Commission strongly opposed to UK Government’s regressive Queen’s Speech proposals to replace the Human Rights Act

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has expressed its concerns about today’s Queen’s Speech announcement, delivered by Prince Charles, bringing forwards legislation to replace the Human Rights Act with a new Bill of Rights.

The Commission is strongly opposed to these deeply regressive proposals which it believes are based on false premises and a flawed consultation process.

Barbara Bolton, Head of Legal and Policy at the Scottish Human Rights Commission, will be giving evidence on the proposals to the UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights tomorrow (Wednesday 11th May). She says:

“We are clear in our view that the Human Rights Act works well as it stands, an opinion shared by others across UK and Scottish human rights organisations and civil society.

“The UK Government’s plan paints a negative picture of human rights as a hindrance, rather than essential protections against abuse of power that must be respected.

“It signals an intent to water down human rights protections, erect additional barriers to accessing justice and equivocate on compliance with decisions of the European Court of Human Rights involving the UK. Precisely how the Human Rights Act can be replaced without unsettling current devolution arrangements is also unclear.

“This plan ignores the findings of the UK Government’s own Independent Human Rights Act Review, which concluded there is no case for widespread reform.

“It is also vital that such a fundamental piece of legislation should not be introduced without direct, active participation of people whose rights will be most affected by any changes. In the absence of a truly participative process, the Commission considers the consultation exercise to be flawed.

“The Commission strongly urges the UK Government, MPs and Members of the Lords to respect the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and retain the Human Rights Act in its current form”.

For media enquiries please contact: or 07876 817978 or 07833 402289 

Notes to Editors 

  1. Read our joint response with four other leading Scottish human rights organisations to the UK Government’s initial proposals Scottish human rights organisations unite to reject “unnecessary, regressive and divisive” plans to replace Human Rights Act.
  1. Read the Commission’s full submission to the UK Government’s consultation on its proposals on our website.