Gloria De Piero: Britain must stay in the ECHR to remain a beacon of justice

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Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities has condemned Tory proposals which could result in the UK leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, saying it is necessary to keep the country as “a beacon of justice and human rights.”

The Conservatives have threatened that Britain will leave the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), unless it is allowed to flout rulings on human rights issues.

Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Gloria De Piero MP told PinkNews: “I’m proud that the last Labour Government introduced the Human Rights Act. Britain stands as a beacon of justice and Human Rights internationally and it is this record that means we can provide leadership on the international stage, supporting greater rights for LGBT people across Europe and the rest of the world. This is something Labour’s Michael Cashman will take forward as the first International LGBT Rights Envoy under the next Labour Government.

“The European Court of Human Rights has played a crucial role in so many of the advances we’ve made – from ending the ban on gay people in the military, to the age of consent. Ed Miliband and Sadiq Khan have made clear that it does need reform but we will work to reform the ECHR, not leave it.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband said earlier today that he thinks Tory plans to abandon the ECHR would be a “disaster” for Britons, as it has “protected the rights of victims of crime”, including gay people.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced today that the ultimatum will be delivered to European judges, and that the courts will need to come to terms with working in an advisory capacity with Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron also announced the proposal in his keynote address to the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham earlier this week, saying: “As for Labour’s Human Rights Act, we will scrap it once and for all.”

In its place, a Bill of Rights would be brought in, including the principles of the convention, which initially was drawn up following World War II.

The difference under the new proposals is that the new legislation would specify the British Supreme Court as the “ultimate arbiter” on human rights issues.