Are you interested in leading LCHR?

LCHR’s longstanding Chair and Executive Director, Andrew Noakes, is standing down from the day-to-day running of LCHR in June. We are now searching for someone to replace him as head of our organisation, occupying the position of Chair. This is a voluntary role to be carried out in the successful candidate’s spare time.

The Chair will lead on all aspects of LCHR’s work, including strategy, campaigning, policy, organisational tasks, and fundraising. They will be free to appoint their own committee of volunteer officers to assist them in these areas.

This is a rare opportunity to take the helm of a well-known and effective human rights organisation that campaigns for change within and beyond the Labour Party.

Please note, the successful candidate will receive mentoring from LCHR’s board of directors to help them understand their role and responsibilities.

To apply, please send your CV and cover letter to Andrew Noakes at andrew.noakes@lchr.org.uk. If you have any questions about the role prior to applying, you’re also welcome to email these over.

The deadline for applications is 7 June.

Please note: as a voluntary role, the hours for this position are flexible and the successful candidate will be free to fit the role around their other responsibilities.

Standing down from LCHR

A message from our founder and Executive Director, Andrew Noakes:

Dear friends,

I’m writing to let you know that I’ll be standing down as Executive Director of the Labour Campaign for Human Rights at the end of this month.

It’s been my honour to lead this organisation since its inception five years ago. Back then, we were just a handful of volunteers looking to get involved in the Labour Party and make a difference for human rights. I never imagined that, five years later, LCHR could be what it is now. I’m proud of everything we’ve achieved.

It’s time for someone new to take LCHR forward, reinvigorating our organisation with new leadership and new ideas. My successor will be appointed by the board of directors after an open recruitment and selection process. Look out for the advert in the next few days. I will continue to serve on the board of directors for an interim period to ensure a smooth transition.

Thanks for all your support over the last five years, and here’s to many more years of LCHR flourishing and being a force for good.

Best,

Andrew Noakes

Alternatives to free movement

LCHR’s preference is for a post-Brexit immigration system based on free movement or a variation of free movement. However, if this proves impossible to attain, it will be vital for Labour to ensure the most damaging aspects of the current non-EU system are not foisted on EU nationals.

In our latest briefing, we explore the pitfalls of the current system and argue that any new system implemented for EU nationals arriving in the UK from January 2021 should not mirror it.

Would you like to join LCHR’s board of directors?

LCHR is now advertising for a new non-executive director to sit on our board. If you’re an LCHR member, or if you join before the deadline, you are eligible and welcome to apply.

Please view a description of the role here. Please note, this is an incredible opportunity to get involved in the running of LCHR, but it’s also a serious responsibility. Being a non-executive director carries legal responsibilities, which you can read more about here.

If you would like to apply, please send your CV and a cover letter to andrew.noakes@lchr.org.uk by the deadline (22 April). Candidates will be shortlisted, interviewed, and then appointed by the current board. We look forward to your application!

Brexit and human rights project briefing No. 4: Variations on free movement

The Labour Campaign for Human Rights is pleased to publish the fourth briefing of our Brexit and human rights project. The briefing provides an objective human rights analysis of three proposed variations on free movement: free movement with a job offer, free movement with an emergency break, and free movement limited by regional or sectoral quotas.

The final section of this briefing considers the recurring human rights risks posed by these three alternatives to free movement, and makes some recommendations for Labour’s priorities for a humane, progressive post-Brexit immigration system.

You can read the briefing here.

Brexit and Human Rights Briefing No.3: Free Movement and Human Rights

The Labour Campaign for Human Rights is pleased to publish our third Brexit and Human Rights Briefing: Free Movement and Human Rights.

The briefing offers an honest analysis of the system’s impact on human rights in order to aid our understanding of its alignment with progressive values and how it could fit into Labour’s approach to Brexit. This briefing situates free movement alongside Britain’s considerably less human rights compliant immigration system for those outside the EU, and argues that a priority for Labour must be to ‘level up’ rights for non-EU migrants. We also consider how Labour can listen to and recognise the concerns of voters regarding free movement, whilst also combating attempts to scapegoat migrants by redirecting the legitimate anger felt at economic insecurity towards their true sources.

Why we should be concerned by the government’s secretive approach to Brexit

The defining message of the Vote Leave campaign was that “leaving the EU … will save our sovereignty.” Before and after the referendum, leading Brexiteers within the government have embedded their arguments of global trade and reduced immigration within the noble principle that parliament, and by extension the British people it represents, remain sovereignty.

Yet this week saw yet another clear demonstration of the government curtailing parliamentary oversight of its’ disastrous Brexit strategy. After weeks of delaying tactics in which the government refused to comply with cross-party calls that it release a series of confidential studies on the economic impact of Brexit, Brexit Secretary David Davis risks becoming the first politician in centuries to be held in contempt of parliament after finally distributing incomplete and heavily edited reports.

The government withheld any information they considered ‘sensitive’, despite a binding, unanimous vote by MPs for complete access of the documents as well as reassurances by the Brexit select committee that any sensitive information would be treated appropriately. David Davis’ extreme self-editing meant that MPs received around twenty reports fewer than expected, with Keir Starmer expressing his shock at the paucity of information that the government deemed fit to share.

The fact that MPs had to utilise every parliamentary trick available just to secure the release of the modified information, including a ‘humble address’ that directly called upon The Queen to force Mr Davis to release the impact assessments, demonstrates the government’s desire to keep parliament at arms-length whilst key decisions are made by Theresa May’s core team. To then release such a watered-down version of what parliament requested was too much even for fierce Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who said the government was “in serious constitutional waters if it doesn’t provide the full information … if you try to trample the rights of Commons in government … you have no means of curtailing abuses of power.”

Yet this remarkably disrespectful approach should not be surprising, as secrecy and concentration of executive power has defined this government’s approach to Brexit. The government’s ‘Great Repeal Bill’ has been widely criticised for granting extraordinarily sweeping and unchecked powers to ministers as they incorporate EU directives into British law. Meanwhile, Andrea Leadsom has also passed a motion to swing influential public bill committees in the government’s favour.

The dispute over the Brexit documents is simply the latest demonstration that, despite its empty rhetorical commitment to the sanctity of parliamentary sovereignty, this government would rather circumvent our parliamentary checks and balances. Labour must continue to oppose the government’s efforts to deliver the hard, centrally-managed Brexit that the electorate resoundingly rejected in June.

Joe Duffy is LCHR’s Campaign Intern