The UK should seek to become a world leader in championing human rights after it splits from the EU, three top Conservatives said on Monday 17 July.

Former cabinet ministers Dominic Grieve, Maria Miller and Dame Caroline Spelman have backed a report by liberal conservative think-tank Bright Blue.

The document, based off a year-long inquiry into human rights and discrimination, recommends that the government proposes continuing to fund the European Development Fund as a "positive, but conditional" offer.

The group also urged Prime Minister Theresa May to appoint a special envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion and belief overseas.

"Workplace changes over the past decade have not always translated into improvements for British mums," added Miller, who also serves as the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee.

"Over the past 10 years levels of maternity-related discrimination have doubled and some pregnant working women now don't even have the right to paid leave to attend ante-natal medical appointments to safeguard their baby's health.

"These recommendations from Bright Blue could help reshape attitudes toward pregnant women at work and create a long overdue culture change that better reflects this country's laws, values and beliefs."

The report, which provides around 70 policy recommendations for the government's social reform agenda, also called for a ban on the detention of pregnant women in the UK and the abolition of employment tribunal fees for all basic-rate taxpayers.

Ryan Shorthouse, director of Bright Blue, said: "Britain is the home of human rights and a global force for good. After Brexit, Britain should not just be a global leader in free trade, but in human rights too.

"In this country, too many people are held back in education and employment because of who they are rather than what they do.

"As part of its social reform agenda, the new Conservative government can and should be more ambitious in smashing the barriers, including discrimination, which prevent too many individuals from flourishing in life".

The policy proposals come as Brexit Secretary David Davis is in Brussels as part of the two-year-long negotiations with the EU. The UK government plans to split from the bloc's single-market and customs union.

Full recommendations from Bright Blue on human rights

  • The Department for International Trade should ensure that trade deals, where possible, include obligations to improve human rights in the partner countries.
  • In the Brexit negotiations, the Government should prioritise proposing continuing to fund the European Development Fund as a positive, but conditional, offer.
  • DFID should be required to match the funding provided by the FCO to the Magna Carta Fund each year.
  • Government should commit to ensuring that at least 10% of the Syrian refugees that are taken in under the UK's Vulnerable Person Relocation Scheme are Christians. This would mean that Christians from Syria are receiving fair, not special, treatment in the UK's refugee system.
  • Government should introduce a new legal resettlement route for Christian refugees worldwide with the total numbers admitted determined by Government with advice from the new Human Rights Advisory Committee.
  • The UK Government should appoint a Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion and belief overseas.
  • Any individual or organisation should be given the right to seek to persuade a High Court judge to determine that the UK Government should seize the UK assets of a human rights abuser.