10 January 2014
At the Tory party conference last year David Cameron announced that he was ready to remove the UK from the European Court of Human Rights.
Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling has also come out saying that he vows to draft legislation to clamp down on European human rights law and confirmed that the Tories were still considering pulling out of the European Convention on Human rights entirely.
He said to BBC Radio 4,
“We’re looking at a number of different options. There are four principles that have to underpin what we do. We have to curtail the role of the Court in the UK. We have to replace the Human Rights Act, which as Lord Judge rightly says is one of the key reasons why the European Court of Human Rights seems to have such sway in the UK. We’ve got to ensure there’s a balance of rights and responsibilities in our laws, and I think above all, we’ve got to make our Supreme Court supreme.”
What this means is that if the Tories are re-elected in 2015 the fundamental human rights of UK citizens will be undermined still further – either by a complete replacement of the current Human Rights Act or even the removal of human rights legislation entirely.
As shocking as the government’s attitude is, the impact of the UK’s ideological attacks on human rights is even worst. As Sadiq Khan stated in the Guardian, the UK has always been perceived by many as a leader in human rights law. But the Coalition’s attitude and continuing undermining of the Convention and the Court is having a negative influence upon other countries in the European Union. He noted:
“The Ukraine government is saying: ‘You know what? We don’t really care. If someone like the UK, the beacon of human rights, can say two fingers to the European court, why can’t we?’ We now have a real example of one of the emerging democracies saying if the UK can do it, so can we.”
If the Coalition did withdraw the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights, it would threaten those fundamental human rights such as the right to liberty and security, the freedom of assembly and association, the prohibition of slavery and forced labour and the protection from discrimination
Such a move would impact not only on workers’ rights and trade union freedoms but on the liberty and security of all UK citizens.
In order to address the importance of this issue, the IER are in the process of producing a detailed report, summarising the Convention rights that influence UK labour law and the impact withdrawal would have on those rights.