Rail operators should be stripped of franchises if they fail to meet standards for making their services accessible for disabled people, a Conservative thinktank has argued in a report outlining a vision for human rights after Brexit.

It is among about 70 recommendations connected to discrimination and rights in a publication by Bright Blue, an influential voice for liberal Tory ideas, which argues the UK should not neglect such policies once it leaves the EU.

Bright Blue also suggests all police services should classify offences instigated by misogyny as hate crimes; they should be forced to take positive action so that their workforce “mirrors the ethnic makeup of their communities they serve”; it should be a criminal offence to breach a domestic violence protection order; and the Home Office should sack chief police officers if their force fails to reduce the number of stop and searches.

The year-long inquiry, which also argues Britain should remain in the European court of human rights (ECHR) after Brexit, was advised by a five-strong panel, including three former Tory ministers, Maria Miller, Dominic Grieve and Caroline Spelman.

The authors argue that as Theresa May has repeatedly stated her commitment to social reform, it is important for her government to take a lead on such issues as Brexit approaches.

“Britain is the home of human rights and a global force for good,” said Ryan Shorthouse, the director of Bright Blue and one of the report’s two authors. “After Brexit, Britain should not just be a global leader in free trade, but in human rights, too.”

The recommendations cover general human rights and areas of discrimination including gender, race, sexuality and disability.

The report says the government should create a set of minimum requirements for access at railway stations and on board trains, including step-free access, staff at stations, audio announcements and visual display boards.

These should be written into future rail operator agreements, Bright Blue says, suggesting companies who failed to meet them could risk losing their franchises.

The report says all companies should be given an incentive to employ people with disabilities by the scrapping of employers national insurance contributions for such workers if they earn less than about £850 a week.

Shortly after she took power, May announced what she called an audit on how people from minority ethnic groups interact with public services, including the police, but it emerged last week this would be delayed until the autumn.

The Bright Blue report urges a series of measures to improve police relations with minority ethnic communities, including government-mandated “positive action in the recruitment of police officers”, overseen by a police diversity champion.

It wants ministers to give the Home Office powers to oblige police forces to show annual declines in the numbers of stop and search operations. “The Home Office should have the power to remove the relevant chief police officer if certain targets are not met,” the report says.

On gender issues, the author recommend a complete ban on the detention of pregnant women, the classification of misogyny-based offences as hate crimes and imposing “gender-blind recruitment procedures” on all civil service jobs.

It says staff should have the right to request flexible working as soon as they begin a job, instead of having to wait six months, and argues that expectant mothers should be given the right to paid leave for antenatal appointments.

On improving equality for LGBT people, the thinktank says all schools should have anonymous online systems to report bullying and the government should set up a new kitemark scheme for employers rating their work in LGBT rights.

A final section that covers championing human rights overseas recommends that, in a post-Brexit world, the Department for International Trade should ensure that any new trade deals include “obligations to improve human rights in the partner countries” where possible.

Such ideas should be key to government thinking in a future for the UK outside the European Union, the report says, noting that some of the Conservative scepticism towards human rights issues is down to “frustrations over the supremacy and interference” of the ECHR.

“Britain is the home of human rights. However, among a significant proportion of the population, human rights currently have a bad reputation, especially among Conservative voters,” the report says. “Nonetheless, human rights are and should be a vital part of the thinking of British conservatives, especially when authoritarianism is gaining in popularity across the western world.”

The Tory MP panel members, who, the report stresses, do not necessarily endorse every suggestion, said it was time for a serious discussion about such issues.

Grieve said: “At a time when we are moving towards Brexit, it is of particular importance that the UK should be at the forefront of promoting human rights, an area where we are seen to have already made a major contribution that has benefitted all humanity.”

Commenting on the gender equality element, Miller said recent workplace changes “have not always translated into improvements for British mums”.

She said: “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 antenatal 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 which better reflects this country’s laws, values and beliefs.”