Joint Committee on Human Rights Written Evidence

34.  Letter from the Chairman to Michael Wills MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

  Thank you for your letters of 24 January, about our Bill of Rights inquiry, and 8 February, in reply to my letter of 23 January.

  In your letter of 24 January you asked about the timetable for our Bill of Rights inquiry. I am sorry for the delay in responding, but this matter was only discussed by my Committee yesterday. Our intention is to conclude taking oral evidence before the April recess with a view to publishing our Report before the Whit break. With that aim in mind, I wish to invite the Secretary of State for Justice and you to appear before the Committee on Tuesday 1 April at 2.30pm. I am copying this letter to the Secretary of State and would be grateful to know as soon as possible whether this date and time is convenient for you both.

  In my letter of 23 January I noted that the Government had yet to provide written evidence to our Bill of Rights inquiry. Your reply does not address this issue directly but refers to your letter of 24 January being your contribution to the inquiry. I would not be satisfied to accept this letter as a memorandum from the department. Although I understand that you are still finalising your Green Paper, I would expect a fuller memorandum giving some more detailed reasoning as to why the Government wishes to consult on this issue at this time, perhaps drawing on some of the speeches that you and the Secretary of State have been giving in recent weeks. Could you clarify whether or not you will be providing us with a written memorandum ahead of your oral evidence?

  I would be grateful if you could reply by Thursday 6 March.

21 February 2008

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