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Leaving the EU: Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Attorney General – in the House of Commons on 13th February 2020.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour, Swansea West

What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the UK's departure from the EU on (a) legal protections on human rights and (b) the rule of law.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Solicitor-General

The United Kingdom has a long tradition of ensuring that rights and liberties are protected domestically, fulfilling its international human rights obligations and upholding the rule of law. Leaving the European Union has not and will not change that.

Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour, Swansea West

The Solicitor General knows that our institutions of liberal democracy—the BBC, the judiciary and the civil service—are under attack. He is planning to water down the Human Rights Act. Will he give a solemn undertaking that we will not be withdrawing from the European convention on human rights, which was established 62 years ago, with the help of Winston Churchill, and nor will we withdraw from the Council of Europe?

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Solicitor-General

The UK is committed to human rights. The fact is that our EU exit does not change that; the UK will continue to champion human rights, at home and abroad—it is part of who we are as a people. We practised human rights before the 1998 Act and we will continue to do so. We are committed to upholding the rule of law. The UK is a beacon in this area around the world, and leaving the EU does not change that.