DOMINIC Raab has insisted the UK government’s new Bill of Rights will “restore a healthy dose of common sense” to the justice system.

But opposition politicians described it as a means of “removing human rights from human beings.”

In a statement to the Commons, the Justice Secretary confirmed that the UK will not leave the European Convention on Human Rights, an international agreement that underpins human rights law as well as peace in Northern Ireland.

However, he said that under the new legislation, British courts would not always need to follow case law from Strasbourg.

The proposed legislation, announced today, which replaces the Human Rights Act (HRA), comes just a week after the planned deportation flights to Rwanda were grounded after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Raab told MPs: “Our Bill of Rights will strengthen our proud tradition of freedom, it will demarcate a clearer separation of powers.

“It will ensure greater respect for our democratic institutions and it will better protect the public and restore a healthy dose of common sense to the justice system which is essential for commanding public confidence.

“Ultimately it will make us freer, it will help keep our streets safer.

“We will strengthen the separation of powers in this country, affirming the supremacy of the Supreme Court, being explicit that the UK courts are under no obligation to follow the Strasbourg case law and indeed are free to diverge from it.”

He added: “The problems that we encountered have stemmed from the elastic interpretations and the expansion of absent meaningful democratic oversight, in particular as a result of the procedural framework set out in the Human Rights Act.”

The key objects with reform, he said, are to “reinforce those quintessentially UK-wide rights like freedom of speech”, adding “we will also recognise the role of jury trial”.

Shadow justice minister Ellie Reeves told MPs it is a “very dark day for victims of crime, for women, for people in care” and “for everyone in this country who rely on the state to protect them from harm”.

She added: “For members of the party of Churchill, who inspired the European Convention of Human Rights, to want to do away with it altogether, is really quite something.

"I gather that he doesn’t want to withdraw from the European Convention, not least because he knows it would fatally undermine the Good Friday Agreement and peace in Northern Ireland.

She also told the Commons that the Government has made “pitiful progress” on rape convictions.

“This Bill of Rights con isn’t just an attack on victims of crime who the state has failed to protect,” she said. “It’s an attack on women.

“Women have used the Human Rights Act to challenge the police when they have either failed or refused to investigate rape and sexual assault cases.”

The SNP’s Anne McLaughlin told MPs the legislation was about “removing human rights from human beings”.

The Justice and Home Affairs spokesperson said: “The Scottish and Welsh Governments have made it clear that they are completely against this in its entirety.  

“We have a tale of two countries: Scotland, embedding human rights law into all of its legislation, this government, stripping it away completely. 

“How would he advise the people of Scotland who want to retain human rights law in their legislation? How would he advise them to vote in next year's independence referendum?”

Mr Raab said voters in Scotland would support “common sense reforms” that allow ministers to “stand up for the victims” of crime.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who is the acting chair of Parliament’s joint committee of human rights, said she was pleased that the UK would remain in the European Convention of Human Rights. 

“But if we're going to stay in ECHR, it needs to be done with integrity,” she added. “And we can't pick and choose which convention rates we want to observe, nor from nor for whom we want to observe.” 

She warned that the UK government’s “disengagement from the ECHR risks giving encouragement to populist governments in Eastern Europe who have scant regard for human rights or indeed the rule of law.”

Mr Raab said he disagreed with Ms Cherry and said that it was wrong to characterise the government as “dislocating ourselves” from the ECHR.