Call to enshrine Wales and Scotland’s ‘self-determination’ in UK Bill of Rights
A Plaid Cymru MP has called on Justice Secretary Dominic Raab to enshrine Wales and Scotland’s right to “self-determination” in a UK Bill of Rights.
The new bill of rights is part of a plan by the UK Government to override the power of Europe’s human rights court.
The abolition of the Human Rights Act, including reducing the influence of the European court of human rights, was introduced before parliament today in what the government described as a restatement of the UK’s sovereignty.
But Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts urged Dominic Raab in the House of Commons to enshrine the right for Wales and Scotland to decide their own futures in the bill.
She told the Commons: “When he announced his Bill of Rights last week, the Deputy Prime Minister said it will strengthen our UK tradition of freedom. Freedom. Shameless from the Government whose contempt for the rule of law and devolution can be judged in equal measure.
“They are scrapping Welsh law against our will, denying Scotland the right to choose their own future. That is not freedom. Will he prove me wrong by enshrining self-determination in his Bill of Rights?”
The Deputy Prime Minister replied: “I think we have all heard actually across the benches today the case for reinforcing free speech, whether it’s the judge-made privacy laws or some of the way people are shouted down when they express legitimate opinions.”
Dominic Raab said he thinks the people of Wales will want to join the rest of the UK in “making sure we can deport more foreign national offenders”.
“That is the reality for people in Wales and across the United Kingdom, and I think the Bill of Rights will be strengthening our tradition of freedom, but also curbing those abuses and making sure we inject a bit more common sense into the system,” he said.
‘Issue of conscience’
Dominic Raab had earlier said the legality of abortion in the UK is “settled” when he was asked to support an amendment on the issue to his proposed Bill of Rights.
Labour MP Rosie Duffield (Canterbury) said: “So far this year, 52 women have been killed in the UK. Our rights to free speech, safe spaces, fairness in sport and even the words we use to describe our own bodies are all under threat.
“Will the Deputy Prime Minister send a clear signal, as some of his Cabinet colleagues have done this week, that Britain respects the rights of women, and will he accept the cross-party amendment to his forthcoming Bill of Rights which enshrines a women’s right to choose in law?”
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said: “The position, as she knows, is settled in UK law in relation to abortion.
“It’s decided by honourable members across this House. It’s an issue of conscience. I don’t think there is a strong case for change.
“What I wouldn’t want to do is find ourselves, with the greatest of respect, in the US position where this is being litigated through the courts rather than settled as it is now settled by honourable members in this House.”
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