We have asked all of the Leadership and Deputy Leadership Candidates to provide a short statement on their approach to human rights. Below is the statement from Ian Murray MP.
I want to start by thanking the Labour Campaign for Human Rights, and your members, for the work you do in fighting to enhance and protect the human rights protections brought in under Labour. A record we should be proud of and champion at every opportunity.
Our party has a proud record of defending human rights at home and abroad.
The Human Rights Act of 1998 enshrined in domestic law the European Convention of Human Rights. That piece of legislation has afforded millions of citizens the basic rights they need and deserve, but might not have otherwise had under the Tories.
Standing up for that principle is perhaps more important now than ever, after December’s disastrous election results.
Of course, our Labour values don’t stop at the border.
I have said that as Deputy Leader I will setup ‘Labour’s campaign for Britain’s future’ which will examine not just our own constitution, but how we look out to the world. Standing up for human rights abroad has to be an integral part of that.
I see first-hand the achievements of the ECHR, sitting on the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe as a senior member of the UK Labour delegation. Together with colleagues from across Europe, I am proud to defend the human rights of everybody – whether they are my constituents in Edinburgh, or citizens fighting against Erdogan’s autocratic regime in Turkey or the way Russia has disregarded the human rights of many of its citizens.
You just have to look at the tangible achievements of that convention to see how important it is that we fight the Tories plans to take us out of it.
Their plans to ‘update’ the Human Rights Act are nothing but a smokescreen for Boris Johnson’s intention to slash at the hard-fought protections Labour delivered.
The reality of an 80-seat Conservative majority is that our human rights are under threat like never before.
There is no better indicator of that than the previous Tory government’s hollowing out of legal aid in England and Wales. We now live in a country where the underprivileged in some cases simply can’t afford to mount a proper legal defence.
It is utterly shameful.
But I’m afraid that sitting on the opposition benches, there is relatively little we can do about it. So, we have to win these arguments in the country.
I am supportive of enshrining social and economic human rights in law, but in order to do that we have to win the next general election.
If anybody thinks that we will do that with continuity – that all we need is one more heave – they shouldn’t vote for me.
I am the change candidate in this election. I believe that we have to listen to what the public told us in December, and change the Labour Party.
It is only by changing, and offering the country a prospectus they can believe in, that we can kick Boris out of 10 Downing Street and put an end to the government’s attempts to hack away at our human rights protections.
We are delighted that Ian Murray MP has signed up to our Human Rights Pledge.