UK government determined to scrap human rights act

The UK Justice Secretary, Michael Gove says even if Scotland retains the Human Rights Act, England will scrap it.

A pledge to challenge the authority of the European Court by abolishing the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a “British” Bill of Rights, had been widely expected to be included in last week’s Queen’s Speech.

That did not happen in what seemed a last-minute U-turn. In reality, it seems the Conservative government just needs more time to iron out some details.

For example, Scotland has very firmly said that it will keep the European act. The Scottish government is on record as stating it would not give the legislative consent required to implement the change.

The Scottish National Party has said it will not seek another independence referendum, unless there is significant change; leaving Europe is one of those, and abolishing the Human Rights Act could be seen as a step in that direction.

The Conservative government is trying to implement changes seen as standing up to Europe.

But concessions like scrapping the Human Rights Act are damaging. Despite this the government seems determined and is trying to find solutions

Scotland could be allowed to retain the Human Rights Act even if Westminster sidelined the European Court in favour of an “English” Bill of Rights, according to new plans being considered by Michael Gove.

Justice Department sources say the Human Rights Act could be allowed to remain part of Scotland’s distinct legal system if an “English” – rather than a British – Bill of Rights were brought in.

The England-only solution would, according to some Justice Department advisers, also address the problems of Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement.

These are historic debates being had about the state of the Union; not only Europe’s but Britain’s as well.