Peter Oborne writes:
I point blank refuse to join in the outcry against the peerage awarded to Shami Chakrabarti. She has made a huge contribution to British public life.
When she took over the civil rights group Liberty 15 years ago, it had completely lost sight of its principle objective — to stand up for freedom.
It had been captured by a Left-wing clique.
The people who ran it, who for a long time included the future Cabinet ministers Patricia Hewitt and Harriet Harman, loved the idea of state control.
They used Liberty (then known as the National Council for Civil Liberties) as a front organisation for the Labour Party.
In the Eighties, the NCCL also supported the unspeakably revolting Paedophile Information Exchange, which campaigned to reduce the age of consent to under ten.
This was an organisation which had lost its way.
Shami Chakrabarti restored Liberty to the original vision of its magnificent founders, who included the novelists E.M. Forster and H.G. Wells, and the celebrated journalist Kingsley Martin of the New Statesman.
That meant defending individual freedom against an increasingly authoritarian state.
She entered into alliances with Conservative politicians against the illiberal Blair government, of which Patricia Hewitt and Harriet Harman were important members.
Liberty then fought a successful campaign to preserve the ancient British freedoms which New Labour viewed with such lacerating contempt.
For example, New Labour was determined to abolish Habeas Corpus, which dates back to Magna Carta and protects any citizen against arbitrary arrest and detention.
Chakrabati’s Liberty stopped that.
Tony Blair then wanted to get rid of the right to trial by jury, in the name of modernisation. Chakrabarti stopped that, too.
Backed by the Mail, she helped lead a powerful campaign to prevent grotesque Blairite plans to suck up to the United States and extradite Gary McKinnon, the Asperger’s sufferer who was accused of hacking into U.S. military systems.
We won that campaign, too, in part thanks to her superb advocacy, and — in the end — the courage of Theresa May in standing up to the Americans.
Shami Chakrabarti is a force for good.
She will be an asset to the House of Lords. It is greatly to the credit of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that he made such a discerning choice.
And what a telling contrast between Shami Chakrabarti and David Cameron’s morally bankrupt collection of Tory donors and overpromoted spin-doctors.