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Conservatives commission human-rights research

17 July 2015


"Some ways forward": the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, speaks at the Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester, at the beginning of this month 

"Some ways forward": the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, speaks at the Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester, at the beginning of this mon...

A GROUP of Conservative activists has commissioned research to investigate how religion has contributed to human rights.

Grassroots Conservatives, which is on the traditionalist Right of the party, said that its research would look into how rights are understood in Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions.

In a statement announcing the six-month project, the group suggested that secular underpinnings of human rights has led to the prioritising of society’s needs over individuals’ rights of conscience.

“We seek to provide a proper conservative understanding to inform responses to Islamic extremism, British values, and human rights in a political environment that has increasingly moved from post-Christian to anti-Christian,” said Ed Costelloe, the chairman of the group.

“We want to alert the Government to the severe dangers this shift presents to our democracy and way of life.”

The fruit of the research will be presented to the Justice Secretary by the end of the year. The Government announced shortly after taking office that it would seek to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a “British Bill of Rights” to limit what it terms abuse of the human-rights regime by activist judges. After a backlash from some Tory backbenchers, however, the Ministry of Justice shelved plans to rush through repeal.

Conservative Grassroots’ spokesman on religion, human rights, and “core values”, Canon Chris Sugden, is also the executive secretary of the conservative Evangelical group Anglican Mainstream.

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