Michael Gove is lampooned as he gives evidence about impact of proposed British Bill of Rights

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By Katie King on

He looked like a nervous first year giving a presentation in a public law tutorial


Michael Gove has missed a golden opportunity to finally explain why the Tories have decided to scrap the Human Rights Act — and Twitter thought it was hilarious.

This morning, the Justice Secretary gave — or sort of gave — his much-awaited evidence to the EU Justice Sub-Committee, on the potential impact of the proposed British Bill of Rights (BBoR) on EU law.

Sat with his trusty sidekick — MP and former Linklaters lawyer Dominic Raab — viewers tuned in to finally uncover the mystery surrounding the secret BBoR, controversy and confusion over which has been churning on for ages.

Michael Gove is definitely — in the eyes of lawyers anyway — the good guy of politics at the moment, but that wasn’t enough to distract the legal Twitterati from his painfully awkward evidence giving session.

Stumbling his way through the committee’s questions, Gove was at pains to remind us all that he isn’t actually a lawyer, as if this was a valid excuse for the naff answers he was about to give.

He made many attempts to dodge and dive the questions asked of him, instead reeling off generic, first year law school legal principles about the supremacy of EU law.

One man who wasn’t willing to take this waffle lying down was — our new hero — Lord Richards, who had the nerve to call Gove out on his fluffy comments. Gove told the committee that it’s not the government’s intention to change or undermine the European convention rights, which he described as “admirable”. To this, Richards said:

I am a bit lost. You are saying yes, we agree with the convention. What on earth do you want to repeal the act for?

And the backhanded comments didn’t end there.

Just about recovering from this battering, Gove disappointed us all once again when he was asked when we can expect a consultation paper on the BBoR. He simply replied “soon”.

The potential repeal of the Human Rights Act is, of course, a big deal, and people are pretty upset that the Lord Chancellor didn’t step up to the mark and provide some more detail about what’s actually going on behind closed doors.

At least first year law students across the country can take comfort in the fact that their legal knowledge is probably just as good at the Justice Secretary’s.