Five ideas to fight for

Five ideasAnthony Lester, the Liberal Democrat peer, lawyer and “the most eminent human rights lawyer in Britain” has been interviewed by the Huffington Post.  He highlights how, as a Jew, he was exposed to prejudice and discrimination from a young age, starting with the loss of relatives in the Holocaust, and later in the army when he was barred from attending a dance in the officer’s mess to “prevent miscegenation”.

As a barrister he devoted a large amount of his life to combating discrimination, and he also worked with Roy Jenkins, then Labour Home Secretary, on developing laws against race and sex discrimination. Later he fought for the Human Rights Act.

Anthony’s new book Five Ideas To Fight For will be published this week. He focuses on the ‘big ideas’ of human rights, equality, free speech, privacy and rule of law. He is very worried about the future of the Human Rights Act, which the current government is planning to repeal and replace with a British Bill of Rights.

Lester traces press hostility to the Human Rights Act back to when it was being drawn up in 1997. By then a peer, he was lobbied by the media to give them an exemption from its privacy protections. As a media lawyer, Lester had represented the press and used the European Convention on Human Rights’ protection of free speech. But he found them wanting immunity to its privacy protection while benefitting from its free speech protection “a bit rich” and it was not granted. “Ever since, tabloid newspaper have been attacking it day after day,” he says. “You don’t find newspapers in other European countries attacking [the ECHR] in this sort of way. You find only politicians doing it. Here, we’ve had both and that has been very, very undermining.”

He attacks Theresa May in a letter to The Times for suggesting that the UK leaves the European Convention on Human Rights – something that the UK helped to set up after the Second World War as a way of maintaining peace in Europe.

Anthony Lester letter

There is much more of value in the article on HuffPo which you can read in full here.

We hope to review Anthony Lester’s book soon.

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This entry was posted in News.
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One Comment

  • Katerina Porter 4th May '16 - 6:45pm

    Is not being signed up to the European Convention of Human Rights a requirement for being a member of the Council of Europe, in which case we would be the first member to leave or be expelled since the government of the Greek Colonels. I do not know if it also applies to the EU. Would it mean that regardless of the result of the referendum we would have to leave the EU? Which would be so good for our reputation and as Lord Lester says so encouraging for the way Russia and Turkey behave.

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