Justice Minister and the British Public Agree on the Value of Human Rights

07 October 2010

Liberty today welcomes Justice Minister Lord McNally’s principled stand on the Human Rights Act. In an exchange in Parliament he vowed to resign if the Act, which is ten years old this week, is scrapped.

Lord McNally’s commitment reflects the values held by the wider British public. A ComRes poll for Liberty last week showed mass support (96%) for a law that protects rights and freedoms in Britain. Support for human rights was further echoed at Liberty’s events at all three party conferences. At this week’s Conservative Party event, both the Lord Chancellor and Attorney General agreed that fundamental rights and freedoms should apply to everyone, not just citizens.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty said:

"It is no surprise to me that politicians from across the spectrum support the Human Rights Act. The values it contains were hard-won by previous generations and are treasured by most people in this country. Nonetheless, it is always heartening when people of integrity stand up for what they believe and we admire the Minister for his honesty and courage."

Last week’s poll, carried out by ComRes, found that less than a tenth of respondents (9%) remember ever having received or seen information from the Government explaining the Act. Ten years on, Liberty is urging politicians from all parties to do more to educate the public about the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the Human Rights Act and to remember Britain’s role in setting an example in the wider world.

Contact: Liberty’s press office on 020 7378 3656 or 07973 831 128



  1. ComRes interviewed 1000 GB adults by telephone between 24 and 26 September 2010. Data was weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British polling council and abides by its rules. For a copy of the full findings, please contact Liberty’s press office on 020 7378 3656.
  2. The Human Rights Act came into force on 2 October 2000. It incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights, which itself embodies many of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed on 10 December 1948.
  3. Liberty’s campaign to protect the Human Rights Act is called ‘Common Values’. High res campaign images are available for use on request to the Liberty press office. Information on the campaign can be accessed here: http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/campaigns/common-values/index.php