I HAVE seen more than enough of the UK’s so-called Bill of Rights, and it is now time for the UK Government to withdraw their consultation, leave the Human Rights Act in place unamended and halt this assault on the rights of those living in the UK.

There are serious concerns held by all opposition parties and by human rights organisations that the overhauling of the Human Rights Act will only restrict people’s access to justice and rights, and is based on very little evidence and some fundamentally flawed interpretations.

Major issues also exist around the level of scrutiny being afforded to this piece of legislation, as the UK Government continues to pursue its hostile environment policies, we must ensure that if the desire to amend our human rights law is pushed to the fore, then it is subjected to the proper scrutiny and backed by the strongest evidence.

This very consultation paper’s accessible version was published just days before the deadline, leaving anyone with accessibility issues a fraction of the time required to fully respond. This is indicative of the way the Justice Secretary has conducted this consultation – unreasonable haste is the direct road to error.

The National: National Extra Scottish politics newsletter banner The minister responsible for this piece of legislation, Dominic Raab, has long desired a “British Bill of Rights” and even wrote a book about it in 2009. Rather than look to enhance the rights that have arisen to protect minorities and discriminated against groups, the main focus was on a return to libertarian style rights of the individual which really means rights of those that can afford them.

The Government are intent on removing positive obligations. These are the obligations that require the police to properly investigate violent crimes and suspicious deaths. The obligations that impose a duty on the state to protect children from neglect and abuse and the obligations that ensure a duty of care for our armed forces. We probably don’t think about them because they’re just there, doing what they are meant to do, preventing us from having to raise a human rights claim by pre-emptively protecting us. But if these are stripped back, selectively applied and cost a fortune to challenge then any pretence of equality before the law is dead and buried.

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The UK Government has an agenda to implement their New Plan for Immigration and be seen to be “taking back control” of “our borders – I believe this is the crux of both the Bill of Rights and the Nationality and Borders Bill. But as we have seen so far, taking back control really means making second class citizens for anyone eligible for a foreign passport and allowing P&O to fire 800 British workers with no consultation whatsoever.

Independent Human Rights Act Review (IHRAR) published a 580-page report, but this work has been all but ignored and the basis of the new legislation is a book that bemoaned the rise of human rights and viewed them as an annoyance.

The change from a “Human Rights Act” to a “Bill of Rights” for UK citizens suggests that not all people will be treated equally under this new system. Dominic Raab claims it’s for “all UK Citizens” – and it will be, it will strip migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who arrive here legally or otherwise of their rights and rights to appeal.

The lurch to the right of an already right-wing party should set alarm bells ringing across the entire UK. There is currently no deadline on this consultation, but I have no doubt it will be expedited, and the Bill introduced with the next Queen’s Speech. This gives very little time to have the required public debate on how we want to portray ourselves to the world and how we want to enshrine hard-fought rights in law in this Brexit Britain.