So that’s it. The promenades of Bournemouth and Brighton are once again the domain of holiday-makers, dog-walkers and gargantuan seagulls. Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens has recovered from the memorable scenes of a fortnight ago. Parliament’s party conference recess is over for another year.
Today MPs will debate the Government’s new Immigration Bill in Parliament. Just a week after the Home Secretary told the Conservative Party Conference that immigration was damaging social cohesion, the proposed solution risks destroying it altogether.
Here are five reasons to oppose this deeply divisive Bill:
The progression of universal human rights law is our best hope for achieving true gender equality around the world. A dark irony, then, that the (still overwhelmingly male) Conservative leadership are on the brink of dismantling our Human Rights Act and, in the process, taking a monumental step backwards.
In a lively event in Manchester last night, Conservative MPs, local councillors and party members laid bare the extent of dissent within the party about their leadership’s intention to scrap the Human Rights Act.
On a sunny September evening in Brighton, we were delighted to find that our Fringe at the Labour Party Conference was one of the hottest tickets in town. It was standing room only as delegates – some already Liberty members, many others promising to sign up – packed into the venue to discuss the future of human rights in the UK.
"…if you weaken human rights protections – and this is contrary to how things are sometimes portrayed – you’re not striking a blow at judges in Strasbourg, lawyers in London or politicians in Scotland. You're striking instead at the poor, the vulnerable, and the dispossessed."
So said the First Minister of Scotland to an audience in a community centre in Govan, Glasgow, earlier this week. It was a bold and unequivocal commitment to our Human Rights Act and a warning to those who would try to take it away from us. It was a signal from one of the most senior politicians in the land that she would not be party to an agenda that would transfer power from us to the political elite – and a rejection of the myths and misunderstandings propagated about this important piece of legislation.
Yesterday saw MPs from across the House debate immigration detention in the wake of a cross-party parliamentary report published in March. The Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the UK looked at alternatives to detention across the world, concluding that “decisions to detain should only be taken as a genuinely last resort and to effect removal.”
There is always an expectation that summer will be quiet. That it’s a great time to take stock and make plans for the autumn – after all, parliament’s in recess and the courts are on vacation. And yet it never is.