NEWS
15/06/2015 10:52 BST | Updated 15/06/2016 06:12 BST

Cameron 'Pledge' On Magna Carta

David Cameron has spoken of the need to reform UK human rights to "safeguard" the Magna Carta's legacy as the historic document's influence over the past 800 years was celebrated.

The Prime Minister's words came at a major international event, attended by the Queen and an audience of thousands, marking the groundbreaking accord's role in helping to define concepts such as the rule of law and equal rights for all.

On the site at Runnymede where King John, on June 15 1215, accepted the historic document that limited the power of the Crown, Mr Cameron said it remains "sewn into the fabric of our nation, so deep we barely even question it" but complained that the notion of human rights in Britain has been "distorted and devalued".

Among those at the celebration were senior members of the Royal Family, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls and chairman of the Magna Carta Trust.

Lord Dyson said in a speech to guests: "Magna Carta has had its ups and downs. But it was a hugely significant step on a journey which led to the building of a society where everyone has equal rights and nobody is above the law."

The Conservative Government has controversial plans to scrap the Human Rights Act and assert the role of the UK's Supreme Court over the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg - leaving open the option of withdrawing from the European Convention of Human Rights if reforms are blocked.

Mr Cameron said in his speech: "It falls to us in this generation to restore the reputation of those rights - and their critical underpinning of our legal system.

"It is our duty to safeguard the legacy, the idea, the momentous achievement of those barons. And there couldn't be a better time to reaffirm that commitment than on an anniversary like this.

"So on this historic day, let's pledge to keep those principles alight."