Carmichael: scrapping Human Rights Act could cause havoc

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael will today warn that Conservative plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) would “play havoc” with the constitution of the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland peace process.

Mr Carmichael was speaking ahead of a parliamentary debate on the future of the HRA which he will lead.

Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:

“The Human Rights Act is enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998 which set up the Scottish Parliament and also in the Good Friday Agreement which underpins the peace process in Northern Ireland.

“The Scottish Parliament has an obligation to act in accordance with the HRA. Human rights are hardwired into the workings of the Scottish Parliament.

“Similarly, the Northern Irish peace process was built on a foundation that included the HRA. To seek to interfere with that would be seen by many who entered into that process on the basis of the HRA being part of it as a breach of trust.

“Abolishing the HRA, therefore, leads us to two equally unpalatable situations. We either start to unpick the devolution settlements in Scotland and Northern Ireland or else we have different standards of human rights in different parts of the UK. Either way we are left with an inherently unstable constitutional settlement.

“It is apparent to me that no consideration has been given by the Government to the constitutional importance of the HRA. Yet again, in their rush to indulge the Europhobia of their backbenchers, they risk doing serious damage to our constitution.”

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