The Law Society has warned the government that the ‘increasingly worrying tone’ of domestic debate about the Human Rights Act has placed the UK’s reputation for international human rights leadership at risk.

In a letter to prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, timed to coincide with Global Human Rights Day today, the Law Society says that ‘from the Magna Carta to the Human Rights Act the UK has a long and proud history of recognising the need for legal limits on the exercise of state power’.

The current lack of political leadership, the Society says, is jeopardising ‘the country’s traditional values of fair play and our belief in basic human dignity and justice for everyone’.

The Society asks for an assurance that when the government comes to consider the report of the Commission on a UK Bill of Rights, ‘the protection of universal human rights will be safe in the UK’.

The Society was one of 70 signatories from civil liberties groups that included the British Institute of Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Law Centre Network, Liberty, the Refugee Council and UNICEF UK.

Read the letter in full.