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Human Rights Act 1998

Volume 620: debated on Tuesday 24 January 2017

14. What recent progress she has made on the Government’s plans to replace the Human Rights Act 1998. (908352)

We are committed to reforming our domestic human rights framework, and we will return to our proposals once we know the arrangements for our exit from the European Union.

In September, the Secretary of State said that she was expecting to meet the Scottish Justice Minister to discuss the repeal of the Human Rights Act in Scotland. How does she plan to guarantee that the proposed British Bill of Rights will not compromise the autonomy of the Scottish legal system?

The Secretary of State has offered some dates, and I hope it will be possible for the meeting to take place. There will be some time for that now, because, as I have said, we will return to our proposals once we know the arrangements for exit from the EU.

It is of course right that our manifesto commitment to replace the Human Rights Act remains on the Government’s agenda, but does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that leaving the European Union and freeing the United Kingdom from the bonds of the charter of fundamental rights must be their top priority?

I do agree with that. I think it important for us to sort out the EU side of matters, and the exit from the EU, before we return to that subject.

20. In Scotland there is strong cross-party support for the European convention on human rights and the Human Rights Act, both in Parliament and throughout civil society. Does the Minister agree that any attempt to repeal existing rights will be likely to provoke a constitutional crisis? (908359)

I do not accept that the sort of changes we are proposing to consider once the situation is known about our exit from the EU would be a crisis-making combination. This country has always had a proud respect for human rights; it long predates the Human Rights Act, and I think we can all agree on that.