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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-10768: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 15 August 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what the impact will be on the fundamental rights of people living in Scotland of the UK leaving the EU.

Answered by: Angela Constance 6 September 2017

The detailed fundamental rights impacts of Brexit remain difficult to quantify. Lack of clarity around UK Government intentions and the absence of substantive engagement with devolved interests continue to frustrate efforts to guard against potentially adverse human rights and equality consequences.

It is however clear that the UK’s exit from the EU will remove human rights protections in fields covered by EU law, in particular protections related to the general principles of EU law. This will adversely affect domestic human rights protection in the UK. The UK Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill expressly removes rights of action based on those general principles (paragraph 3 of schedule 1) and will not convert the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights into domestic law (clause 5(4)).

The overall effect of such changes, combined with the UK’s anticipated future isolation from progressive developments at the EU level, is likely to be the erosion of existing safeguards and the loss of opportunities to implement EU-equivalent standards.

The Scottish Government will continue to vigorously oppose all proposals which weaken or undermine human rights and equality in Scotland.