Human Rights Act repeal would diminish UK reputation, says Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon

The UK government’s proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998 will “diminish the UK’s reputation”, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will tell an audience in Glasgow today.

The First Minister will share a platform with human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, at an audience of civic organisations at the Pearce Institute in Govan.

Ms Sturgeon will set out the Scottish government’s approach to human rights and is expected to say that “repealing the Human Rights Act is wholly unnecessary and addresses no obvious problem”.

The Conservatives pledged before the UK election in May to scrap the Human Rights Act and introduce a “British Bill of Rights” to replace it.

Ms Sturgeon will say: ”At the moment, none of us know how this Bill of Rights could work. In fact, the UK Government doesn’t seem to have any idea. That’s because their pledge has created a completely unnecessary dilemma.

“Nobody believes that the UK Government will strengthen existing human rights protections. But the UK Government must also know that any legislation which weakens human rights protections, will diminish the UK’s reputation overseas, damage relations with devolved governments, and impact on the welfare of people within the UK.

“Repealing the human rights act meets no pressing need, and addresses no obvious problem. There is instead a clear risk that it will create legal confusion; harm people in the UK who need support and protection; and give comfort to illiberal governments around the world. No responsible government should even be considering such a step.”

Last month, Ms Chakrabarti said Liberty would be “more vigilant and active” in Scotland and there would need to be a “hard-nosed political fight” in order to save the Human Rights Act.