Stars including Benedict Cumberbatch call on government to keep Human Rights Act

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Imitation Game star Benedict Cumberbatch is among a number of stars who have recorded videos celebrating the Human Rights Act – amid government plans to scrap it.

David Cameron has pledged to “once and for all” repeal the Human Rights Act, and during the State Opening of Parliament today, the Queen confirmed “proposals” for a British Bill of Rights, which is expected to replace the law.


A planning document that was previously made public on the Conservative website says the new British Bill of Rights will only be applicable in certain circumstances, and will not be valid for “trivial” matters.


Benedict Cumberbatch, who played gay codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game last year, is among stars taking part in a campaign from human rights group Liberty.

He features in a series of videos raising awareness of individual cases where human rights laws have led to reform – as well as calling on the government to drop the plans.

Actors David Harewood, Simon Callow, Vanessa Redgrave and Indira Varma also took part.

Cumberbatch said: “Our Human Rights Act belongs to all of us. It’s not for politicians to pick and choose when they apply or who deserves protection. Repealing it will mean less protection against state abuse or neglect, and weaken the rights of every single one of us – and the vulnerable most of all.”

Shakespeare in Love star Callow added: “The Human Rights Act is one of the few laws that enables us to hold the powerful to account. No surprise then that the Government wants to scrap it. The Act is a triumph of British values; we abandon it at our peril.”

Article 14 of the Human Rights Act, which affords protection from discrimination, has been used in many legal cases to argue for protection for LGBT people.


Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti said: “These films tell just a few of the stories of our Human Rights Act giving a voice to some of the most vulnerable people‎ in our country.

“Soldiers, journalists, victims of rape, domestic violence and slavery all found justice thanks to Churchill’s Legacy. Government plans to scrap the Act play populist games with hard-won freedoms and undermine the United Kingdom at home and abroad.”

The campaign is being advertised across the mainstream media, including on PinkNews.