POLITICS

Human Rights Act Axing Shapes A Key Battle Between Nicola Sturgeon And David Cameron

12/05/2015 15:40 BST | Updated 26/05/2015 15:59 BST

The Scottish Government will oppose any attempt by the UK Government to scrap the Human Rights Act north of the border, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister criticised the Conservatives' plan to replace the legislation with a British Bill of Rights after new Scottish Secretary David Mundell insisted the move would apply to Scotland.

Speaking on a visit to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Sturgeon said: "I oppose the repeal of the Human Rights Act, I think it's an appalling thing to be doing.

"Human rights are there to protect all of us, for example it was the Human Rights Act that enabled people to go to court to object against the bedroom tax.

nicola sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon said it would be "appalling" for the Human Rights Act to be scrapped

"The idea that we take away human rights, I think, is just an awful suggestion, so the Scottish Government will oppose that and work hard to make sure that in Scotland people still get vital human-rights protection."

Earlier, Mundell, Scotland's only Conservative MP, told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "New legislation replaces existing legislation and therefore the new act will apply in Scotland.

"I think people in Scotland share the concerns that have been voiced across the United Kingdom - that we've got the balance wrong between rights and responsibilities.

"So, what the purpose of the act that we'll be bringing forward is, is to not only enshrine rights but also enshrine responsibilities."

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The First Minister also dismissed Mundell's assertion that the Smith Commission proposals for more powers for the Scottish Parliament were the "right package", describing them instead as merely a "starting point".

Mundell told the programme: "The Government believes that the Smith Commission package is the right package for Scotland, the right package to give the Scottish Parliament the powers that it needs to be an effective and powerful devolved parliament within the context of a United Kingdom."

He said he expected "vigorous and robust" debate on the proposals when they come before Parliament and any amendments are put forward.

"When you put down amendments in Parliament you don't always get those amendments passed, but what you do get is you get listened to for the points and issues that you raise," he said.

Sturgeon responded: "I look forward to meeting, hopefully very soon, with the Prime Minister to discuss how we build upon the Smith Commission proposals.

"There's now a growing acceptance that these proposals, while a good starting point, don't go far enough and we now need to look at how we build on them so the Scottish Parliament is empowered with control over employment law, business taxes, welfare - the powers we need to grow our economy, create jobs and lift people out of poverty."

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