David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'

The historian's remarks come amid debate about Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to scrap the European human rights laws

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The Independent Online

Amal Clooney is widely regarded as one of the most engaging and successful barristers in international law.

The top human rights lawyer may have shot to world fame following her marriage to George Clooney in Venice last year, but only after she’d served as a special advisor to then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and represented the likes of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, among others.

Dr David Starkey, however, is less than impressed by her achievements. The historian went as far as to accuse Clooney of promoting human rights  “beyond the purpose proposed by Winston Churchill after the Second World War”.

The result, the Mail Online quotes him as saying, is a society in which people are so hyper-focused on human rights that they’ve forgotten about their own contributions and duties to society.

The balance, he reportedly said, between human rights and duty has been lost, and could only be restored if “the Amal Clooneys and Shami Chakrabartis would shut up”.


According to the article, he also referred to human rights campaign group Liberty as a source of the apparent “problem”.

The Magna Carta: The True Story Behind The Charter author’s comments come amid debate about Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to scrap the European human rights laws.

The 1998 Human Rights Act requires all UK law to be interpreted in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, which is enforced by the Strasbourg court.

UK courts only need to take into account any decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights, but only to the extent that the court considers them to be relevant. Courts in the United Kingdom are in no way bound by Strasbourg and the UK does not need to change law based on judgments from the European Court of Human Rights.


A number of cases causing controversy include foreign criminals who have won the chance to avoid being deported by successfully using their human right to family life.

The Human Rights Act also protects people’s rights to freedom of expression and worship, non-discrimination, life and to be treated humanely.

Starkey is yet to respond to request for clarification.