Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (LD: Kingsholm and Wotton) has today written to all six MPs in Gloucestershire asking for their assurance that they will not vote in favour of scrapping the Human Rights Act.
At a full county council meeting earlier this month, the Liberal Democrat Group on Gloucestershire County Council urged fellow councillors across political parties to continue supporting the Humans Rights Act.
It had also been proposed that the Leader of the Council write to both the Prime Minister and the six Gloucestershire MPs calling for the Act not to be repealed; the motion was however defeated by both Conservative and UKIP Councillors voting together to scrap the Act.
Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:
“I have now taken it upon myself to contact the six Gloucestershire MPs. It is disappointing that the Tories in the county with the help of their UKIP colleagues ‘don’t care two hoots’ about safeguarding civil liberties, protecting our human rights and remaining part of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
“There are Senior Conservatives who oppose such plans to repeal the Human Rights Act. I do hope that the responses I receive from the letters I have sent to our county MPs in Stroud, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, the Cotswolds, the Forest of Dean and Cheltenham will be favourable in keeping this important piece of legislation and for Britain to remain a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). I do think it is very much in the public interest for residents of the county to know exactly whether their MP is either for or against the abolition of the Human Rights Act.”
The following letter was sent individually on 31st July 2015 to the six MPs in Gloucestershire:
On Wednesday 8 July, the Liberal Democrat Group on Gloucestershire County Council proposed a motion calling for the Conservative Leader of the Council to write to the Prime Minister and the six Gloucestershire MPs urging you not to scrap the Human Rights Act.
I was very disappointed and shocked by the attitude of both Conservative and UKIP Councillors who criticised the Human Rights Act, based on total ignorance about what this piece of legislation actually does, to protect civil liberties. This Act gives us access to many important rights that we all enjoy on a daily basis including the right to life and the right to freedom of expression.
I was also amazed to hear during the debate so many Conservative Councillors arguing for us to also pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which was advocated and supported by Winston Churchill just after the war.
I’m proud that during the coalition, the Liberal Democrats successfully blocked David Cameron from scrapping the Human Rights Act. However, now that the Conservatives have won a majority it looks as if not only will this significant piece of legislation be repealed, but that the Government of which you are apart will also pull Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as well.
I’m writing to you today to ask two simple questions. Firstly, will you like many senior Conservatives such as former Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve oppose the task of abolishing the Human Rights Act and vote against such plans? Secondly, will you give me reassurance that you will not vote in favour of pulling this country out of the European Convention on Human Rights?
I trust that you would agree that protecting our human rights is fundamental in a free and fair society. I look forward to receiving a response from you.
Cllr. Jeremy Hilton
Liberal Democrat Group Leader