Kenneth Clarke: I believe in human freedoms and civil liberties

As the countdown to the 800th anniversary of the sealing the Magna Carta begins, the Guardian’s legal affairs correspondent Afua Hirsch talks to justice secretary Kenneth Clarke on its relevance today.

The embedded video isn’t working so please click through to see it.

My favourite part of this is what he has to say about New Labour. So true…


  • Mark says:

    Topsy-turvy world isn’t it, that Ken Clarke comes across as a cuddly granddad undoing the authoritarianism of last Govt. No question at all in my mind that Nulabour lost its way in following Daily Mail agenda: CCTV, ID cards, republican wars like the porn mag ‘Barely Legal’. Hence with the rightwingery [and arguably the economy] they got voted out … surely this govt can’t be worse(??) … it remains to be seen.

    But lets not have too much nostalgia for pre-1997! On civil rights, it took Nulabour to rid us of Section 28! And Clarke was my [Rushcliffe, Nottm] MP at the time the Tories put Section 28 through. On the times he thought it worth bothering to reply to a gay constituent, he was quite happy to defend supporting it, and I think he was in Cabinet too at the time, so was *fully behind* it.

  • GS says:

    Interesting to read that.

    Some in the John Major government were keen to get rid of Section 28 and there were discussions about it.

    I was reading a Pink Paper interview (27 June 1997) with Leo Abse the Labour MP who introduced the bill that finally decriminalised homosexuality. It points out that ‘a significant number’ of Labour MPs were openly homophobic and wouldn’t support the bill and there was a ‘surprisingly mixed’ response from the Conservatives. One MP who backed that bill was Margaret Thatcher!

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