Here's The New Justice Secretary's Human Rights Record - RightsInfo

Here’s The New Justice Secretary’s Human Rights Record

It’s been a busy return to work for Theresa May’s Government, as she finishes off a reshuffle of her top positions.

Amongst the maneuvers, we’ve seen the David Lidington move from Justice Secretary to Cabinet Office Minister, with David Gauke stepping in to take up the role.

Gauke is a qualified solicitor with experience in corporate law, as well as previously being the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. What is his record on human rights like though? Let’s take a look at his history on some of the relevant issues.

Same-Sex Marriage

Image Credit: 2Photo Pots / Unsplash

Back in 2012, Gauke was quoted as saying he was inclined to vote in favour of gay marriage, explaining he believed gay people should not be excluded from the institution. He did add a proviso though,  that he wanted churches and other institutions to be able to decide for themselves what they want to do in this area.

I am inclined to vote in favour of it. I think marriage is a really good institution and I don’t think gays should be excluded from it.

David Gauke MP

Gauke’s voting record shows that he did indeed go on to vote in favour of legalising gay marriage in the Commons.

Disabilities

Image Credit: Steve Bidmead / Pixabay

As Work and Pensions Secretary, David Gauke has overseen the introduction of new rules which make it harder for people with some types of disability to claim the mobility element of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

A claimant recently challenged these in the High Court, with the judges ruling the changes were discriminatory and quashind the relevant part of the PIP regulations. This decision remains subject to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

He also spearheaded a strategy aiming to get more people with disabilities into work in the next ten years “by bringing employers, the welfare system, and health services together […] to ensure everyone can reach their potential.” It’s too soon to say how well this strategy is being implemented but there is already positive feedback from some large employers.

Young People

Image Credit: Alexis Brown / Unsplash

Another policy championed by Gauke during his time as Secretary of State for Work in Pensions is the extension of automatic workplace pension enrolment to all employees over the age of 18.  Writing in the Guardian, Gauke said:

A key part of this will be to ensure that the next generation of workers have the same opportunities as everyone else to save when they start their first job

Conversely, since 2011, David Gauke has consistently voted against the introduction of economic policies which would guarantee paid employment for young people, funded by bank taxes. He has also voted in favour of raising university tuition fees, which impacts heavily on younger people.

Immigration

A refugee from Syria in Lebanon. Image Credit: European Commission / Flickr

In October 2017, David Gauke spoke out strongly against Theresa May’s proposed cap on the number of immigrants accepted into the UK annually, saying that flexibility was necessary at times when the UK job market required more workers from overseas.

On refugees, Gauke’s record is less positive, as he voted against the Dubs amendment which would have allowed 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees from Syria into the UK.

Benefits

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As secretary of State for Work and Pensions since June 2017, David Gauke has been charged with overseeing the continuing rollout of the Universal Credit (UC)  system which has been greatly criticised by opponents for its negative and punitive impact on some low-income households.

Today, in a radio interview,  Gauke has defended UC, describing it as “a good system which has got even better, and it is helping people into work and dealing with the long-term challenges to ensure that people can support themselves.”

Featured Image Credit: Saeima / Flickr

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About the Author

Liz Matthews

British Iranian Liz has a LLB (Hons) and a BA in Women's Studies from the University of Auckland, and has been admitted to the Bar in New Zealand. She has worked for the New Zealand government, initially deciding asylum cases, and later working on refugee family reunion cases which involved travelling in Africa interviewing refugee families alongside UNHCR and IOM. Most recently Liz has been combining parenthood with volunteering with organisations which represent the views of families whose children have special educational needs and disabilities. Liz's other interests include the rights of children to receive appropriate and adequate health care. View all posts by Liz Matthews.
Here’s The New Justice Secretary’s Human Rights Record
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