Unnecessary’ Human Rights Act Review Must Not Undermine Holyrood

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today noted that the Scottish Government had not been consulted by Westminster in its announced plans to review the Human Rights Act following Brexit.

The UK Government announced earlier this week that it intended to review the 1998 Human Rights Act, which allows UK citizens to rely on the European Convention for Human Rights in domestic courts.

The lack of consultation with the Scottish Government was noted at First Ministers Questions in response to Ruth Maguire MSP.

Speaking in the Scottish parliament, the SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said: “It’s important that we are alive to this threat to human rights protections in Scotland and indeed of weakening citizens’ rights across the UK post-Brexit.

“Amnesty were quick to warn that “tearing up the Human Rights Act would be ‘a giant leap backwards.’ What discussion has the UK Government had with the Scottish Government regarding the review?”

The First Minister responded: “I’ve got very little information beyond what the UK Government announced. We were not consulted in advance, as far as I’m aware, and we have had no role in developing the remit of the panel.

“The Human Rights Act is one of the most important UK statutes ever to be enacted. It secures the rights and freedoms of every member of society and, of course, it has served Scotland and the whole UK extremely well for more than two decades.

“Critically, it’s also central to the devolution settlement. This review mustn’t become yet another exercise that undermines devolved powers. I don’t believe this review is necessary and I believe that the UK Government should focus on respecting and protecting human rights rather than seeking to undermine them.”

Providing further comment, the SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said: “Any threat to citizens rights in Scotland must be challenged robustly. “I share the concerns being raised that this unnecessary review of the Human Rights Act is an-other attempt from the Conservative government to undermine devolution and human rights protections in Scotland and across the UK.

“Today on Human Rights Day, hard won rights are more vital and more at risk across the world than ever. I echo the First Minister’s comments that the UK Government should be seeking to promote, protect and enhance human rights protections rather than water them down.”

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