13:00, September 23 119 0 theguardian.com

2020-09-23 13:00:07
Dangerous legal step towards dictatorship

The resignation of Amal Clooney, the prominent human rights barrister, from her position as the UK’s special envoy on media freedom, because the government intends to enact legislation that would breach international law, vividly illustrates the consequences to our reputation abroad should the offending legislation be passed (Amal Clooney quits UK envoy role over ‘lamentable’ Brexit bill, 18 September). Clooney rightly feels that she can hardly encourage other governments to observe the rule of law when that which she represents does not.

The government’s intention to breach the law has wider possible consequences. If citizens and institutions follow the government’s example and choose what laws they will and will not obey, anarchy will ensue.

Further, if this government insists on breaking the law because it suits it to do so politically, it will be taking one small but dangerous step towards dictatorship.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The rule of law, together with an independent judiciary and legal profession, is vital to our democracy.

Michael Heath

(Retired circuit judge), Lincoln