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Bill of Rights deadline is extended

The Government has bowed to pressure to extend the deadline on the public consultation over the controversial Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.

Responses were due to be in by the end of this week, but an influx of calls from organisations to increase the timescale has been agreed to and the final date for submissions will now be March 31.

Earlier this month the Human Rights Commission claimed the proposals would undermine existing protections, raising concerns about the treatment of ethnic minorities or those with disabilities.

But it had already come in for criticism from unionist politicians for drawing up recommendations to put to the Government that were “outside its remit”.

In a written statement to Parliament, Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said: “The Government believes a Bill of Rights which has the support of the people of Northern Ireland could play an important role in underpinning the peace, prosperity and political progress.”

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