Conservative leader David Cameron yesterday said his party would look at scrapping the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a Bill of Rights.
Mr Cameron claimed existing human rights legislation was hindering the fight against crime and terrorism - at the same time as failing to protect people's civil liberties.
He said the Tories wanted a law that delivered "human rights with common sense".
But the proposals were dismissed by Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, as a "recipe for confusion" and Tory peer Lord Tebbit said it could create a bigger muddle. Mr Cameron said he would set up a panel of eminent lawyers and constitutional experts to examine the issue more closely, and to consider whether such a Bill of Rights could be given special legal status.
He told BBC1's Sunday AM programme: "Let's look at getting rid of the Human Rights Act and saying instead of that, instead of having an Act that imports, if you like, a foreign convention of rights into British law, why not try and write our own British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, clearly and precisely into law, so we can have human rights with common sense.
"That would be a constructive way forward."
The Tory leader stressed he was not proposing withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights, nor did he want to prevent people pursuing cases at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
However, he said he did not believe the Human Rights Act had been a success.
"It has actually hindered the fight against crime, it has stopped us responding prop-erly in terms of terrorism, particularly in terms of deporting those who may do us harm in this country, and at the same time it hasn't really protected our human rights."
Mr Cameron suggested that the Bill of Rights could be exempted from the provisions
of the Parliament Acts, so that any amendment to it would have to be agreed by both Houses of Parliament and the Government of the day would not be able to force through changes in the face of opposition from peers.
Former Conservative chairman Lord Tebbit raised doubts over Mr Cameron's proposal for a Bill of Rights.
"I worry when he says things like bringing in a new British Bill of Human Rights, abolishing the Human Rights Act, but staying in the European Convention.
"That would mean that people would find the law would be different - British law and European law.
"European law would override it and we would be back where we are now, but in a bigger muddle perhaps."
Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, insisted Mr Cameron's plans were unworkable and accused him of planning to re-write basic human rights because "they seem inconvenient". "We won't repeal the Human Rights Act and we won't leave the Convention," he said.
"The Convention sets out basic human rights which we helped write 50 years ago.
"If we remain in the Convention and have our own separate Bill of Rights, as David Cameron suggests, we will have to comply with the Convention's rights and Cameron's new rights. It's a recipe
for confusion not clarity and the problem is not the rights. It's striking the right balance between proper protection of the public from crime and terrorism and ensuring that in giving that protection we don't oppress the public too much."
Liberal Democrat constitutional affairs spokesman Simon Hughes said: "The Liberal Democrats and many others have campaigned for years for a British Bill of Rights and a written British constitution. But David Cameron should not imply that we could give up being party to the European Convention on Human Rights."