Londoners don’t want to leave European Convention on Human Rights says new poll

More Londoners think government should concentrate on cost of living and NHS instead

A sticker on a post reads 'Every Human Has Rights'
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

A clear majority of Londoners don’t want to leave the European Convention on Human Rights according to a new poll.

Respondents to the survey from across London showed strong support for human rights protections with the vast majority saying they thought it was important to be able to challenge the Government and that they felt the right to peacefully protest was valuable and that children should be educated about their rights.

The poll, carried out research company Savanta for charity Amnesty International, shows that any UK withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights would not be supported by Londoners with more than half of London adults (60%) polled saying the UK should stay part of the European Convention, with only one in five (18%) saying that the UK should withdraw (22% said they didn’t know). 

More than four out of five Londoners (87%) said they felt it was important to be able to challenge the Government if it violates people’s rights – a key protection that the European Convention helps underpin. A majority of people from London (83%) felt that it was important to be able to peacefully protest about something they cared about, and 87% people in London thought it was important for children and young people to be taught about their rights in school and college.

When asked to rank the top five issues that they wanted the next government to prioritise, respondents to the poll chose tackling the cost of living crisis and resourcing the NHS properly as their top-priority issues (50%). Fewer than one in ten (6%) people put European Convention withdrawal as a top five priority.

The poll, released to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10th, comes after a year of publicised threats from high-profile politicians about the possibility of the UK leaving the Europe-wide human rights treaty, most recently following a legal defeat for the Government’s controversial Rwanda plan.

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, said: “The Government should listen to the views of people in London who clearly want to keep their European Convention rights intact.

“The European Convention protects cherished freedoms like the right to be able to peacefully protest, the right to equal marriage and the right to a fair trial.

“As we’ve seen with campaigns like Hillsborough and the Stafford Hospital scandal, the European Convention allows ordinary people to challenge public bodies or the Government when things go very badly wrong.

“The Government of the day should not be able to pick and choose which rights apply, and who is entitled to them. Human rights have at their heart a principle of equality and they must apply to all people in order to be of value to any of us.

“Repeated threats from politicians to withdraw from the European Convention are undermining the UK’s reputation on the world stage.

“On top of everything else, withdrawal from the European Convention would also threaten the fragile peace in Northern Ireland which has the convention as a key element of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Constant talk of leaving the convention is damaging, dangerous and unpopular.”

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