Tuesday, 26 January 2016 21:02

SNP warn of 'constitutional crisis' if human rights act repealed

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 The Scottish National Party has warned that the impact of UK government plans to repeal the Human Rights Act against the wishes of the devolved administrations would be to provoke a constitutional crisis.

 Speaking in today’s House of Commons Justice Questions Joanna Cherry QC MP, the SNP spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs, highlighted comments by Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, who said following his visit to the UK last week that “the debate over the Human Rights Act in Westminster is not a true reflection of concerns outside England” and that there should be more consultation with the devolved governments over the repeal of the Act.

 As human rights are not reserved matters plans to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights would require the legislative consent of the Scottish Parliament, which would almost certainly be withheld, leading to a stand-off between the Tory government and devolved administrations.

Commenting, Joanna Cherry QC MP said;
 “Given the strong opposition of the Scottish Government and the concerns of the other devolved administrations about Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Act any attempt to repeal the act would be likely to provoke a constitutional crisis.

 “It is unthinkable that the Scottish Parliament would ever give the consent required to allow the Human Rights Act to be repealed given the deep commitment to human rights that exists across the parliament and Scottish civil society.

 “The UK government should listen to Nils Muizniek, the Council of Europe Commissioner on Human Rights, who has warned against regression on human rights protections in the UK and called for more consultation with the devolved administrations on these plans."


 SNP Westminster Press Office – 0207 219 0530

 Joanna Cherry QC MP’s intervention at Justice Questions can be found at: http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/563715bb-a8f2-41fe-9f36-642d670ed991?in=12:19:01

 Statement by Nils Muizniek can be found at: http://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/-/uk-forthcoming-reforms-to-human-rights-law-must-not-weaken-protection