Charter of Fundamental Rights – Government Report

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 3:30 pm, 21st November 2017

Indeed I will. The hon. Lady has, in her usual clear and incisive way, anticipated something that I was going to come to in a minute. Perhaps I will deal with it now, before I come to my list. As she says, the protection of fundamental rights is absolutely central to the Good Friday agreement, and has its own section in that agreement. The fact that the Bill will take the charter out of retained law raises concerns in this respect. The Good Friday agreement requires at least an equivalent level of protection of human rights in Ireland and Northern Ireland. If the charter is taken out of domestic law, there will be no such equivalent protection of human rights in Ireland and Northern Ireland, because once the UK withdraws from the EU, Northern Ireland will no longer benefit from the charter’s protections. This could pose significant problems for the Good Friday agreement—[Interruption.] The Solicitor General is shaking his head—