No such right exists, but the Blair government often cites it to justify the expanding powers of the police and security services. The prime minister first [?] used it in his first monthly press conference following the G8 bombings (the one in which he said, "the rules of the game are changing") and he and his ministers have been using it ever since.
[Blair] ... I don't think we should allow ourselves to be backed into an argument where we say when you are protecting national security you are interfering with civil rights or civil liberties. Article 2 of the European Convention is the Right to Life. The European Convention specifically recognises that you have got to be able to protect your citizens and their right to be free from attack, or free from terrorism.
So I think it is not so much a question, in fact, of saying we put national security above civil liberties, on the contrary it is more a question of saying, what is the right balance between the rights of people to say what they want, or do certain things, and the rights of other people to be free from attack, or free from fear, and that is the balance that has to be struck in any situation where you are debating rights.
The right to life in Article 2 is the right not to be killed by one's own government, not the right not to be killed by terrorists. Contrary to what Blair says, the European Convention does not mention any right to be "free of attack" or to be "free of terrorism" or, even worse, the right to be "free of fear". And he seems to believe, or would have us believe, that the Convention confers rights on governments vis à vis their people, whereas exactly the reverse is the case.
Previous Home Secretaries David Blunkett and Charles Clarke also used this fallacious argument to justify empowering the police and reducing civil liberties. If and when the more academically minded Dr John Reid does the same, we'll know we're in big trouble.