Alice Dyke: Andrew Gilligan wrote a small piece in yesterday’s Evening Standard about the presence of, or lack thereof, Labour ministers at the Convention. It is not avaliable online but is re-written in completion below:
Labour must rediscover liberty
At the weekend’s Convention on Modern Liberty, where I was a speaker, many participants remarked on the lack of top-rank Labour politicians at the rights-defending event. There were, in fact, at least two backbench Labour MPs and a junior minister down to speak, as well as a parliamentary candidate, Chuka Umunna. But they did seem rather subdued. Umunna described how his father was beaten up by the police – then proposed as his big idea the blocking of junk mail and saleman phone calls, something anyone can do already.
Liberty isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a party political issue. Though the Tories are quite convincing on it at the moment, they have a sometimes authoritarian past. And though Labour is sensitive about its awful record on human rights, there is a strong civil liberty streak in the party. It’s time it found its voice again.
Michael Wills MP, Minister for Justice, was on the panel at the Convention’s ‘Protecting Rights’ afternoon session, and you can watch his video on the key issues of government, power, and the place of liberty in British politics.