Lib Dem quit in human rights protest

A Liberal Democrat peer stepped has down as advisor to justice secretary Jack Straw in protest at the government’s record on human rights, he has revealed.

Lord Lester, who took on a role as constitutional advisor as part of Gordon Brown’s ‘government of all the talents’, said Labour’s record on human rights was “dismal”.

Timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Lord Lester told the Guardian he stepped down because the government was failing to show leadership on the issue.

“I decided, with regret, to cease to be a government-tethered ‘goat’ – that is, one of those flatteringly and misleadingly described as part of a government of all the talents,” he said.

The former human rights lawyer reserved particular anger for Mr Straw’s recent attack on the Human Rights Act.

“It is a lamentable departure from his predecessors as Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg and Lord Falconer, who staunchly defended the Human Rights Act,” he said.

The comments follow a speech by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, in which he lambasted the government’s domestic human rights record – particularly in relation to immigrants.