It was welcome to hear that the UK Government had postponed its dangerous, ill-conceived Bill of Rights Bill, which was an unwelcome attempt to deprive us all of the rights and freedoms that are the foundation of a modern, democratic society. It would also have undermined the Scottish Parliament and the devolution settlement. Therefore, I was concerned by comments at the weekend from the UK Secretary of State for Justice, who said that he remained committed to reforming the Human Rights Act 1998. I urge the UK Government to instead reverse its plans and focus on making rights real for everyone across the whole UK.
Will the minister outline what steps the Scottish Government is taking to ensure the protection of European Union, international and domestic human rights law in Scotland, as the right-wing UK Government, whether through the Bill of Rights Bill or its general approach to inequalities in the UK, continues to threaten them?
In contrast to the UK Government’s regressive approach, our priority is to strengthen the domestic legal protection and practical application of international human rights standards. We have already committed to introducing a new, landmark human rights bill during the current session of Parliament. We also remain committed to incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as far as possible within devolved competence and to aligning with European law in devolved areas where that is possible and appropriate. I continue to urge the UK Government to reaffirm its commitment to the European convention on human rights and the Human Rights Act 1998.