Protecting the European Convention on Human Rights

Emergency Policy Motion

As passed by conference

Submitted by: 11 members


Conference condemns the comments made by Conservative ministers during summer 2023, including Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, about their desires to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Conference notes with concern reports arising in August 2023 that the Conservatives may campaign to leave the ECHR.

Conference further notes that:

  1. The European Convention on Human Rights has strong British roots, counting Winston Churchill as a key architect and the UK as the first country to formally ratify it.
  2. The only country to have left the Convention is Russia.
  3. The Convention plays a crucial role in underpinning the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
  4. For the first time, the Conservative Government has invoked the ability to ignore injunctions from the European Court of Human Rights in their Illegal Migration Act, passed earlier this year.

Conference believes that:

  1. The comments of Ministers such as Suella Braverman are yet another deeply concerning indicator of the Conservatives’ failed ideological approach to the UK’s relationship with Europe, which prioritizes division over working pragmatically with our allies.
  2. The ECHR is an important guarantor of human rights, which the Conservatives have all too frequently disregarded while in Government.
  3. The UK’s full participation in the European Convention on Human Rights is a crucial part of our commitment to protect, defend, and promote human rights internationally.
  4. Conservative Ministers’ comments only serve to do harm to the UK’s global reputation and to deeply undermine the leading role we should be playing as upholders of the ECHR and within the Council of Europe.

Conference commends the work of Liberal Democrat parliamentarians to champion both the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Human Rights Act that incorporates the Convention into domestic law.

Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to fixing the UK’s broken relationship with Europe, in line with the four-stage roadmap set out in Liberal Democrat policy paper 144, Rebuilding Trade and Cooperation with Europe.

Conference calls on the Government to:

  1. Unequivocally commit to staying in the European Convention on Human Rights.
  2. Ensure that all current UK legislation is compliant with the Convention, making amendments where necessary and scrapping the Illegal Migration Act in full.

Applicability: Federal.

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