Scotland Act 2016

Attorney General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Attorney-General

As the House would expect, I very regularly meet the Advocate General for Scotland, and my conversations with him cover a wide range of topics.

Photo of Margaret Ferrier Margaret Ferrier Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland Office)

Human rights are not conferred by the new Scotland Act because they are already devolved—they are not listed in schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998. Does the Attorney General accept that changing Scotland’s framework of human rights will require a legislative consent motion from the Scottish Parliament?

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Attorney-General

I am always amazed at the ingenuity of Scottish National party Members in asking the same question in a slightly different way every time we meet for parliamentary questions. As the hon. Lady knows, because she has previously heard the answer, the Human Rights Act 1998 is not a devolved matter but a reserved matter, and the whole United Kingdom Parliament will consider it when we bring forward proposals for change.

Photo of Richard Arkless Richard Arkless Scottish National Party, Dumfries and Galloway

I am genuinely mystified at our apparent ingenuity. Clearly, human rights are not listed in schedule 5. Schedule 5 is the exhaustive list of reservations, and human rights are not on it. What is the legal basis for the Attorney General’s assertion? Human rights are devolved to Scotland.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Attorney-General

Mr Speaker, I am not sure how many times I can get away with giving the same answer. The position is as I have set out: the Human Rights Act is a matter for the UK Parliament. I entirely understand SNP Members’ frustration at having to sit in a UK Parliament, but I am afraid that that was the decision of the Scottish people and they are going to have to live with it.