Dominic Raab has pulled out of an appearance at parliamentary committee, a move branded “extremely disappointing” by MPs and peers.
The Justice Secretary had been due to appear before the Joint Committee on Human Rights next Wednesday, where politicians had been expected to grill Mr Raab on the proposed British Bill of Rights.
The controversial plan would see the successor to the Human Rights Act assert that British courts do not always need to follow case law from Strasbourg and that the Supreme Court in London is the ultimate decision-maker on human rights issues.
Members of the committee have written to Mr Raab to express their concerns about his decision to cancel his appearance.
It comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel pulled out of an appearance at the Commons Home Affairs Committee earlier this week.
Ms Patel cited “recent changes in Government” and to her ministerial team as well as “wider unprecedented changes” as the reasons why she was no longer able to attend the session.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights, which is made up of MPs and peers, said it was “crucial” that they were able to scrutinise the Bill of Rights Bill and urged Mr Raab to reconsider.
“We were extremely disappointed to hear yesterday that you will not be giving evidence to our committee next week, as previously arranged,” SNP MP Joanna Cherry, the acting chair of the committee, wrote to Mr Raab.
“Whilst we understand that there are pressures that come with holding the dual roles of Lord Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister, accountability to Parliament should take priority. This date has been in our diaries and yours for some time.
“It is not clear why, at such short notice, other matters should take priority.
“We therefore ask you to reconsider your decision not to attend on 20 July. We expect that if you do not attend then, you will commit to appearing before us during the week of 12 September instead.”