Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, commenting ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, said:
“Our Prime Minister seems more concerned with placating his restless backbenchers than he is about protecting and promoting human rights across Europe.
“The UK should be justly proud of the European Convention on Human Rights – after all, human rights are one of our finest post war exports. Forty-seven nations – some 800 million people – have signed up to a convention written by British lawyers and British politicians. It has helped deliver six decades relatively free of the painful abuses of human rights witnessed in the middle part of the last century. It continues to successfully champion the rights of individuals and minorities that can so easily be ignored or trampled on by governments or other powerful majorities.
“David Cameron – instead of engaging in a positive debate about ensuring the workings of the European Court on Human Rights are fit for purpose in these modern times – resorts to the peddling of myths that denigrate the human rights successes of the Court and the Convention. It smacks of throwing ‘red meat’ to the hungry pack of Conservative backbenches so recently emboldened by the Prime Minister’s waltzing away from the European negotiating table.
“The Labour Party is fiercely proud of the UK’s role in protecting and championing human rights across Europe, and beyond. Other countries look up to the UK, and our moral authority as a member of the club of 47 nations empowers us to pressure those who have weaker human rights records. To simply walk away, as the Prime Minister has hinted, would constitute a gross neglecting of our duties as a beacon of civility amongst the family of nations”