Happy birthday to the Human Rights Act! It's also suffered a barrage of toxic spin - and the Conservative Government is intent on scrapping it. Here are 15 ways the HRA has made life better for everyone in the UK - and 15 reasons the Government mustn't succeed in making this anniversary its last...
I reiterate today what I said to Labour conference earlier this week: we will fight as hard as we can to protect and preserve the Human Rights Act and we will do everything in our power to stop the Government walking away from the European Convention on Human Rights. Standing up for human rights is not just an essential part of Labour's values. It's part of our character and identity as a country.
Next Friday is the 15th anniversary of the Human Rights Act coming into force in the UK, an anniversary that we should all be celebrating. It was promised in the Labour Party's 1997 election manifesto as a means to "establish a floor, not a ceiling, for human rights", and that is precisely what it did.
I'm pretty sure that a piece of parchment in the HOC library wasn't much of a deterrent anyway. Please learn the difference between your human rights, and the Human Rights Act. Or I will take them from you. Kidding.
Following on from my previous post on the right to be forgotten, a related and ever expanding area of law is that of the right to privacy. It's a cont...
On Saturday I'll join thousands of others - including my Liberty colleagues and many of our members - to take to the streets of London in solidarity with refugees. We will march to show the powerful that we see through the barrage of poisonous, dehumanising rhetoric with which we've been bombarded in recent years. These refugees are not a "swarm", as the Prime Minister labelled them, and they're not "marauding" as they were branded by the Foreign Secretary. They are not, as they have been variously described in the media, an "organised mob", an "unstoppable flood" or "the biggest threat to Europe since the war". They are desperate human beings fleeing war, genocide, tyranny and exploitation in the hope of finding a better life for their families.
If I'm Mayor of London, I want to bring this same kind of passion for people's fundamental rights to City Hall. I can't speak for the other candidates but for me, it's a no brainer - it's part of who I am. I want to be the leader of this great city who gets why it's important we have the right to protest and to free speech, we have the right to a fair trial, and we have the right to privacy.
These early days show a recklessness from the Government when it comes to our rights and freedoms, systematically dismantling the tools which protect the ordinary and the vulnerable and re-writing the rule-book.
All the signs are that next week's budget will feature a massive and unprecedented raid on working peoples' pockets. If the Government doesn't have enough money to make work pay, you might be forgiven for asking, just what are the Tories willing to spend money on these days?
This is not just a domestic matter for the UK - the Belfast Agreement was endorsed by referenda in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland and incorporated into an international treaty with the Irish Republic, which was deposited with the UN. It certainly cannot be changed without the consent of the Irish Republic.
Now the dust has settled on a general election that confounded pollsters and politicians alike, it's time to get to work. Wednesday saw the first Conservative-only Queen's Speech in almost two decades - and it's already clear that our new Government will be providing plenty to keep those concerned with civil liberties busy during the next legislative year... When Liberty was established in the 1930s, founding member E.M. Forster described our work as "the fight that is never done". He was right. In 2015 the fight to defend our rights and freedoms will be a tough one, but with the support of our members it's one we can win.
Politics, human rights, popular culture: in all these aspects of life in the UK, we seem to be at odds with our relationship with our continental friends.
Having barely scraped back into Downing Street after fighting one of the dirtiest election campaigns in British political history, the Cameron cabinet is now putting the final touches on a Queen's speech that is likely to unveil one of the most radical - and dangerous - agendas that any government has sought to push through in decades. Now that the Tories are off the leash, the rights we take for granted every day - rights to privacy and free speech included - are under threat. Repealing the Human Rights Act and threatening to withdraw from the ECHR could well be nothing more than a warm-up act.
With the election of a fresh Conservative government what better time to re-write, what those on the continent call, the 'Human Rights Act'. I don't know about you, but there is no one I trust more than the party that has, in the past 5 years, marched over 900,000 adults and children to food banks, to create an independent 'British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities'. I mean, nothing says 'dignity for all' like relying on the generosity of others to feed your children.
David Cameron, Chris Grayling and apparently now Michael Gove feel we'd be better off if we axed an act that's held the powerful to account over and over again, and instead allowed those with a vested interest in keeping their power unchecked to limit when and to whom human rights apply. Funny that... If you've been paying attention to party spin recently, you'll have seen our HRA suddenly rechristened "Labour's" Human Rights Act. So it's worth clearing up at the start that it was passed in 1998 with overwhelming cross-party support and Tory leadership endorsement. It was a long-held ambition of the Society of Conservative Lawyers.
Labour will defend the public's right to stand up to the powerful. We'll protect our human rights legislation. We'll restore judicial review to its rightful constitutional position. Charities will be released from the undemocratic shackles of the Lobbying Act. And we'll widen access to justice, to ensure that everyone has access to legal representation regardless of personal wealth.