Government considering how to keep the Charter, & new law planned on keeping pace with Europe

Blue EU flag with stars

The Scottish Parliament passed the Continuity Bill last year. However, the Supreme Court then judged that most of the Bill was outwith the Scottish Parliament’s remit – it was trying to legislate on things that should be dealt with by Westminster. MSPs had been entitled to prepare Scotland’s laws for Brexit at the time but the UK Government had retrospectively limited Holyrood’s options.

In a letter to the Presiding Officer, the Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell MSP confirmed that Scottish Ministers have ‘reluctantly’ decided not to move for reconsideration of the Continuity Bill.

Instead, the Scottish Government has now set out its alternative plans:

• Environmental governance
A consultation is ongoing on keeping the role of environmental principles in developing future Scottish environmental policy and legislation, and on how to keep good environmental governance in Scotland. The Scottish Government has committed to putting in place the legislative and institutional arrangements that are necessary.

• Charter of Fundamental Rights
The Bill would have retained the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Scottish Government will consider how to ‘enshrine respect for the important values reflected in the Charter in Scots law’ within the National Taskforce that will be set up on human rights leadership in Scotland later this year.

This commitment to consider what can be done comes in light of widespread support for keeping the Charter across Scottish civil society – see for example, the Scotland Declaration on Human Rights.

• Keeping pace with EU
The Government also intends to bring back the provisions on keeping pace with EU law in new legislation.



Image credit: Matti Mattila, Flickr