Joint Committee on Human Rights Written Evidence

33.  Letter from Michael Wills MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

  As you know, in July last year the Prime Minister announced the publication of The Governance of Britain Green Paper, which set out the Government's programme for Constitutional change and signalled our intention to consult on a Rights and Duties. Both he and Jack Straw confirmed the planned publication of a Green Paper on the subject at separate events on 25 October.

  Since then, we have been working within the Ministry of Justice to draft a paper which will set rights and responsibilities in context, both historical and philosophical, and will ask a range of questions about content, process and outcomes.

  The paper will not be prescriptive. It is our intention to carry out a thorough consultation process going, we hope, far beyond the views of constitutional experts, from whom we are already seeking advice. A key aim of the public engagement process will be to target those harder-to-reach constituencies who stand to benefit most from our work.

  The responses we anticipate receiving are very much in line with those you are likely to receive from your own enquiry presaged in your call for evidence by way of Press Notice No. 38 of Session 2006-07 A BRITISH BILL OF RIGHTS.

  Our preparations for the Green Paper have reached the stage of inter-Departmental discussions, which we hope to have completed shortly. We also await Lord Goldsmith's report to the Prime Minister on his citizenship enquiry, the outcomes of which we would expect to inform our paper.

  We want to work as closely as may be with everyone who has an interest in this matter. It is not a proper subject for "quick wins" or party based spinning. Indeed, we expect the results of this exercise to last well into the future. If that is to be the case, we would hope to take opposition parties with us and we will endeavour to do that as the process goes on.

  Meanwhile, it would be most helpful to know the timetable for your own enquiry. I will happily come to give oral evidence if invited in due course, but would very much like to be able to take advantage of your final report as an important source of wisdom on the topic, whether or not it comes in time for the eventual publication of the Green Paper, scheduled for sometime in the first part of this year.

24 January 2008

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 10 August 2008