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Friday, December 30, 2016

Will the Tories pull us out of the European Court on Human Rights?

Many papers are reporting today that Theresa May is planning to fight the next election on a platform of pulling the UK out of the European Court on Human Rights so as to suppress dissent in her own Parliamentary Party and force the measure through.

Wales on-line report on Welsh reaction to this plan, but opposition is not just confined to this side of the border. Many commentators agree with me that pulling the UK out of the ECHR would undermine our status in the world, provide an excuse for the more dodgy members to also withdraw and consequently see an increase in human rights abuses across the world.

Winston Churchill was instrumental in setting up the ECHR in an effort to prevent the sort of abuses perpetrated by the Nazis ever happening in Europe again. How ironic therefore that a Conservative Prime Minister wishes to withdraw from international action on human rights and open the door for further atrocities.

Those who might argue that all of this is behind us need only look to Bosnia and other examples where unaccountable despots trampled over people's rights and practised genocide, torture and the like on innocent victims. Pulling the UK out of the ECHR would send the wrong signal to these monsters.

Martha Spurrier, director of Liberty sums it up. She said: “With this deeply regressive and unpopular plan the Prime Minister is on the wrong side of history. The European Convention was written to stop the horrors of World War II from ever happening again.

“Any leader who tries to undermine the values that have given us peace in Europe and protection at home is irresponsible and frighteningly unprincipled. We urge the Prime Minister to spend her time trying to protect our rights, not do away with them."

This is a proposal that needs to be stopped in its tracks.

How convenient it would be for security services on both sides of the Atlantic if England once more accepted state torture, which is banned under the Convention. The Common Law may protect our citizens, but there would be nothing to prevent a more accessible GITMO on these shores if Mrs May has her way.

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