The debate about human rights in the UK has become narrow, divisive and political. But public scepticism towards human rights relates to their application rather than the principles behind them. For centuries, protecting individual liberty has been seen as an important conservative principle. As Margaret Thatcher put it, “human rights did not begin with the French Revolution...England had 1688, our quiet revolution”.

This project will explore how conservatives can think about human rights in a positive way that draws on conservative traditions of individual freedom and empowerment. It will also evaluate what the Conservative Government has done on human rights, and explore new narratives and policies, which ensure that human rights are strengthened both in the UK and abroad.

The project will explore three key areas:

  • Ensuring the new British Bill of Rights strengthens human rights and is compatible with being a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
  • Advancing human rights in British foreign policy
  • Tackling discrimination - including gender, sexual, religious, disability and racial discrimination





The Rt Hon Maria Miller MP
Chair, Women and Equalities Select Committee


The Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP
Second Estates Church Commissioner


The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP
Former Attorney General for England and Wales

Ben Rogers

Benedict Rogers
Writer and human rights activist

Matthew d'Ancona
Political Columnist, The Guardian

Ian Birrell
Foreign reporter

About the commission

Our commission will be led by a group of high-profile conservative decision makers and opinion formers. It will be year-long inquiry assessing a conservative approach to human rights across three key policy areas: tackling discrimination; the British Bill of Rights; and British foreign policy.

The commission will include an all-day oral evidence session with invited experts and a call of written evidence. The commission will conclude with a final report with policy recommendations.

A sense of belonging

16th December 2016

With the launch of the Casey Review this month sparking fresh debate about the state of integration in the UK, this new report brings together leading decision makers and opinion formers from different political and professional backgrounds to argue that integration should be a top priority that unites both Left and Right.

Contributors include: 

Dame Louise Casey (Director-general, The Casey Review team, Department for Communities
and Local Government)

Professor Ted Cantle (Author, The Cantle report on community cohesion)

Lord O’Shaughnessy (Former director of policy and research, David Cameron) 

Chuka Umunna MP (Chair, All-party parliamentary group on social integration) 

Suella Fernandes MP (Conservative MP, Fareham and Member, All-party parliamentary group on social integration

Conservatism and human rights:
essay collection

22nd March 2016

The collection, published by Bright Blue, brings together leading thinkers, decision makers and public figures to discuss three key themes in the debate around human rights: tackling discrimination; the role of human rights in British foreign policy; and ensuring the new British Bill of Rights strengthens human rights. 

Contributors include: 

The Rt Hon Damian Green MP (Former Minister for Immigration) on what should be in the British Bill of Rights

The Rt Hon Maria Miller MP (Chair, Women and Equalities Select Committee) on tackling gender discrimination

The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC (Former Foreign Secretary) on the balance between individual freedom and state security

Crispin Blunt MP (Chair, Foreign Affairs Select Committee) on human rights with global players

Trevor Phillips OBE (Former Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission) on tackling racial discrimination

Professor Sir Paul Collier (Director, International Growth Centre) on ending extreme poverty