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Title: British politics and the post-war development of human rights
Author: Jones, Benjamin Nicholas Farror
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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In this thesis I explore the attitudes, arguments, and actions of British political elites in connection with the development of human rights law in Europe and the UK. I do this by examining British input into five key episodes for the development of European supranational rights and their incorporation into domestic legal orders (namely the drafting of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950, the drafting of the European Social Charter 1961, the acceptance of individual petition in 1966, the failed 1970s Bill of Rights debate, the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998, and recent developments such as the UK ‘opt-out’ to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the emergence of a new ‘British Bill of Rights’ debate). Casting light on British involvement in less examined periods in European rights development, I challenge existing, isolated, explanations for the more focal episodes (such as Simpson’s rational-choice post-colonial thesis for individual petition acceptance, and ideological accounts for New Labour’s post-1997 constitutional reform). Responding to the most recent literature in the area, central to my analysis is the question of how rights progress relates to inter-party conflict. By considering continuities and discontinuities in elite political discussion of rights I argue that while conflict is a significant underlying feature of every major episode of rights progress during the last sixty years, and is less evident in less progressive periods, other factors have had a greater influence over the form, timing, and extent of rights progress. Most significant amongst these is the constitutional ideological development of the Labour party and the critical connection between Labour’s elevation of the Convention within the UK constitutional space and revisionist shifts in party thinking.
Supervisor: Erdos, David; Galligan, Denis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Constitutional & administrative law ; Socio-legal studies ; Political ideologies ; Intellectual History ; Modern Britain and Europe ; Human Rights ; Human Rights History ; British Political History ; UK Constitutional Reform ; Labour Party History ; Conservative Party History ; European Human Rights Development