Why the UK should not leave the ECHR – 1828 – Championing Freedom

Why the UK should not leave the ECHR


FEBRUARY 23, 2023

According to reports this month, the Prime Minister would contemplate withdrawing the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if the government’s policies on small boats are found to violate the ECHR. This would be the wrong decision. 

The ECHR is an international treaty – separate from the European Union – which most European countries committed to after the Second World War, obliging them to respect fundamental human rights.

The ECHR has been decisive in protecting important human rights against intrusive and coercive state powers when domestic law and politics have failed. These three cases demonstrate why the UK should remain a member of the ECHR.

The mass DNA database of the innocent: 

Until 2010, in England and Wales the police had the power to take and retain DNA samples from all people arrested for criminal offences. This retention had no time limit, and happened regardless of the seriousness of the offence, the age of the suspect, or whether the person was eventually charged and convicted of the offence.  

In 2003, the highest UK court concluded that this practice was lawful. The judges decided that the potential value of DNA evidence to solving crimes outweighed the interests of innocent people in having their private information deleted from a police database.  

By contrast, in 2008 in a case called S and Marper v United Kingdom, the Strasbourg Court – the international court that interprets the ECHR – concluded that this practice was a disproportionate interference with people’s right to respect for their private life (Article 8 ECHR). While the Strasbourg Court agreed that DNA evidence was essential in the fight against crime, it added that this could not justify a blanket state power to retain innocent people’s DNA forever.  

This is a critical example of the ECHR being used to promote proportionate, targeted government action, rather than excessive, precautionary, and absolutist interferences. 

Arbitrary terrorism stop-and-searches: 

Under the Terrorism Act 2000, senior police officers could authorise any uniformed officer within a defined geographic area to stop-and-search any person or vehicle for articles connected with terrorism. These searches could be conducted randomly without any suspicion of criminality. Refusal to submit was a criminal offence. In London, this authorisation had been granted on a rolling basis for five years. The public was not told when an authorisation was in place. 

The highest UK court concluded that not only was this power lawful, but that in many instances it did not even interfere with people’s privacy. As one of the judges put it:  

“I am…doubtful whether an ordinary superficial search of the person can be said to show a lack of respect for private life…I incline to the view that an ordinary superficial search of the person and an opening of bags…can scarcely be said to reach that level.” (para.28). 

This sentiment was common among the senior British judiciary. In a similar case, the judge remarked that people should not be “over precious” about minor infringements of their privacy by the police “which are the price today of participation in numerous lawful activities conducted in large groups of people.” 

By contrast, in 2010 in the case of Gillan & Quintan v United Kingdom, the Strasbourg Court concluded that there was a violation of the right to respect for people’s private life. Finding against the “put up with it” attitude of the British courts, the Strasbourg Court was insistent that: 

“The use of…coercive powers…to require an individual to submit to a detailed search of their person, clothing and personal belongings amounted to a clear interference with the right to respect for private life.” 

The Strasbourg Court also determined that this was an arbitrary power with too few safeguards against abuse and misuse to be considered lawful.  

Again, the ECHR promoted a more proportionate, targeted approach to state power. 

Public interest journalism

Between 1958 and 1961, a drug called thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant women in the UK as a sedative. Sadly, this drug caused severe physical disabilities in fetuses and around 450 babies were born with life-changing conditions. In the early 1970s, affected families brought legal action against the drugs company and entered negotiations for financial settlements.  

The Sunday Times wished to publish stories related to the company’s negligence. Instead, the drugs company lobbied the Attorney-General to institute contempt proceedings to restrain publication of the stories. The British courts granted a broad injunction preventing The Sunday Times “by themselves, their servants, [or] agents” from “publishing, or causing or authorising…to be published” anything which “prejudges” the legal issues related to thalidomide.  

The Strasbourg Court took a different approach. In 1979, in the case of Sunday Times v United Kingdom, the Strasbourg Court concluded that this was a violation of the newspaper’s freedom of expression (Article 10 ECHR). While the Court recognised the need for limitations on freedom of expression to ensure the fair administration of justice, the judges were struck by the breadth of the prohibition on journalistic speech imposed by the British courts.  

As the Strasbourg Court put it: “Not only do the media have the task of imparting such information and ideas: the public also has a right to receive them.”  

There are many reasons why it would be a bad idea for the UK to withdraw from the ECHR. Because we would be joining Russia and Belarus in being the only European countries who are not signatories. Because it would undermine the UK’s reputation as a leading centre for the rule of law and human rights. Because it would undermine the international rules-based order when it is already on life support. But the best reason is because the ECHR works.

The effective protection of liberty and human rights requires a network of measures – political, social, economic, legal, domestic, and international. The ECHR will never be the only solution, but it is part of the solution, and the UK should remain a committed member.

Lee Marsons is a Senior Researcher at Public Law Project and can be followed on Twitter @LeeGTMarsons 





Jamie Bryson on #nolanlive explaining #DUP policy on the #BrexitProtocol once more.
Who is leading the DUP?

My goodness the whole spectacle is depressing. This paper that was sent by …. Jamie , is so embarrassing that Jeffrey has already distanced himself from it but yet endorsed it simultaneously. If Jeffrey contorts himself anymore , he may dislocate something

Welcome progress. A deal on the protocol must be done.

Good Friday Agreement (GFA) Free From Sectarian Harassment #FuckTheDUP

No hard border, protection of the GFA, access to the single market must be maintained. Keep what works, fix what doesn’t. Then govt must get back to work. No more delay.


“If we don’t get Dáithí’s Law, I’m gonna crack up!”

#Time4Action #DáithísLaw


I don’t know how the good Christians @J_Donaldson_MP and @paulgivan can live with themselves.

#Grenfell 5th anniversary #augmentedreality #poster ‘Where are the charges?’

If you see these posters flyposted download the #artivive #app to see the #AR layer.

#design #politics #rydon #arconic #rbkc #ktmo #kingspan #celotex


@MassiveAttackUK @Lowkey0nline

Pressure building on Ulster Rugby to cut ties with sponsor #Kingspan over #Grenfell

Proud to stand in solidarity with survivors of Grenfell tonight. Really positive engagement from fans with many agreeing @UlsterRugby needs to #KickOutKingspan

Over 400 leaflets distributed and plenty of conversations with the fans.

Stand Up For the 72. Kick Out Kingspan.

💚 #Grenfell – still no justice.

#Kingspan unchallenged as sponsors of #UlsterRugby

💚https://twitter.com/BelfastEnd/status/1338195014388617216?t=GyFXCV7JsBmrlX1T_tFwbg&s=09 #Grenfell – still no justice.

#Kingspan unchallenged as sponsors of #UlsterRugby

It’s time the stadium name was returned to Ravenhill.
I have not followed them for some time since I can’t see their matches on TV without taking another subscription out.

#IStandWithGrenfell #RemoveKingspan

One person in this photo voted for the Protocol and said it was an opportunity👇👇

Fuck the DUP

Two others have been recorded praising the Protocol and openly stating it wasn’t a threat to the union

Now they’re raging because a Judge agreed with them

Welcome to unionism 👍

Boris Johnson agreed Brexit protocol knowing it was a ‘mess’, says John Major.

Johnson’s administration made promises over NI deal it knew were unworkable, former PM tells MPs

Tuesday 7th February, 2023.

John Major has launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson’s handling of Brexit, saying his administration agreed to NI Protocol the despite knowing it was unworkable.

“That must be the first agreement in history that was signed by people who decided it was useless in the first place,” Major told a Westminster committee on Tuesday.

The former Conservative prime minister did not name his successor but expressed astonishment at the acceptance of the protocol, which Johnson used to promote an “oven-ready” Brexit deal in the 2019 election.

He said Britain’s exit from the EU was a “colossal mistake” that had left the UK outside the world’s main three power blocs. “There is America, there is China and there is the European Union. We should be in Europe.”

The blunder was worsened by the agreement to impose checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, he said.

“The protocol is a mess. It was very poorly negotiated,” Major told the Northern Ireland committee. “I think some of the promises made after the protocol that there would be no checks on trade from Britain and Northern Ireland, how those promises came to be made I cannot imagine because they were patently wrong. The protocol needs changing. I am baffled as to how we could have reached a situation where that protocol was accepted.”

Major, who was prime minister from 1990 to 1997, criticised Johnson’s administration for signing the protocol with the EU apparently on the basis that it would be later reformed. He also criticised Johnson and his successor, Liz Truss, for their threats to override the Brexit agreement.

“Even if the protocol bill was wrong that does seem to be a strange way to proceed because that sort of behaviour is pretty unwise. We, the British, would not respond to threats of that sort. Why do we think that the European Union would?”

Major was appearing as a witness at a committee hearing on the effectiveness of the institutions of the 1998 Good Friday agreement. The Democratic Unionist party (DUP) has collapsed power-sharing in Northern Ireland in a protest against the protocol, leaving the Stormont executive and assembly mothballed. The party says the protocol damages the region’s economy and its place in the UK.

We’re hearing from former Prime Minister, Sir John Major.

📺Watch live here: parliamentlive.tv/event/index/22…


Major said all sides: London, Dublin, Brussels and parties in Northern Ireland, would have to compromise. “A statesmanlike response would be to recognise that nobody is going to get everything they wish, but to accept compromise in the interest of returning democratic government to Northern Ireland. That will not be easy for anyone.”

He said it seemed Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street team was making progress in talks with the EU. In a tacit rebuke to the DUP – and possibly also an appeal to Sunak to face down Tory Brexit hardliners – Major counselled compromise. “Statesmen who do that will succeed. Politicians who keep shouting slogans to their most extreme supporters will not.”

Major lauded the contribution of his Irish counterparts, Albert Reynolds and John Bruton, as well as Northern Ireland party leaders, clerics, civil servants, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair in paving the Good Friday agreement. “This is a settlement that has many parents. No one can claim full paternity.”

He expressed concern that poverty in Northern Ireland was undermining peace and reconciliation. “Economic hardship is a divisive force.”

With many thanks to: The Guardian @TheGuardian and Rory Carroll (Ireland Correspondent)
@roryrorycarroll72 for the original story.

Follow this link to to find out more on this story: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/feb/07/boris-johnson-agreed-brexit-protocol-knowing-it-was-mess-says-john-major#Echobox=1675785051

Time to enact the St. Andrews Agreement which is to enact the GFA agreement.

President of Sinn Fein Mary Lou McDonald says Boris Johnson ‘mislead’ the Democratic Unionist Party and urges Rishi Sunak to not repeat the actions of his predecessor.

‘…start being honest, truthful and pragmatic with the DUP.’

@AndrewMarr9 | @MaryLouMcDonald

DUP and ERG Alliance Threatens Fresh Brexit Headache For Rishi Sunak

18th January, 2023

NI’s Democratic Unionist Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson gave a well-received address to the Conservative party’s staunchly pro-Brexit European Research Group of MP’s on Tuesday night.

Any alliance between the ERG, Brexit’s most uncompromising defenders in Westminster, and the DUP, which has repeatedly warned the UK government that any deal with the EU on the contentious NI Protocol must satisfy its strict demands before it agrees to the restoration of the province’s collapsed government at Stormont, could prove cumbersome for Rishi Sunak should he reach an agreement with Brussels.

Donaldson spoke at the ERG’s monthly plenary for over an hour, taking questions from Conservative MPs about the impasse over the post-Brexit treaty, PoliticsHome understands.

A Tory MP who attended the meeting said the ERG and DUP positions on the protocol, and what the UK should be prepared to accept in its negotiations with Brussels, were “indistinguishable”.

Donaldson’s appearance at the ERG meeting will serve as a reminder to the Prime Minister of the political trouble he could potentially face in the event of reaching an agreement with the European Commission.

Despite having voted and campaigned for Leave at the 2016 referendum, Sunak has struggled to convince some of the avid Brexiteers in his party that he is truly one of them, and risks accusations of making too many concessions to Brussels in a bid to strike a deal on the NI Protocol.

The DUP’s support will prove pivotal to the success of any agreement on Great Britain to the North of Ireland’s trade that avoids a hard border with the Republic of Ireland, and therefore the EU, which is politically untenable.

There has recently been a renewed optimism that the UK and EU will be able to reach an agreement on the NI Protocol prior to the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement on 10th April.

Fuck the DUP

UK and EU negotiators are preparing for several weeks of intense negotiations, with a Whitehall source yesterday telling PoliticsHome there was hope that a deal can be done by mid-February.

Speaking yesterday alongside Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said US President Joe Biden’s administration was “heartened” to see the UK and EU make “substantive progress toward a negotiated solution”, in a further sign that a deal could be close.

Ministers hope that reaching a deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has strained UK-EU relations since it came into effect at the start of last year, will persuade Donaldson’s DUP to agree to the formation of a power-sharing government in Stormont, having blocked it for nearly a year.

The treaty was agreed as part of Brexit talks with then prime minister Boris Johnson as a way of avoiding a contentious hard border on the island of Ireland. However, it did so by erecting barriers to trade in the Irish Sea, which the DUP says has undermined NI’s place in the UK.

The biggest obstacle to the DUP’s support for any deal reached in the coming weeks is likely to be the role of the ECJ, with Donaldson warning last week that his party would not support any agreement that did not restore NI’s “constitutional” place in the UK.

Currently, EU law applies in the North of Ireland by virtue of the region’s place in the single market, and disputes arising from the post-Brexit treaty are determined by the European judges. Those familiar with negotiations say it will be the trickiest issue to resolve.

With many thanks to: PoliticsHome and @adampayne26 for the original story.

Follow this link to to read the original publication: DUP and ERG Alliance Threatens Fresh Brexit Headache For Rishi Sunak https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/dup-erg-brexit-alliance-northern-ireland-protocol-rishi-sunak

Why have you “REFUSED” to show this clip on your programme? It has been Tweeted to you “HUNDREDS” of times.

Petronilla de Midia
Replying to
Answer here on Twitter and give your reasons why please.
3:11 PM · Jan 8, 2023

%d bloggers like this: