Charter of Fundamental Rights – Government Report

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:15 pm on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East 1:15 pm, 21st November 2017

That is an exceptionally important point. Our legal system is one of the finest in the world. It is a dynamic legal system and is not simply reliant on statute; it can relate to cases as they evolve. The charter of fundamental rights, which could equally be a charter within the UK law, according to this Bill, if it were transposed, could help to maintain that dynamism and the protection of rights to fill the gaps when those unforeseen circumstances arise. We do not know what issues our constituents will bring to us from one week to the next, but we may well have a constituent who has found that their rights have been deprived unfairly and who needs redress to protect them from the Government or others. In our surgeries and discussions, what will we say to our constituents in such circumstances? What will we say when they say, “But you had the opportunity to transpose and retain the protections under the charter of fundamental rights.”? Will we say “Oh, well, it was a very busy day. I didn’t really notice what was going on in the Chamber. There were lots of complex things going on to do with Brexit.”?

This really matters. I am delighted and proud that many Members from all parties in this House are voicing their concerns and are not prepared to see these rights just swept away on a ministerial say-so.