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The Conservative Human Rights RevolutionEuropean Identity, Transnational Politics, and the Origins of the European Convention$
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Marco Duranti

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199811380

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199811380.001.0001

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Neoliberal Human Rights in Postwar Britain

Neoliberal Human Rights in Postwar Britain

(p.215) 5 Neoliberal Human Rights in Postwar Britain
The Conservative Human Rights Revolution

Marco Duranti

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the free-market conservative origins of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the late 1940s, Winston Churchill and David Maxwell Fyfe, both politicians on the “free-enterprise” wing the Conservative Party, appear to have been genuinely convinced that Britain under Labour rule was entering down the path of authoritarian rule, as the neoliberal economist Friedrich Hayek had predicted. These fears explain why it was they, not British socialists, who took the lead in championing the codification of fundamental rights in international law and the creation of a supranational human rights court with powers of effective judicial review. Churchill and Maxwell Fyfe, moreover, were instrumental in ensuring that social rights would not be safeguarded under European human rights law, against the wishes of continental socialists.

Keywords:   Britain, British politics, conservatism, Conservative Party, ECHR, European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, political history, social rights, Winston Churchill

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