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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 09:17 GMT
Human rights 'as British as beer'
Lord Falconer
Lord Falconer will say human rights are not alien to British culture
The lord chancellor is to defend the Human Rights Act and call such rights as British as a pint of bitter.

Lord Falconer is to launch a guide for the Parole Board, social workers and teachers on how to apply the laws without endangering public safety.

The new guidance emphasises that one person's rights cannot be used to "trump" the public's right to safety.

He will say the laws can been wrongly interpreted and in one case led to the release of a man who went on to murder.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the speech in London is to be the strongest defence of the Human Rights Act that the lord chancellor has made.

It will also be viewed as a sideswipe against the Conservatives' plans to replace it with a British Bill of Rights, our correspondent added.

European Convention

Lord Falconer will argue that the European Convention on which the Act is based was "invented and drafted" by Britain.

"Human rights are as British as the Beatles," he will say. "As British as the BBC. As British as bitter beer."

However, Lord Falconer acknowledges that human rights laws have been wrongly interpreted by some officials - leading in one case to the release from prison of a rapist who went on to murder.

The lord chancellor promised action last summer, after an inquiry criticised the Parole Board for its focus on the human rights of Anthony Rice.

Rice murdered Naomi Bryant nine months after he had been released on licence.

Lord Falconer said at the time that the human rights legislation was not at fault, but the way it had been interpreted.

Speaking on ITV1's Sunday Edition, he said government guidance on the Human Rights Act had failed in the Rice case.

"We should never have released him," he said.

He added that the new guidance would clarify legislation and help ensure "common sense prevails".

Ms Bryant's mother Verna said of Mr Falconer's comments that public protection should come first.

"My only comment is basically people who are really ill like Anthony Rice should not be released," she said.

"They should not be ignored, they should be looked after but not released."

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