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Message is clear: don’t scrap Human Rights Act

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Amnesty International poll finds only 3% of Scots say it should be the most important priority for the UK government.

There is little appetite in Scotland and the rest of the UK for the Human Rights Act to be scrapped, Amnesty International has declared.

Its poll found only 3% of Scots think it should be the UK government’s most important priority, with just over one in 10 people (11%) across the UK ranking repealing the act within their top three priorities.

“The UK government should abandon its ill-advised plans to repeal the Human Rights Act," Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty Scotland programme director, said.

The message from Scotland and people throughout Britain is clear; leave the Human Rights Act alone.

“There is overwhelming political and public support for the act in Scotland and we do not want to see any of our basic rights and protections removed or diluted by Westminster.”

The poll found almost half of adults surveyed throughout the UK (46%) would not want to remove any of the rights currently in the Human Rights Act from a new bill of rights, though 16% did say they supported not ruling out the death penalty.

“This poll clearly shows people across Britain have no appetite for Conservative proposals, and feel strongly that it shouldn’t be up to governments to pick and choose which rights we are entitled to,” McAuliffe continued.

“Our rights are universal and it took a long time for us to claim them – we must not allow politicians to take them away with the stroke of a pen.

“The UK government has said it wants to consult on its proposals to repeal the Human Rights Act and we have done the job for them with this poll. The message from Scotland and people throughout Britain is clear; leave the Human Rights Act alone.”

The lack of public desire to see changes in human rights protections in the UK appears to be in line with the UK government’s own research findings, despite its pledge of introducing a new British bill of rights.

At this year’s Conservative party conference, it was revealed that the party’s own election strategist Lynton Crosby had ruled the issue should be given low billing in the election campaign after their research found that just 16% of people identified human rights changes as a priority.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged that the Scottish Parliament would not give legislative consent for the Human Rights Act to be repealed and has confirmed that SNP MPs in Westminster will work with MPs from other parties in order to protect the act.