Minister raises ‘grave concerns’ over proposals to change Human Rights Act

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The Scottish equalities minister has reiterated her “grave concerns” over plans from the UK Government to change the Human Rights Act.

Christina McKelvie argued the Act’s safeguards are “an essential feature of a democratic society founded on the rule of law”.

Proposals to bring forward a Bill of Rights were confirmed in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday, after a pledge to reform human rights laws was included in the Tory manifesto in 2019.

The Government said the changes will strengthen “freedom of speech” and bring “proper balance” between the rights of individuals and effective politics.



These rights are also at the heart of the devolution settlement. Changes must not be made without the explicit consent of the Scottish Parliament

Christina McKelvie

But Ms McKelvie has denounced the move, and claimed the UK Government risks interfering with the devolution settlement.

Ms McKelvie said: “The Human Rights Act has successfully protected rights and freedoms across the whole of the UK for more than 20 years. We will continue to robustly oppose any attempt to replace it with a Bill of Rights.

“The safeguards provided by existing legislation protect every member of Scottish society. They are an essential feature of a democratic society founded on the rule of law.

“These rights are also at the heart of the devolution settlement. Changes must not be made without the explicit consent of the Scottish Parliament.

“At the same time, the Scottish Government is showing human rights leadership by protecting and enhancing our rights and freedoms. Future Scottish legislation will extend human rights safeguards even further.”

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