Human Rights Act will be safe with a Labour government | Human Rights Act

I read with interest Shami Chakrabarty’s article (The Big Idea: Why we need human rights now more than ever, 6 May). The context of her article is the repeated calls from the conservative right to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. It was one of the landmark pieces of legislation of the first Blair administration and its legal and constitutional significance is enormous.

Although now retired, I was a member of the Home Office Bills Team which developed the policy outlined in the 1996 Labor paper. Bringing rights home, supported ministers in its passage through parliament and began work on its implementation. I had several discussions with Jack Straw, the then Home Secretary.

From these discussions I know how deeply committed Straw (and Derry Irvine as Lord Chancellor) were to the cause of human rights in the UK. This commitment remained even as the Blair government’s enthusiasm for civil libertarian projects waned over the next year or two. Their experience with the Freedom of Information Act of 2000 may have been the final nail in the coffin.

I have followed the development and nuances of the Conservative position on Human Rights Act since 2010. I agree that politically the action will be threatened by a future Tory administration if the soul of the party is captured by the right.

But I am so sure that the act will be safe in the hands of the future Labor government – ​​even as sensitive to pressure from the right as the current party leadership appears.
James Toon
Godalming, Surrey

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