Prime Minister wants to overrule judges and tear up human rights.
The SNP has warned that Boris Johnson’s government is mirroring the behaviour of “tin-pot dictators”, with their plans to throw out legal rulings they don’t like, and the intent to overhaul the Human Rights Act as well as their bid to push through the Voter ID Bill.
Reports reveal that the UK government is looking to bring in an “Interpretation Bill”, that would strike out any judicial review outcomes with which the government did not agree.
The plan comes after a series of clashes with judges – including the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue parliament, which was deemed unlawful by the courts.
This is on top of the Judicial Review Bill that the Tories are pushing through Parliament, which seeks to remove vital checks and balances on the UK government in its tracks.
The Justice Secretary Dominic Rabb has also made clear that he wants to tear up the current Human Rights Act, and the UK government’s Elections Bill – dubbed the “Trumpian Voter ID Bill” – is due its third reading.
If passed, this Bill would undermine democracy by giving the UK government control of who can and cannot participate in election campaigns, give power to Michael Gove over the electoral commission, and shut out marginalised communities from participating in elections.
Edward Garnier, who was solicitor general under David Cameron, has said that No. 10 should “have learnt the lesson of the prorogation battle, when the Supreme Court reminded the government that this is a country under the rule of law and not under a dictatorship.”
Commenting, the SNPs’ Shadow Justice Secretary, Anne McLaughlin MP said:
“I do not use the term lightly and I’m sorry I’m having to, but Boris Johnson is mirroring the actions of tin-pot dictators.
“It is clear that the rights of the people of Scotland and our democracy can now only be protected through independence.
“If the UK government wishes in any way to uphold democracy and the rule of law, it is vital that it stops both the Judicial Review Bill and the Elections Bill in their tracks, as well as any plan that would see the Human Rights Act ripped up or overhauled.
“It is ludicrous – and extremely concerning – that we have a Prime Minister who, when he doesn’t get his way, attempts to rewrite the rules.
“It’s the reaction of a child who throws their toys out of the pram but with more sinister and damaging consequences.
“And then we have a UK Justice Secretary who is actively and unapologetically working against upholding human rights.
“But unfortunately, in recent times, none of this is surprising based on the recent actions of Boris Johnson and his Tory government, who seem intent on disregarding the rule of law at every turn – including hosting Christmas parties at Downing Street whilst indoor mixing was banned for everyone else, handing out multimillion-pound contracts to friends and donors, unlawfully shutting down parliament, and ignoring lobbying rules.
“It is clear that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet think they are above the law – they are not.
“Scotland deserves better than this.”