Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky's resignation from the Commission on a British Bill of Rights has been accompanied by some revealing comments.
The Conservative appointee said he felt he had no option because the other members were "deliberately ignoring" the wishes of Prime MInister David Cameron.
That appears to point to a regrettable lack of objectivity on his own part as a member of the Commission, and an attitude out of line even with the other presumed sceptics towards the Human Rights Act on a body that attempted to represent a balance between supporters and opponents, as it is said that the other seven members had combined in expressing the view that Dr Pinto-Duschinsky represented a "barrier to progress".
We can hope that whatever the views of the man who has accused the other members of intending to support the status quo all along, the seven who remain are indeed stepping back from the somewhat frenzied political and media coverage of human rights and taking a calmer look at the subject. It would be somewhat remarkable if they were able to produce a unanimous report, but if they did, it would be one to be taken seriously.
It is to be hoped also that the Commission will think through any proposed reforms more closely than the UK Government appears to have done in its proposals for reform of the Convention, to be put to the Brighton summit. It is hard to view them otherwise than as designed to get round the two issues on which the Government has had the sharpest disagreement recently with the Strasbourg judges – prisoners' votes and deportation of terror suspects – with obvious dangers as respects weakening the Convention in relation to those countries where it is needed most.
If we are going to sign up to an international legal regime, we have to accept that it may not always coincide with the way we have done things to date. And if we have any pretensions to be providing a moral lead in the world – as we must have if we are sending our troops into action abroad in defence of others' freedoms – we cannot afford to be seen to be picking and choosing as to when we accept what that regime entails.