New campaign: Time to change a prejudicial and unfair employment tribunal system

Sir Keith Lindblom Senior President of the Tribunals Pic credit: gov.uk

This week sees the launch of a campaign by doctors, whistleblowers, journalists and members of the public to seek a big change in the way the employment tribunal system works.

It follows a series of judgements against whistleblowers – some have been carried on this blog- where the judgement itself ignores or twists facts and where the whistleblower – often but not always a litigant in person – has to defend himself or herself against big battalion lawyers brought in by employers.

Many of the cases involve issues like hospital and patient safety, bullying, harassment, racial and sex discrimination where a claimant is sacked for suggesting anything has gone wrong rather than the issue being sorted.

Worse some of most egregious offenders are in the public sector. They are the hospital and trust bosses, the management of Sellafield and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and Greater Manchester Police to name a few current examples. They spend millions of pounds on expensive barristers and solicitors fees all funded with your money – the taxpayer – rather than using your money to correct the problem.

They then go and try and bankrupt whistleblowers or drive them into abandoning their case by putting in six figure cost claims against them. Or use taxpayer’s money to give them six figure pay offs in return for a non disclosure agreement.

Judge Barry Clarke, President of the Employment Tribunals of England and Wales

All this is presided over by the judges who have a whip hand – they don’t record the proceedings or keep transcripts. They keep notes but they are for their private use and you cannot get them -even through a subject access request.

The only public record is their judgement – and if it misses out some of the evidence – there is no record that the evidence was ever given to the tribunal. And you cannot make a recording of the hearing – that is a criminal offence. Employers with more resources can employ their own note-takers – very useful if it goes to appeal and their lawyers won’t share their transcripts with the claimant.

The only safeguard is mainstream media which might report the hearing – though even then some employers try to get some of their evidence held in camera. But with the parlous state of the media , especially local media, journalists are rarely there.

Judge Shona Simon; President of the Scottish Employment Service

That is why the campaign has begun with a letter to the three top employment judges in the UK – Sir Keith Lindblom; Judge Barry Clarke and Judge Shona Simon, seeking a fundamental change to facilitate open justice- that transcripts of the proceedings of employment tribunals should be kept. The letter argues that the principle of a fair trial – enshrined by the European Court of Human Rights – cannot take place if only one side can afford to keep a record. It gives the employer a permanent advantage.

The decision to write the letter was taken at a meeting of Justice for Patients and Doctors – but supported by other whistleblowers who are not in the NHS.

With the help of my journalist colleague Philip Whiteley, Sellafield whistleblower Alison McDermott, cardiologist whistleblower Usha Prasad and junior doctor whistleblower Dr Chris Day,, the letter was circulated on social media.

Within just seven days we had backing from well over 300 people – from a former economic adviser to No Ten Downing Street, Sir Adam Ridley, 80 medical consultants, numerous GPs, nurses, teachers, to a former deputy groundsman at the Chelsea Pensioners hospital, a lorry driver, an actor, writer and a poet. This seems to suggest there is a wide ranging feeling that there is something wrong in the justice system.

This is the roll call of honour:

  1. Sir Adam Ridley former Downing Street adviser and economics adviser to Nigel Lawson and Sir Geoffrey Howe
  2. Jane Somerville, Emeritus Professor of Cardiology, Imperial College
  3. David E Ward, former cardiology consultant, St George’s Hospital, London
  4. Michael Byram Professor Emeritus University of Durham
  5. Dr Philip Howard MA G Dip Law LLM MA MD FRCP Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist
  6. Prof Brendan T Barrett Dip Optom Bsc Psychol PhD MCOptom FAOI FHEA
  7. Gautam Appa Emeritus Professor of OR Dept of Management, LSE
  8. Dr Chris Day, Emergency Medicine Doctor A&E Agency
  9. Dr Usha Prasad MBChB FRCP FESC Former Consultant Cardiologist and Lead Clinician for Heart Failure Epsom & St Helier University Hospital; Currently Locum Consultant Cardiologist at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  10. Dr Arun Baksi, Emeritus consultant physician
  11. Dr Michael Eden, consultant pathologist
  12. Susan Burell, consultant sonographer/ radiographer
  13. Dr Louella Vaughan, Consultant Physician in Acute Medicine
  14. Dr Kit Byatt, retired consultant geriatrician now working in human rights medicine
  15. Dr Ravi M Kare Consultant Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals
  16. Dr Paul Garrud Hon. Associate Professor, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham
  17. Dr Margaret Beedie Retired consultant psychiatrist
  18. Dr Susan Read MBE, FRCN. Retired Professor of Nursing Research at Sheffield University.
  19. Craig Jerwood MBBS, FRCA, FFICM Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine
  20. Dr Chantal Meystre MB ChB MA FRCP UKCP Palliative Medicine Consultant and Integrative Psychotherapist
  21. Thomas R. Lee, MB, BChir, FRCP, MRCPC retired Paediatrician
  22. Dr Jenefer Sargent Consultant Paediatrician
  23. Dr Catriona Connolly MBBS FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist
  24. Julia Bodle Consultant obstetrician
  25. Lesley Pavincich Consultant Psychotherapist
  26. Dr Rakesh Aga FRCP, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Nobles Hospital Isle of Man
  27. Shona M Hamilton Consultant Obstetrician (Retd) BSc, MB ChB, LLB, PGCert, MPhil FRCOG
  28. Dr Nancy Redfern Consultant Anaesthetist.
  29. Dr Katharine McDevitt, MBBS, MRCPCH, FRACP, Consultant Paediatrician Peterborough City Hospital
  30. John A Hamilton FRCS Edinburgh & Glasgow Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon (Retd.)
  31. Dr D S Wijayatilake Consultant Intensive Care Medicine Queens Hospital Romford
  32. Milap Rughani Consultant Plastic Surgeon
  33. Dr Hugo Farne Respiratory Consultant, Imperial College London
  34. Eleni Gounari Paediatric consultant
  35. Therese Walsh Anaesthesia Fellow
  36. Mr Ismail Hassan Consultant Obs. & Gynae Birmingham Women & Children Hospital
  37. Dr Sarwat Shah Locum Consultant Dermatologist
  38. Mark J Curtis MBBS FRCS (Ed) FRCS (Eng) MFSEM (UK), Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
  39. Jacqueline Anne Henshall Head of Private Patients (recently retired) Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  40. Matthew Welberry Smith Consultant Renal Transplant Physician
  41. Dr M Senaratne Consultant Psychiatrist
  42. Nasser Kurdy Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
  43. Edwin Jesudason, Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine Scotland
  44. Dr Arshad Siddique Consultant Psychiatrist
  45. Francis Sheehy Skeffington Retired Consultant Paediatrician
  46. Val Kyle, retired Consultant Rheumatologist
  47. Dr Neil Finer, Consultant Ophthalmologist
  48. Salam Alsam NHS Consultant
  49. Dr Kim E Isaacs FRACS Consultant Surgeon | Surgical Oncology General Surgery | St Vincent’s Hospital, Australia
  50. Mr John Davies Consultant surgeon Whipps Cross Hospital
  51. David Church, Locum GP, Wales, and currently also Consultant Support to North Wales Regional Hub of Test, Trace, Protect
  52. Keith Baxby Retired consultant surgeon. Dundee
  53. Dr Sean Whyte Consultant Psychiatrist & Deputy Medical Director
  54. Dr John Cøoper Consultant cardiologist
  55. Aprajit Bhalla Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
  56.  Dilshad Marikar Paediatric Consultant West Suffolk Hospital
  57. Dr Carolyn Ruth Broadbent, recently-retired Consultant Anaesthetist, Royal Derby Hospital
  58. Dr Philip Timms Consultant Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust
  59. Dr Katherine Pendry Consultant Haematologist (retired)
  60. Dr Jenny Jenkins Retired Consultant Anaesthetist
  61. Mr Basavaraj Sreeshyla, consultant ENT surgeon
  62. Dr Jonathan Taylor, consultant in emergency medicine 
  63. Dr Subramanian Narayanan, consultant radiologist
  64. Dr Deb Lee, consultant paediatrician
  65. Dr Peter Sheppard.  Consultant radiologist
  66. Dr Sheena Pinion, former consultant obstetrician Kirkcaldy Scotland
  67.  Iain Muir Consultant Surgeon Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary
  68. Dr John Baksi, consultant cardiologist
  69. Dr Bettina Harms, consultant paediatrician
  70. Professor Parag Singhal, consultant endocrinologist
  71.  Dr Christopher Moulton, Consultant in emergency medicine
  72. Dr Colin Hutchinson. Consultant Ophthalmologist
  73. Mr Amit Sinha, consultant Orthopaedic surgeon
  74. Dr Chriam George, consultant radiologist
  75. Dr Venugopal Poothirikovil, consultant paediatrician
  76. Miss Helen Fernandes, consultant neurosurgeon
  77. Mr Radhakrishna Shanbhag, Consultant in Trauma
  78. Dr Anil Jain, consultant radiologist
  79. Mr Omer Karim MB BS, MS, FRCSUrol, Locum Consultant Urological Surgeon, Royal Marsden and Charing Cross Hospitals
  80. Dr Azhar Ansari MBChB DM PhD FRCP
  81. Dr Tariq Choudhry.  Locum Consultant Psychiatrist Barnet Enfield and Haringey NHS Trust
  82. Dr Amit Mukherjee, Consultant Psychiatrist, London
  83. Roger Gartland actor
  84. Dr Ana Martinez Nahorro, Consultant cardiologist
  85. Kevin Donovan, secretary, Defend Our NHS
  86.  Brian Howard Thompson Retired BT Divisional Director
  87. Dr Malila Noone, Microbiologist
  88. DR Sunil Saxena, Anaesthetist
  89. Dr Naila Aslam, medical advisor.
  90. Dr Suma Basavaraj, general practitioner
  91. Dr Nishant Joshi, GP
  92. Mr Alexander Phillips, Research Director
  93. Dr David Mark Thornton, Senior partner, Richmond Medical Centre, Lincoln
  94. Dr James Wilson Haematology SpR
  95. Dr Katie Brooks, Principal Medical Writer
  96. Colin Padgett, Teacher, tutor and examiner
  97. Brian Morris Retired
  98. Dr Yasar Sabir Anatomy Fellow, University of Birmingham
  99. Ingrid Broad, Retired, previously MCSP, AACP
  100. Gordon Drummond Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer Department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh
  101. Dr Rebekah Cutler General Practitioner
  102. Jonathan Mackay MB ChB retired GP
  103. Keith Baker retired GP Trainer
  104. Moya Duffy retired GP
  105. Stephen Taylor IT Engineer retired
  106. Dr Heechan Kang Locum Senior Clinical Fellow/Specialist Registrar in Paediatric Cardiology
  107. John Bugler, retired
  108. Jan Marriott Registered General Nurse retired
  109. Judith Joy Member of the public
  110. Ian Talbot Process Operator
  111. Alan Ribot-Smith Retired Crypto Security Consultant
  112. Leonard Rouse, retired high school teacher
  113. Denise Cheetham  local authority employee
  114. David Mousley
  115. Dr C C Hulbert Retired
  116. Nigel Morris Civil Servant NI – Electricity Network Policy
  117. Rosalyn Anderson Retired senior pharmacist NHS
  118. Dr Michael Trowbridge GP
  119. Dr Fionnuala Kelly Orthopaedics Registrar Gold Coast University Hospital, Australia.
  120. Eamonn Rafferty
  121. Dr Cate Bulmer, GP trainee, NHS Education Scotland
  122. Patricia Lawlor, Lawyer and Vice-Chair of Whitestone Patient Participation Group
  123. Sinead Summers nurse at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, Guildford
  124. Dr Ian Cocks GP retired
  125. David Buglass Translater
  126. Cllr Dr Hannah Charlotte Copley Clinical Research Training Fellow, University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge
  127. Charles Bockett-Pugh retired engineer
  128. Glanville Neale Retired
  129.  Tracy Nelms Registered General Nurse (Community/General Practice
  130.  Brian Smart, retired Chartered Surveyor
  131. Robert Knowles, Retired maintenance engineer
  132. Catherine Hills Retired
  133. Emma Tyson ST4 Anaesthetics St Georges Hospital
  134. Dr Ibironke Tayo ST4 O&G  RCOG EOE ePortfolio champion
  135. Denise Wentworth Retired Nurse Practitioner
  136. Brian Wedge Retired
  137. John Harwood Ex telecommunications fitter
  138. Gerard Murphy MB BCh FRCP(Edin) MRCGP MICGP DPD(UWCM),Retired General Practitioner, Lisburn, Co. Antrim.
  139. Dr Nigel Speight Paediatrician (and Guardian reader) DurhamNeil Purcell – Lighting Cameraman
  140. Ravinder Passi whistleblower
  141. Dr Nick Mann, GP in LondonDr Derek Jones Associate Senior Researcher Italian National Research Council (CNR)Bologna, Italy
  142. Dr John Calvert, retired NHS General Practitioner
  143. Dr Krishnaveni padala Gpst3
  144. Thomas Clother Lorry Driver
  145. Christine Joachim Retired Social Worker
  146. Una-Jane Winfield Researcher and campaigner
  147. Joanne Rossouw – Barclays Bank whistleblower
  148. Bob McClenning   Retired, Liberal Democrat activist
  149. Oliver Darlington retired lecturer in MIcrobial Genetics
  150. Dr Sara MacDermott, GP
  151.  Roger Bilham retired metallurgist
  152. Dr Mary O’Gorman
  153. Patricia Browne, Retired  Care Manager
  154. Dr Anya Gopfert Public Health Registrar
  155. Russell Dunkeld Retired Registered General Nurse
  156. Judith King Retired GP
  157. Naomi R. Bowen, Retired Parish Clerk.
  158. Roger Lallemant, retired construction worker
  159. Ms S Murgraff Member of the Public
  160. Dr Kerry Orchard Specialty Doctor in Palliative Care
  161. Patrick Kirkby Retired
  162. Ian Leonard Owner – Leonard Projects Consultancy (Telecommunications) 
  163. Penelope Burton Retired GP
  164. Sally Hart
  165. Jessica Harris GP Partner
  166. Marian Davies Retired civil servant
  167. Wendy Horler Retired NHS worker
  168. Jamal Siddiqi member of the public
  169. Dr Yok Fun Chang Retired GP
  170. Andrew Pearce Learning & Teaching Quality Manager
  171. Siobhan Coleman Retired.
  172. Revd Judith Palmer- GP before ordination
  173. Dr Jason Holdcroft-Long  Specialist registrar in old age psychiatry
  174. Abelardo Clariana-Piga -member of the public
  175. Michael Young – retired broadcast media journalist.
  176.  Alison McDermott, BSc Hons, FCIPD. HR Consultant
  177. Ashley Borkett IT Systems Engineer
  178. KJ Swainson Retired Registered Nurse
  179. Nina Basey-Fisher, Sales Consultant
  180.  Gillian Kirk member of the public
  181. Dr Nisha Bhudia  ST7 in anaesthesia.
  182. Dr Mary-Clare Parker, GP
  183. Dr Gurdave Gill General Practitioner
  184. Dr Charles McEvoy, GP partner, Ripon
  185. Dr Alison Barnes Locum GP St Richard’s Hospital Chichester
  186. Stuart Dixon Retired NHS worker Author of Toxic Lives
  187. Christine Aram Retired Midwife
  188. Mike Darbyshire Trustee of the Bowles Rocks Trust
  189. Chris Cowsley Retired Professional
  190. Sheila Hedges  Retired
  191. Irene Leonard
  192. Dr Winifred Stack 
  193. General Practitioner Newcastle upon Tyne.
  194. Michael J Tynen Retired College Lecturer
  195. Angus Bearn Company director
  196. Harry McAulay Retired Schoolmaster
  197. Dr Andrew Muirhead-Smith ST6 Intensive Care & Anaesthesia
  198. Shuna Watkinson Retired nurse
  199. Joanna Lane CEO of  the charity Christopher Lane Trust.
  200. Martin Heaps, Data Security Analyst.
  201. David Collett, retired
  202. Dr Alexander Stockdale NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Infectious Diseases University of Liverpool
  203. Rev Dr Judith Gretton-Dann Church of England priest
  204. Dr Tiago Ivo General Practitioner
  205. Derek Medhurst retired coach and assessor on organisations
  206. Harry Smart, writer and poet
  207. Maureen A Vilar retired teacher at Portsmouth City Council.
  208. Jackie Morgan retired union official
  209. Mary Lester RGN, BA(Hons) Specialist Community Nursing, wound care nurse
  210. Garry Dring – Registered Nurse Senior Clinical Advisor, North East Ambulance Service
  211. Julia Mountain Retired
  212. Sunil Kapur Teaching Assistant
  213. Carol Lindsay Smith. www.Patients4NHS.org.uk
  214. Ms Mary Morrison retired Uni SL in Language in Education
  215. Karen Clark mother to two hospital doctors
  216. Sandra Ash retired art tutor
  217. Justin Dennis Deputy grounds and gardens manager Royal Hospital Chelsea
  218. Carolyn Hupton retired
  219. Dr Peter Sinclair Whitehead GP Harrogate District Hospital Foundation Trust
  220. Margaret E. Johnson member of the public
  221. Dr Jennifer Adams Mb ChB MRCGP retired
  222. Philip Tucker Retired
  223. Jennifer Hall Health Visitor
  224. Mrs Sue Fuller retired social worker
  225. Dr Tom McNaughton, specialist registrar
  226. Dr Philip Delbridge Doctor (Middle Grade) – Emergency Medicine
  227. Nicholas Ellam  Project Manager (retired)
  228. Linda Walker NHS employee
  229. Janet Thompson Retired State Registered Nurse
  230. Ruth Barker Retired GP
  231. Rosemary Clarke Retired Solicitor
  232. Jo Reynolds Member of the public
  233. Dr Naomi Beer GP East London
  234. Graham Pearson – Engineer retired
  235. Carin Parker – Solicitor retired
  236. Mary-Louise Stewart Member of the Public
  237. Dr Ankush Dhariwal Doctor in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
  238. Dr David Sillince Retired GP
  239. Marc Woodman Junior Doctor
  240. Dr Andrew McArdle MRCPCH MSc MA Clinical Research Training Fellow, Imperial College London
  241. Naomi Adelson, GP
  242. Saad Chowdhury  GP VTS Registrar (junior doctor)
  243. Dr David Miles GP with a Special Interest in Addictions SE & NE Recovery Hubs
  244. Saleha Jamali Member of the Public
  245. Rebecca Winsor D.O. Registered Osteopath
  246. Jonathan Gurr Retired General Practitioner
  247. Matt Sheehy GP Derby
  248. Tracy Mason Court reporter
  249. Nigel Midgley – Operations Manager
  250. Ilkay Cetin  Tranlator
  251. Hilary Beavan Company director
  252. Rachel Nicolle, FwSS, self-employed Shiatsu practitioner
  253. Jill Stevens Retired Journalist
  254. Dr Mark N. Upton GP Tutor, Hull York Medical School
  255. John Thain Ex-Nurse and Retired Nurse Lecturer
  256. Dr Venetia Fawcett Retired GP
  257. Ashley Borkett IT system engineer
  258. Robert Wyatt Retired head teacher
  259. Dr Peter Tyerman Board member Autism Plus
  260. Dr Cara Hughes BM MSc FRCA Anaesthetic Trainee ST6 West of Scotland Deanery
  261. Karl Connor Head of Communications and Community Engagement,
  262. Dr Manuela Perry Specialty doctor in Psychiatry
  263. Pamela Cross GP
  264. Dr Marion Judd PhD
  265. Rob Wheatley CTO – Watson Wheatley Financial System
  266. Clio Bellenis Retired child and adolescent psychiatrist
  267. Andrew Fitchett Locum GP
  268. Dr Lucy Dobson MRCOG Clinical Research Fellow in Gynaecological Oncology
  269. Julie O’Neil Libraries Services Manager
  270. John Graveling – Retired.
  271. Gillian Tennent Retired teacher
  272.  Susan Brown Retired Librarian
  273. Dr William Loveday ST5 Psychiatric Registrar
  274. Dr Jennifer Burgess (she/her) General Adult Psychiatry ST4 BA(Oxon), MBBS, MRCPsych
  275. Anthony Scratchley Counsellor
  276. Mark Pearse , retired farmer
  277. Dr Anna Passmore, locum GP Bedfordshire
  278. Rev Jeffrey I Smith Methodist Minister (retired)
  279. Jennifer McIntyre-McClure Retired Occupational Therapist
  280. Alexander McClure Retired nurse
  281. Dr Helen Parkinson GP
  282. Karen Blakey:  Researcher/Whistleblower in the Academic domain
  283. Kevin Ferguson IT Service Manager
  284. Hugh Wilkins Clinical Scientist
  285. Andrew Burd,
  286. MB ChB, FRCS(Ed), MD, PhD Director: Second Opinion (Medico/Legal) HK International Limited
  287. Janet Marks member of the Public
  288. Debby Monkhouse CBT Therapist
  289. Richard Slaughter   Retired Librarian
  290. Mrs. Carolyn Munro retired Medical Education Manager
  291.  Dr Peter Mercer PhD not medical doctor retired university lecturer
  292. David Squires, Definitive Map Review Officer, Nottinghamshire County Council
  293. Ms Shirley Murgraff member of the public
  294. Kathleen White, Retired Nurse
  295. Judith Lea Retired
  296. Julia Herod retired Social Worker
  297.  Philip Whiteley, freelance journalist
  298. David Hencke, freelance journalist
  299. Amrit Wilson, Writer and Journalist
  300. Dr Esha Sarkar Junior Doctor Whistleblower
  301.  Jenny Vaughan vice chair Doctors’ Association UK
  302. Neesha Hall member of the public
  303. Niccola Swan, retired Barclays regional director and former magistrate
  304. Dr Frances E Atkins MB ChB MRCGP
  305. Dr Ian McDermott MB ChB Leeds Community Health NHS Trust
  306. Staffordshire GP
  307. Terje Vangen Schea Fundraising Director
  308. Jill Church Managing Director Angels Healthcare Ltd
  309. Jill Hodsman, Children’s Nurse Specialist
  310. Sheena Reid – Talent Dynamics Ltd ICF Master Certified Coach
  311. Frank Reid FCA chartered accountant
  312. Name Denise Chisholm Paediatric Specialist Nurse
  313. Roger A Coleman, Radiological Safety Technician, Sellafield Ltd
  314. Oliver New Secretary, Ealing Trades Union Council
  315.  Sylvia Chandler (retired GP)
  316. Ann Barrett  MSc, MCOptom, DipGlauc, DipTP (IP)
  317. Andrew Burd, MB ChB, FRCS(Ed), MD, PhD Director: Second Opinion (Medico/Legal) HK International Limited

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A Supreme Court verdict on Scottish human rights that could backfire on Dominic Raab and Boris Johnson

Last week the Supreme Court delivered a verdict against Scotland’s government that gave Boris Johnson a victory to stop both Scotland and Wales giving new rights to children, women, disabled people and protecting ethnic minorities from discrimination.

Supreme Court. Pic credit BBC News

The Tories were triumphant that Suella Braverman, QC, the Attorney General, employing the Treasury Devil. Sir James Eadie, to argue successfully that neither Scotland nor Wales could bring forward legislation to implement in full the UN convention on the Rights of the Child nor a European Charter on local self government. The Daily Mail said that it was ” a humiliation” for Nicola Sturgeon and could be used to stop any Scottish referendum. Tories in Scotland accused her of manufacturing a row with the UK by proposing to implement the charter in full.

The decision has implications for three other UN conventions – the Convention on Eliminating All forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw); a UN Convention outlawing racial discrimination and one giving full rights to disabled people effectively saying that even in areas of law already devolved to Scotland and Wales neither Parliament can legislate to implement these rights. The Scottish government was planning to introduce legislation to do this.

The immediate effect will be that Holyrood will have to remove clauses in two bills unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament to take out measures that give extra rights to children or the Queen will refuse Royal Assent to the measures.

Westminster overrides Scotland

The decision basically gives untrammelled rights to the Westminster Parliament to override the Scottish Parliament if it is thought its new law conflicts with lesser rights for children in England.

The issue was argued on constitutional grounds – not on any issues of the rights of any of these groups- who will now be denied these rights purely by the Westminster government saying it is outside the competence of Scotland to legislate in this way.

The judgement was made by five elderly and middle aged male judges and argued equally by a middle aged QC – he is 59 -the same QC who successfully argued before the Court of Appeal that the Department of Work and Pensions had no obligation to bother to tell women born in the 1950s and 1960s that they weren’t going to get their pensions until the age of 66 instead of 60. One is tempted to say ” male, pale and stale” government rules supreme in Westminster- though I may be guilty of ageism.

All male judicial decision

The five judges who unanimously took the decision are

Lord Reed, President, aged 65, a Scottish judge, Baron Reed of Allermuir
Lord Hodge, Deputy President, aged 68, Patrick Stewart Hodge
Lord Lloyd-Jones, aged 69, David Lloyd Jones, President of the Welsh Law Council
Lord Sales, aged 59, Philip James Sales
Lord Stephens, aged 66, Lord Stephens of Creevyloughgare, a Northern Ireland judge.

The full judgement is here. The key phrase is that the changes are outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament under the 1997, Scotland Act which limited the powers of the Scottish Parliament to legislate for certain matters. The judges were careful to say that this was not about the rights of children under the UN Convention only the manner the legislation . This might provide a loophole for the Scottish government.

Nicola Sturgeon – official portrait

Nicola Sturgeon the SNP leader and first minister, said in a tweet: ” The current powers of the @ScotParl leaves us unable to full protect children’s rights, even in devolved areas. If our Parliament was independent, no such restriction would apply.

” Anyone thinking this is an abstract argument should reflect that also today, the UK government is taking £20pw from the pockets of the poorest families- making it harder for many parents to provide essential for their children”.

John Swinney, deputy first minister, said: “While we fully respect the court’s judgment and will abide by the ruling, we cannot help but be bitterly disappointed. It makes plain that we are constitutionally prohibited from enacting legislation that the Scottish Parliament unanimously decided was necessary to enshrine and fully protect the rights of our children.

“The judgment exposes the devolution settlement as even more limited than we all – indeed the Scottish Parliament itself -­ had understood.  It sets out new constraints on the ability of our elected Scottish Parliament to legislate to protect children’s rights in the way it determines.

“There is no doubt that the implications of this judgment are significant from a children’s rights perspective. This Bill will not now become law in the form which our Parliament agreed, but we remain committed to the incorporation of the UNCRC to the maximum extent possible as soon as practicable.  Whilst the judgment means that the Bill cannot receive Royal Assent in its current form, the majority of work in relation to implementation of the UNCRC can and is continuing.”

What we have here is a warning shot of a huge row which could also become a centrepiece in the debate over the Scottish independence referendum.

Official portrait of Dominic Raab, Lord High Chancellor

For at the same time Dominic Raab, the new justice secretary, wants to scrap the present UK human rights legislation which still allows appeals to the European Court of Human Rights.

It looks like – whatever the spin – is that he wants to take away human rights from women, the disabled, children and those facing racial discrimination- just at the point when Scotland and Wales want to extend them. We therefore have a perfect storm which could end with the break-up of the UK which is why I say this victory by Boris Johnson could backfire. It could end up being a Pyrrhic victory.

I am trying to extend the work of this website. Please donate if you can to continue my forensic investigations.

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Brian Coleman: “Human Rights-My Backside!”

Brian Coleman - no to human rights

Tory councillor Brian Coleman – standing for election again this May as London Assembly Conservative member for Barnet and Camden – is at it again!

 In an interview for a foreign TV station he is making it clear again that he wants stringent controls over everybody who blogs on the internet – after the failed ” complaint” by his local council Barnet to try and get local blogger Derek Dishman fined and registered under the Data Protection Act for publishing public details about the views of Barnet officials on their own websites. If successful Barnet would have prevented bloggers writing anything about anyone except their own family and housemates -without being licenced by the DPA.

In an extraordinary interview – see www.youtube.com/watchv=0uuj1il43xg&feature=youtu.be  the councillor demands censorship and libel action against bloggers- and evidently beleives they don’t have right to criticise him or anyone else without bweing taken to court.

 What is worse it appears after this youtube except was put up on the website t00manycuts.blogspot.com  followed a comment on Twitter Mr Coleman successfully moved to have the authors removed from their Twitter account. I don’t quite know what  the tweet said but it was not flattering and it may to do with the fact that he is living a subsidised Methodist housing charity flat while claiming £128,000 a year council allowances from four authorities and organisations.

Coleman has never responded to the accusations – but always been happy to condemn poorer people who complain about rising rents.

 Curious to know what David Cameron, Grant Shapps ( the local government minister) and Boris Johnson might think of his views on human rights and the internet. But if you are planning to vote for him, he is obviously standing on a platform of removing human rights from all Barnet and Camden citizens. Great platform for a democracy!

 Let him know  your views on this> he is contactable on

toomanycuts.blogspot.com