Tag Archives: rule of law

How much do we still want a rules-based international order?

At the end of the recent G7 meeting, participants declared their commitment to ‘democracy, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights’. How many had fingers crossed behind their backs? Boris Johnson for one, but probably others, spared their own blushes by the blatant fraudulence of their host regarding Northern Ireland.

But it is not just Northern Ireland. Last week his government declined its obligations under Common Article 1 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, ‘to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances’. After Israel’s recent punitive and extensive destruction of life and property in the Gaza Strip, the UK rightly rebuked Hamas for its undoubted war crimes but declined to rebuke Israel, essentially because it is ‘an important strategic partner for the UK’. To our shame, we pick and choose. Currently, the UK defies the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea regarding the Chagos Islands, which in January ruled that the UK has no sovereignty, confirming the same conclusion by the International Court of Justice in February 2019. Of course, the UK should have recognised the human rights of the Chagossians at the outset in 1965, or when challenged in the ensuing decades. Persistent failure to do so constitutes a crime against humanity. I feel sullied and I expect you do too.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | 6 Comments

20 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats secure Government commitment to publish test and trace agreement with police
  • Government face first defeat in the Lords over Internal Market Bill

Liberal Democrats secure Government commitment to publish test and trace agreement with police

Today, Liberal Democrat Peer Paul Scriven has secured a commitment from Health Minister Lord Bethell to publish the agreement between the Government and police chiefs over the decision to share test and trace data.

This follows the Health Secretary’s refusal to make the Memorandum of Understanding public when Liberal Democrat Health and Care Spokesperson Munira Wilson asked him to just yesterday.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven said:

An effective test, trace and isolate system to keep people safe will only work if the public have faith in it and this means the Government must be open and honest about how it uses people’s data.

It is absolutely crucial that the Government publishes its Memorandum of Understanding with police chiefs on sharing of Test and Trace data in full, otherwise they risk further undermining public trust in the system and discouraging people from getting tested.

I’m glad to have secured this commitment from the Minister, but he must now make sure the document is published for public scrutiny as soon as possible. The Liberal Democrats are clear that transparency over the use of personal data is essential to build public confidence in Test and Trace.

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28 September 2020 – Conference day 4 press releases

  • Liberal Democrats condemn Tories’ attacks on rule of law
  • Government must prepare for international ‘lifeboat’ system for Hong Kongers, Liberal Democrats warn

Liberal Democrats condemn Tories’ attacks on rule of law

In a policy motion passed this evening at the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference, the Party has condemned “Dominic Cummings’ long history of attacking the rule of law”.

The motion stated “the rule of law is fundamental to our society”, calling for the Government to drop plans “to restrict judicial review, weaken the Human Rights Act or undermine the rule of law in any way”.

Following the motion being passed, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

This Conservative Government have revealed time and again their disregard for the rule of law. From their recent determination to flout it with the Internal Market Bill, to their attacks on lawyers as ‘activists’ or judges when they disagree with their rulings, it is clear that part of Johnson’s and Cummings’ strategy is to trample on our rights to achieve their aims.

When the Government rides roughshod over people’s rights, the law is the vehicle for justice. However, the Government’s plans to rip up the Human Rights Act and restrict judicial review gives Ministers the ability to break the law with impunity.

Liberal Democrats are clear – we will always fight tooth and nail to defend individuals’ abilities to challenge the Government in court and uphold their rights. It is more important than ever that we oppose these Trump-like tactics to erode our democracy, allowing Ministers to become above the law.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

1 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • PM mistaken in thinking he can break the law without consequence
  • Tories’ nasty plans for asylum seekers not the answer

PM mistaken in thinking he can break the law without consequence

Responding to reports that the European Commission has launched legal action against the UK, following the UK Government’s refusal to remove sections from the Internal Market Bill, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Contrary to the belief of senior Government figures and their families, breaking the law has consequences. It beggars belief that Boris Johnson and his Government seem to think that not only are they above the law, but they can get off scot-free when breaking it.

How can Ministers seriously condemn other countries, like Russia and China, for failing to respect international treaties if they don’t do the same when it comes to the Withdrawal Agreement?

No one should be surprised that the UK will face legal action if Boris Johnson pushes ahead with the Internal Market Bill. However, there is still time to ditch the Bill and prevent it from becoming law. We must do what we can to salvage our international reputation.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

22 September 2020 – the overnight press release

Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for the rule of law

Speaking after tonight’s votes on the Internal Market Bill, where 255 MPs voted against the Government breaking international law, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

Liberal Democrat and Alliance MPs took a clear stand for the rule of law and for stability in Northern Ireland against Boris Johnson’s tactics to violate the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

With members across the house joining to stand for what’s right and voting against the Government, Boris Johnson must take this as a clear message: there is no consensus in Parliament about his disregard for the

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14 September 2020 – today’s press release

With UK reputation on the line, the fight is far from over

Responding to votes tonight in the House of Commons on the Internal Market Bill, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

With our reputation around the world on the line, the fight is far from over.

The excuses we have heard for breaking international law from the mouth of the Prime Minister show the depths to which the Conservative party has plummeted.

Backbench Conservative MPs have a duty to follow their conscious and show Boris Johnson that his reckless approach will not be tolerated.

The Liberal Democrats will continue the fight to remove

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged | 7 Comments

11-13 September 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs
  • Economic contribution of UK-Japan trade deal will be “drop in the ocean”
  • COVID-19 testing falling dangerously short of expectations
  • New Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader commits to building “winning campaign machine”
  • Accepting rule of law appears optional for Ministers under Boris Johnson

Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs

Responding to ONS figures showing that UK GDP grew by 6.6% in July 2020, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

We mustn’t let these figures disguise the fact that the economic crisis caused by coronavirus is far from over. As we approach winter, countless people are worrying about their jobs and livelihoods.

The current increase in COVID-19 cases means the danger of more restrictions and job losses is very real. The Government must announce a long-term extension to the furlough scheme into 2021 to protect jobs and begin to rebuild our economy.

And to be breaking international law and indulging in brinkmanship with the EU in the current economic climate is irresponsible and shows a recklessness with all our futures. The Prime Minister must immediately row back on plans to breach international law and work for the best possible deal for UK workers and businesses.

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10 September 2020 – today’s press release

PM must stop playing fast and loose with rule of law

Responding to the statement by the European Commission confirming that, if adopted as it stands, the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill would “put at risk the ongoing future relationship negotiations”, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

No one can really be surprised that the measures the UK Government have brought forward have put the likelihood of a trade deal in jeopardy.

This proposal undermines trust and the UK’s standing on the world stage. The Government must now act swiftly to erase anything that violates international law or that could undermine

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

9 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call out PM’s “brazen hypocrisy” on rule of law
  • Liberal Democrats call on Govt to extend furlough to boost economic recovery
  • Government must make Covid test available to all that need one

Liberal Democrats call out PM’s “brazen hypocrisy” on rule of law

The Liberal Democrats have demanded the Prime Minister explain his “brazen hypocrisy” given his Government’s readiness to break international law with the Internal Market Bill, while expecting “everybody in this country to obey the law.”

The accusation follows an exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions today where Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson asked “If Ministers think it is acceptable for this Government to not obey the law, how on earth can the Prime Minister expect the public at home to do so?”

Despite confirmation yesterday from the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis that the proposed Northern Ireland customs legislation “does break international law”, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons that he expects “everybody in this country to obey the law.”

The Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham has called on the Prime Minister to make a statement clarifying his Government’s “precise position” when it comes to upholding the rule of law.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson said:

Testing one’s eyesight, natural justice, and only breaking the law in a limited and specific way. All excuses used by this Government for their disregard for the rule of law.

It seems it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us. At a time when the coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll, following guidelines is saving lives. Instead of showing leadership, this Government is setting all the wrong examples and in doing so risking lives.

This brazen hypocrisy has to stop. The Prime Minister must come forward and clarify his precise position when it comes to upholding the rule of law, here in the UK and internationally.

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8 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach
  • Liberal Democrats condemn Government for “destroying” UK reputation on the world stage

Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach

Responding to news that Sir Jonathan Jones, head of the UK Government’s legal department, has resigned following the Government’s decision to introduce legislation which would undermine key aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The head of the Government’s legal department quitting over Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit should signal how serious a situation this is.

For Johnson to think it is acceptable to row back on international agreements

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

7-8 September 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Swinson: Rudd resignation another blow to Boris Johnson

Responding to the news that Amber Rudd has quit both the cabinet and the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said:

Amber Rudd’s resignation is yet another blow to Boris Johnson and his reckless plans to crash the country out of Europe without a deal. His disregard for the country’s interest and those who are meant to be his colleagues is symbolic of how broken our politics has become.

As this Government continues to decay, the need and urgency to stop Brexit cannot be clearer – we need a people’s vote with the option

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