A new report looking into the history of conservatism has called for the party to be the “loudest champions” of human rights.
Overseen by former High Court Judge and QC Sir Michael Tugendhat, the new research also claims the party should abandon plans to scrap the Human Rights Act or withdraw from the Human Rights Court.
While the party’s 2017 manifesto confirmed previous plans to scrap the country’s current human rights framework and replace it with a new ‘Bill of Rights’ were on hold until Brexit negotiations had concluded, it stressed they would be looked at again.
A strong history of supporting human rights
The new report from Bright Blue, an independent think tank for liberal conservatism, looks at a number of different outcomes for human rights law in the UK. However, it concludes the best option would be to keep the current system.
It is little known that a Conservative politician was, in fact, the first proponent of what would later become the Human Rights Act
Looking back through the history of human rights legislation, the report also highlights the historical support of both Conservative MPs and the party as a whole.
Ryan Shorthouse, director of Bright Blue said: “The defence of human rights, which protect individual liberty from an overreaching state and undue power, should be a fundamental part of modern conservatism. Conservatives have a proud history of championing human rights.
“In fact, Conservatives in the post-war period championed and developed human rights. It is little known that a Conservative politician – Quintin Hogg MP – was in fact the first proponent of a Bill of Rights – which would later become the Human Rights Act. ”
Similarly, Sir Michael echoed the Conservative’s history of implementing human rights both at home and abroad.
He added: “From 1953, Conservative Governments incorporated the rule of law and human rights into the constitutions of British Overseas Territories and they caused the UK to ratify other human rights treaties – on refugees in 1954, against all forms of discrimination against women in 1986, and against torture in 1988.
“The Conservative Party should today pursue its historic commitment to the rule of law, and maintain, or strengthen, the ECHR and the HRA.”