Brexit Bill: Lords have stood up for reason, rights and democracy

‘Whether you voted in or out, there is no need for Brexit to mean losing out on rights’ – Kate Allen

Welcoming the amendments passed in the House of Lords to the Government’s flagship Brexit legislation which ensure key human rights are retained in domestic law, Kate Allen, Amnesty International’s UK Director, said:

“The Lords have stood up for reason, rights and democracy.

“These sensible limits do nothing more than hold the Government to their word about continuity of rights after Brexit.

“MPs now need to reflect on concerns raised by their colleagues in the Lords and ensure Brexit isn’t used as a Trojan horse for stripping people of their fundamental rights. Whether you voted in or out, there is no need for Brexit to mean losing out on rights.”

Last week, Amnesty urged peers to pass the amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, releasing new YouGov polling which showed widespread public concern over rights being reduced after Brexit.

Three quarters (75%) of those who expressed a view said they’d be concerned to be left with fewer rights and more than half of Leave voters (57%) said they too would be concerned to have fewer rights and protections after Brexit.

EU Withdrawal Bill concerns

The Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill includes a number of proposed changes to rights and protections for people in the UK after 29 March 2019, the current date for withdrawal.

Of all the legislation carried across from the EU after the UK leaves, fundamental human rights protections are the only element not being brought across wholesale. In particular Amnesty has criticised the Bill’s failure to retain the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in domestic law, weakening the protections currently available to people in the UK. Amnesty has also pointed out that the Bill fails to retain people’s ability to bring a case founded on the EU “general principles”, which include protections such as the right to equality. In addition, Amnesty has raised concerns about how the Bill hands sweeping powers to Ministers to widely alter legislation without appropriate parliamentary scrutiny, warning that such powers place current rights and equality laws at risk in the future.

View latest press releases