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Strengthening Human Rights

Volume 728: debated on Tuesday 21 February 2023

We introduced the Bill of Rights to this House, which will limit the abuse of human rights and restore some common sense. I have regular discussions with my colleagues, particularly the Foreign Secretary, on the work that we are doing to support the International Criminal Court and end impunity for war crimes in Ukraine.

In an article this morning, Lee Marsons of the Public Law Project sets out the significance of the European convention on human rights to LGBTQ people and the fact that the ECHR has allowed the expansion of human rights. Does the Secretary of State understand that human rights are for us all and that withdrawing from the ECHR is a specific threat to marginalised communities, whose hard-won rights should not be undermined?

I remind the hon. Lady that this Government introduced single-sex marriage—I did so proudly, along with my colleagues—and there is nothing in our reforms that would undo the important work we have achieved.

Given that the Joint Committee on Human Rights has said clearly that the UK Government should not pursue reform of the Human Rights Act 1998 without the consent of the devolved nations, will the Secretary of State promise right here, right now that he agrees with that and that his Government will not roll back or interfere with our human rights?

The hon. Lady will be shocked to know that I did not agree with all the contents of the JCHR report, but I refer to the statements we have made on how we have approached the devolved Administrations. I have personally been to all the nations of the United Kingdom to speak to not only politicians and Government officials, but academics and practitioners. We will continue that engagement and I am sure we will get the right thing for all people and all citizens of the UK.