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UK Gov shouldn’t change Human Rights Act without Senedd ‘consent’, say MPs

12 Jul 2021 2 minutes Read
Westminster and the Senedd. Picture on the right by Richard Szwejkowski (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The UK Government should not change the Human Rights Act without the “consent” of the Senedd, according to a cross-party committee of MPs.

A report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said amending the Act could risk the UK’s constitutional settlement as well as the enforcement of human rights.

The Government’s Independent Review of the Human Rights Act said its positive impact should be “welcomed and protected”.

The report concluded that the UK Government should not pursue reform of the Act without the consent of the devolved parliaments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The committee’s deputy chair, Edinburgh South West SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC, told The National: “Now more than ever, against the background of the pandemic and the threats to rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly implicit in the UK Government’s current legislative programme, the human rights and protections afforded by the Human Rights Act are very important.”

The Human Rights Act incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights Act (ECHR) into UK law.

‘Essential’ 

MPs and peers on the committee said it was essential that any proposals to amend it take account of its unique role in the constitutional arrangements of the devolved nations.

Human rights cases are now heard first by judges in the UK’s domestic courts as a result of the Act. They are also heard sooner and actions is less prohibitively expensive.

Judges from the UK’s four nations are also able to take better account of the UK and national context of cases.

The report said it has resulted in an improvement in the enforcement and accessibility of human rights in the UK. The Act is also a central part of the devolution settlement.

The Independent Human Rights Act Review Panel was appointed in January 2021.

This was following the Tory manifesto commitment to “update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government”.

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Chris
Chris
17 days ago

Shouldn’t.
But will

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris

I think you are right. Very worrying isn’t it?

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
17 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Cameron swore to repeal the HRA so set Michael Gove the job of creating a “UK Bill Of Rights”. After two years Gove put forward a proposal for a basic outline. The constitutional lawyers took one look at the title, rejected it and told him to start again. They never got to Para 1. The difficulty with a state that has no written constitution is that every minor piece of legislation becomes part of that constitution and cutting out a major law changes everything including devolution, the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Good Friday Agreement and the EU Brexit TCA. I… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
17 days ago

Something working well for the people? Expect the Tories to scrap it as soon as they can.

Bruce
Bruce
17 days ago

I really don’t understand the attitude of people in the U.K. – this must be the only state in the world where a major political party campaigns for LESS human rights protections and a sizeable chunk of the electorate actually supports them. Perhaps a solution would for the English parliament to make the changes it wants to the Human Rights Act – but only apply these changes to England and leave Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with effective human rights legislation. Ultimately I blame Tony Blair for this. It’s true that he brought in the Human Rights Act but he… Read more »

Mark
Mark
17 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

It’s the English media that sells it as a good idea to the masses, until we get devolved broadcasting and more independent news outlets like NC nothing will change, the little englander attitude will be drip fed to all corners of the UK

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
17 days ago

It would be very interesting to get the opinion of a legal expert on this. Are there experts who read this page who could tell us please whether the Tories could change / scrap the HRA without the Senedd’s consent legally?

Last edited 17 days ago by Mr Williams
Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
16 days ago

Another nail in the Union’s coffin if Westminster changes or repeals the The Human Rights Act.

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