Resistance grows to scrapping of Human Rights Act

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Resistance to Conservative plans to repeal the Human Rights Act continue to grow with the First Minister saying SNP MPs will join other opposition parties in an attempt to block the plans while shadow Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer has predicted that the House of Lords will throw them out.

Nicola Sturgeon said the plans, expected to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, lack legitimacy in Scotland where the Conservatives have a single seat.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The SNP’s priority is ending austerity, and the damage it does to people’s lives – the Tory government’s priority is ending human rights, and the opportunities for fairness they offer ordinary men and women.

“For example, it was the Human Rights Act that enabled people to go to court in this country to challenge the grossly unfair bedroom tax.

“To scrap the Human Rights Act would be an appallingly retrograde step.”

Alex Neil, the Scottish government’s secretary for social justice, communities and pensioners’ rights has written to Michael Gove, the new UK justice secretary in order “to reiterate the Scottish government’s opposition to the repeal of the Human Rights Act”.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scotland Bill would provide an “early test of the UK government’s good faith”on ceding further powers to the Scottish Parliament in keeping with “both the spirit and the letter of the Smith commission”.

Meanwhile, Lord Falconer told The Guardian that in the Lords, where the Conservatives lack a majority, peers could throw the measure out under the Salisbury convention.

In such an event the government would need to invoke the Parliament Acts to force the bill through.

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