LibLink: Tom Brake – The Human Rights Act

Over at the party website, Tom Brake has been writing about the importance of the Human Rights Act. The Tories may have apparently watered down planned action to repeal it but they are absolutely desperate to do so. The last thing we should be doing is letting up our campaign to convince the public about the need for the protections the ECHR and Human Rights Act provide.

He outlines some of the people who have been helped by the HRA.

Take for example, 90-year-olds Richard and Beryl Driscoll. They lived together for more than 65 years until, in 2006, he was moved into a residential care home.

He could not walk unaided and she was blind. She relied on her husband as her eyes and he relied on her for his mobility.

They wanted to remain together but the council said it wasn’t possible to accommodate them in the same nursing home.

But thanks to a campaign that argued their treatment breached their human rights – specifically their right to a family life – the council were forced to back down and they were reunited.

It’s difficult to believe that, without the protection afforded to them by the HRA, there would have been a happy ending.

The same is true in Europe too. Up until 2004, it was possible for two gay men to be prosecuted for having sex if one was aged 16 or 17, even though it was legal for heterosexual couples.

This blatant unfairness was only removed as a result of an ECHR ruling, one the right to a private life, a clause that causes heartless Tories such distress.

And, in 2002, a male-to-female transsexual – asked Strasbourg to determine whether there had been a violation of her right to respect and family life.

Why? Because Britain did not legally recognise her changed gender and did not let her marry. Her victory was a huge step forward in the battle for trans-equality in this country.

Our current human rights legislation has also blocked blanket interception of private messages by the state, protected our right to a fair trial and prevented indiscriminate police stop-and-search.

You can read the whole article here.

It’s a persuasive argument, but Liberty have kind of trumped us on this. Great as Tom Brake is, Cumberbatch is probably better. Do watch and share their videos describing other HRA successes.

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  • Cumbernatch, Smumberbatch! Who ever elected him to anything?
    Well done Tom Brake!

    Actually I have signed at least three separate petitions to save the HRA .

    One from Liberty, one from 38 Degrees and the one from Tom Brake.

    Tom Brake has shown the way by lining us up with people on the only side of the argument that Liberal Democrats belong.

    After five years of being soiled by association with the Tories we are at least now free to campaign on issues such as this alongside our natural friends and allies in politics.

    This sort of approach will be necessary over the next five years to rebuild the party.

    Well done Tom Brake!

  • Tom Brake is my least favourite Lib Dem MP. He had campaign to close down his local headshop. Will this comment even be allowed to be published?

  • Tom Brake should be everybody’s favourite Lib Dem MP if he did indeed campaign to close down his local “headshop”.

    So-called “headshops” that sell duious and unregulated products for human consumption to ill-informed, gullible and very often vulnerable people should be dealt with whenever they infest the high street.

    If a supermarket sold food on the same basis as “headshops” sell their products they would be closed down immediately and their owners prosecuted.

  • I think it was a grow your own, you know, cannabis seeds, lights and fertilisers. I think you’re thinking of a legal highs shop. Incidentally if weed and polls were legal almost nobody would want legal highs.

    The lib dems policy is that cannabis should remain illegal, right?

  • From Yesterday’s Guardian…A brief, little-noticed provision in the Scotland bill, which implements the findings of the cross-party Smith commission, will establish in law a convention that Westminster seeks the consent of Holyrood for legislation relating to Scottish matters
    The bill is likely to enter the statute book before the justice secretary, Michael Gove, introduces his plans to carry out the Tory manifesto commitment to repeal the Human Rights Act, meaning he will be obliged to seek the consent of the Scottish parliament to proceed.
    Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has already made clear to Downing Street that she will decline to sign a legislative consent motion under the terms of the Sewel convention to permit the repeal. Her hand will be strengthened further by the new bill…..

  • I completely agree that we need to campaign on this. However I don’t think Tom is right to suggest, as he did in an email to supporters, that only the LibDems oppose the Conservative’s attempt to repeal the HRA.

    As John pointed out there are several petitions doing the rounds on this and in my view it really shouldn’t be a party political campaign. I would like to see the party throwing its weight (such as it is) behind one or other of the 38 Degrees or Open Rights Group campaigns. I say this partly because I believe that the LibDem brand is presently something of a turn-off for many people, so we should accept that we need to be relatively humble on this and demonstrate our liberal values by

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