Theresa May, the Home Secretary said in a speech today that the UK should leave the European Convention on Human Rights. We have been waiting for some time now for this announcement – or something like it – and it was expected to be made by the Justice Secretary.
Rachel Logan, Amnesty’s legal programme director, said:
Mrs May’s proposal to tear away from the European Convention on Human Rights would strike at the very architecture of international protections, and betray the British people who built the convention at the end of the Second World War.
The Convention has done so much for the rights of the free press, gay people, women, people with disabilities and other ordinary people here and across Europe.
Some see this as part of Mrs May’s pitch to become prime minister if and when David Cameron quits the scene. There is considerable media pressure to quit the convention often based on misleading information. We shall have to see how this develops and we still await the Bill of Rights long promised but slow to appear.
As one of the countries which promoted the convention after the war it would be a tragedy if we left it. As the Amnesty spokeswoman says it has done so much to promote rights not only in this country but elsewhere in Europe. It is a surprise to many people when told what a beneficial effect it has had in countries such as Russia.
A spokesman from Liberty called the speech ‘desperate’.
Illustrated left is the tapestry made by Amnesty groups in the south region currently on display in the Cathedral Chapter House, which shows the clauses of the Un Convention on Human Rights on which the ECHR was based.