and increase in risk that it would cause.
Society could be given more rights than the individual.
We see the Government make mention of ‘wider public interest’ and ‘broader needs of society’ and say that each individual’s needs ought to be balanced against them. Now while of course we all have a duty to conduct ourselves that doesn’t injure or harm another these definitions are very wide and open to any number of interpretations.
With such wide terms anything that the Government decides could be defined as such would therefore be permissible in legislation. This is a very alarming prospect. For example it could be argued that it is in the broader needs of society for there to be no alcohol as pub brawls and alcoholism are not desirable.
Not only are these proposals concerning, upon their own merits, the tone of the Government’s commentary on the matter communicates a distinct disdain for what it calls a ‘rights culture’. Which I can only imagine is, by its definition, when an everyday citizen stands up and demands their Human Rights are respected and officials are held accountable.
I am wholly in favour of an individual being able to do so and I believe it is necessary, as we have lived in a nation that does not uphold Human Rights fully, for far too long. I do not believe an individuals needs ought to be interfered with for such low and vague criteria and I would not welcome this becoming normalised in our society.
An individual’s rights ought to be cherished and upheld at all times by doing that it will be of the most benefit to the ‘wider public interest’.
A persons right to rights could be judged by the court.
Now further to the point above, the Government’s disdain continues to be evident when it discusses the rights of people whose behaviour it has taken a dislike to.
It states ‘a Bill of Rights could require the courts to give greater consideration to the behaviour of claimants’. Again I believe in an individual’s Human Rights and I would not be willing for that to be deemed unnecessary due to past transgressions.
There are no definitions of what ‘behaviour’ would render an individual not worthy of their Human Rights, again this leaves it wide open for interpretation. Would a missed council tax payment from 15 years prior count? Or discussing a dislike of the Government on Social Media? This is yet again another very alarming prospect.
Even when an individual has committed a crime that requires a prison sentence, which is clearly an interference with their Human Rights as it is, that does not mean that all their other rights can or ought to then be disregarded.
I am concerned that the Government is essentially stating that you have to earn the right to your rights. This is never something I can support therefore this is another part of this reform proposal that I vehemently disagree with.
Further to the matters that I have outlined above that affect the individual I also have concerns that there are many parts of the reform that will affect the checks and balances at a Parliamentary and judicial level that we rely upon to uphold our human rights. The three main issues that concern me are:
Judicial amendments will not be allowed unless in line with the will of Parliament.
We are a nation that prides itself on a common law history and we rely heavily upon case law to govern the nation. This has allowed judges to interpret the law and apply it to real world cases and to make judgements without the influence of party politics.
This has been an essential part of the checks and balances that we rely on in this country to protect us from ill-thought out legislation and undue influence from outside sources.
However under these proposals the Government will be able to be more prescriptive to the courts giving it explicit guidance that it must follow rather than allowing the judge to make interpretations and judgements, essentially preventing a judge from doing it’s job.
The courts and judges will have to abide by the will of Parliament. Therefore Parliament will rule all, including the judges and the courts. There will no longer be any separation of power.
I am against the Government giving itself such powers and I believe it could have devastating effects, if not now, but in the future as this would apply to all future Governments.
Removal of the ability to quash Statutory Instruments.
I believe that Statutory Instruments should not be used to make any significant legislation due to the fact they do not have full consideration of the Houses in the same way that Primary Legislation does. Furthermore they can be enacted and become law before the House is given any time to debate the matter, if any is even given.
This means Secretaries of State hold an enormous amount of power as we saw with Matt Hancock and the Health Regulations 2020.
Under the proposals it would prevent courts from being able to overturn any Statutory Instruments that do not uphold people’s Human Rights. This is highly concerning as it means legislation could be passed, quickly and knowingly not in line with Human Rights and there would be no mechanisms to overturn it.
Since 2014 only 14 Statutory Instruments have been overturned but where Statutory Instruments do not have full consideration of the House, and often do not have impact assessments conducted prior to enactment, it is absolutely essential that there is some method to challenge this legislation.
My belief is that each of the above points is, on an individual basis, abhorrent but all together they combine to make a chilling proposition which I do not believe anyone could be in favour of.
I note that none of the devolved nations have been involved in the construction of this proposed reform and are in fact opposed to it. Wales has issued a statement in which they also reference a letter to the Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab MP, from the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney MSP setting out the Scottish Government’s objections too.
Furthermore in the Welsh statement they reference their own 165 page research paper on the implementation of Human Rights in Wales. The conclusion of that extensive study was that while the Human Rights Act itself is strong and appropriate it needs to be applied more thoroughly so that people’s lived experience reflects it. The conclusion was not to water it down and to take away more individual rights but in actual fact enhance it more.
There was also a lot of evidence gathered by the Independent Human Rights Review in advance of the preparation of the Governments reform proposals and the Government has seemingly ignored the majority of it. The evidence affirmed the positive benefits of the Human Rights Act and highlighted, not only the concerns for the people of this nation, but also the potential negative impact around the world if the UK is seen to be regressing in the area of fundamental human rights.
These are our fundamental human rights and these are something I believe in. I reiterate my stance that I stand against the notion of a reform from the Human Rights Act to a Bill of Rights in its entirety and believe what the Government should be focusing on is how to uphold our rights more, not less.
I believe this reform proposal does nothing to serve the individual or society; it merely increases Government control and we will, over time, lose us our fundamental human rights.
This reform must not go ahead and I look to you, as my representative in Parliament to vote it down at every opportunity.
I am writing to you today about my concerns regarding the Economic Crimes Bill as part of the Governments Operation Overreach to erode our rights and freedoms.
Here in the UK we have what is known as a fiat currency. One centralised currency controlled by the Bank of England. As we know there are six big banks that control and monopolise the market and make an exceptional amount of money by doing so.
Crypto currency is an alternative. A decentralised currency with no control by the Government or big banks. This Bill is the first one to legislate that the Government can take control of your Crypto currency. While we recognise that it is currently in relation to crimes, we believe this is the first step on a slippery slope to the Government trying to control crypto.
I ask you to vote against these provisions of the Bill to protect people’s rights to a decentralised currency.
I am writing to you today about my concerns regarding the Boycotts Bill as part of the Governments Operation Overreach to erode our rights and freedoms.
As we all know, there are some companies that behave ethically and others that do not. As consumers and individuals we have the right to choose to boycott certain companies if we choose to. This can be a hugely powerful tool.
The other option is for other businesses to boycott unethical businesses too. Refusing to trade with or fund businesses whose practices fall short of decent moral standards. Obviously if a business boycotts another this carries even more weight than an individual doing so.
However I now see that the Government is seeking to outlaw this practice and prevent businesses from boycotting one another. This is a huge interference with the rights of business owners to choose who they want to work with and will of course impact small independent businesses, who uphold high ethical standards, the most.
Please protect ethical businesses and their integrity by voting against this Bill.