Paul Blomfield MP

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Government must stop playing politics with human rights

In the House of Commons I questioned the Attorney General on whether the Government remains committed to being a signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights, and called on the Attorney General and his Cabinet colleagues to stop playing politics with fundamental human rights. 

After asking what discussions the Attorney General had held with Cabinet colleagues on the future status of the UK as a signatory to the ECHR, I said:

Earlier this week, [the Attorney General] will know, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described the Prime Minister’s comments after the appalling attack on London Bridge as a ‘gift’ to every despot who “violates human rights under the pretext of fighting terrorism”. Will the Attorney General recognise the danger of playing politics with human rights and accept that the Government needs to desist from doing it?

The ECHR was incorporated into UK law by Labour through the Human Rights Act in 1998 because all of our citizens need their rights to be protected and upheld in law. Time and again badly judged comments have brought into question their commitment to human rights.

Playing politics with human rights, as this Government has, not only undermines the legal protections held by the people across the UK: it also means that the UK loses influence and credibility when trying to improve human rights standards across the world.

I will continue to vigorously oppose any attempts by this Government to demean and caricature human rights; to scrap or dilute the Human Rights Act or to withdraw from the ECHR.

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