Lynne Featherstone

MP for Hornsey and Wood Green

my blog
Lynne's Parliament and Haringey Diary, established 2003

Human rights

I did get called in the Meeting the Challenge debate on Wednesday. I had put a card in – but in a democratic party you never know if your name will be chosen by the Chair of the debate who has absolute discretion. Anyway – I was called – and the speech went down well. It is one of my causes – that of the poverty of the built environment and what that does to the life chances of young people and the aspirations of all living in those areas of deprivation where the worst that developers can do is done.

Later I was a speaker at the Liberty (the group that fights against removal of civil liberties as opposed to the shop) and the room was packed. The Liberal Democrats and Liberty have a lot in common in their stance against the appalling onslaught of authoritarian legislation and removals of freedoms as experienced under this Labour government. Huge audience and packed room – this was Lib Dem territory at its finest: the only political party to really stand up for British values in the best sense of the word – freedoms and the basics of law and human rights.

This morning (Thursday) the theme continued in an early debate on human rights. Labour have desecrated the Human Rights Act – the most significant piece of legislation to be brought in in recent years to protect our freedoms. But Labour try to damage it by implying that it is there for use by criminals and terrorists. Misuses and abuses have occurred – but through misinterpretation by the courts. We need to campaign to educate those who must apply the law so that it is used only for the purposes for which it was intended – to give us, the ordinary citizens inalienable rights to our freedoms, freedom from slavery, torture, discrimination and civil liberties.

The motion passed with no votes against. Well, at a Lib Dem conference – I should bloody well hope so!

Thu 21 September 2006
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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Lynne,

    I would be interested to know if there was any discussion of the UK-US Extradition Treaty at the fringe meeting?

    US prosectors no longer having to to make a prima facie case to secure the extradition of a UK citizen, in effect meaning that this country’s citizens are being extradited on the word of a US judge, rather than a UK one.

    It seesm to me that the right for British citizens to have a prima facie case made against them before they face the possibility of being tried and incarcerated in an American jail is one that should be recognised across Party lines.

    I do hope that you will be working with your Parliamentary colleagues to encourage Labour MPs to support the amendments and protect the civil rights of British citizens.

  2. Lynne says:

    Our extradition arrangements with the USA are a fiasco in terms of equality. The conditions for extradition make it far easier for the Amercicans to extradite than for us – but to add insult to injury, we rattified our part
    of the ‘arrangements’ and they have not even done that. And yes – we are fighting this in Parliament.

    The legislative vehicle that we have been able to use is the Police Justice Bill where there
    is a ‘tidying’ up section on extradition – but nothing on the critical issue of our arrangements with the USA.

    This is being battled on further in the Lords and will come back to the Commons in the new session.

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