Devolved nations pledge to oppose 'regressive' repeal of the Human Rights Act
The first ministers of Scotland and Wales have issued a warning to the UK government about the consequences of voting to leave the European Union without the consent of all four nations.
Following their first face-to-face meetings in Edinburgh yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones used a joint statement to warn Cameron’s government:
“Any decision to leave the EU, taken against the wishes of the people of Wales or Scotland, would be unacceptable and steps must be taken to ensure this does not happen.”
Calling on David Cameron to work with Wales and Scotland on his EU reform programme, the leaders of the Welsh and Scottish administrations also called for 16 and 17-year-olds to be allowed to vote in the EU referendum, as they were in the Scottish independence vote.
The first ministers also used the meeting to criticise the UK government’s botched handling of its efforts to repeal the Human Rights Act. Declaring that the plan ‘sends out a message to the world that the UK is not a place that prioritises and respects international standards in human rights’, they continued:
“It is also clear that UK ministers have given absolutely no thought to the implications of such a move for devolved government in the UK, with human rights being embedded in the devolution settlements of Wales and Scotland and in the Good Friday Agreement.
“Both our governments are fundamentally opposed to this regressive move and will do everything we can to resist it.”
The declaration comes days after Ms Sturgeon used a speech in Brussels to warn of a ‘strong backlash’ if Scotland was forced to leave the European Union against its will.
And today, Germany’s former foreign minister warned David Cameron not to count on German support for his renegotiation strategy on the UK’s membership of the EU.
Speaking to the BBC, Joschka Fischer advised the prime minister that he should not lose himself in ‘wishful thinking’:
“Angela Merkel will do nothing which will endanger the basic principles of the common market, of the EU.
“And she has a much bigger problem to address – how to find a compromise in the currency union with Greece. That’s her priority number one now.”
Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.