Nicola Sturgeon: Repealing the Human Rights Act threatens progress on LGBT rights

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has issued a warning over David Cameron’s plans to repeal the Human Rights Act.

David Cameron had pledged to “once and for all” repeal the Act last year and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, and is set to push ahead with the move after winning a majority in the election last week.

However, the plans to repeal the Human Rights Act – which is UK-wide legislation applying acriss England, Wales Scotland, and Northern Ireland – have been met with a frosty reception by the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon.

The Scottish National Party politician condemned the plans during First Minister’s Questions at the Scottish Parliament – highlighting the progress in LGBT rights that have come about due to the law.

MSP Clare Adamson asked: “Does [the First Minister] share my concerns that barriers to further progress in tackling discrimination against LGBTI individuals in our society might arise if the Conservative Westminster Government progresses its intention to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998?”

Nicola Sturgeon said: “That matters hugely to LGBTI people in Scotland, throughout the UK and beyond. Without the underpinning of fundamental rights that is provided by the European convention on human rights and legislation such as the Human Rights Act 1998, the immense progress on LGBTI rights that we have seen since the 1980s would undoubtedly have been more difficult.

“Although that progress has been achieved in Scotland, there are far too many countries around the world where LGBTI people continue to live in fear of their lives.

“It is hugely disappointing that the UK Government now appears to be intent on attacking human rights in the way that it has indicated. I say again, as I have said previously this week, that the Scottish Government will do everything in our power to ensure that vital human rights protections remain for people in Scotland.”

The First Minister is today holding talks with the PM, in order to seek a new settlement for Scotland – including further devolution of equality legislation.

She said: “We want to see devolution of powers over employment policy, including the minimum wage, welfare, business taxes, national insurance and equality policy.”

Some equality issues are already devolved matters – including same-sex marriage, tackling homophobic bullying, and sex and relationship education.