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May 04, 2006

Abolition of Parliament Bill

OK, so they’ve caved. The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill is to be amended. Ta Owen and Nosemonkey for pointing to it.

The actual amendments are here.(.pdf)

Now then, we could actually disappear up our own arses in a flurry of blogospheric self-congratulation. It was in fact a combination of Owen and myself who brought this to the attention of the wider world (specifically, the Times article by Danny Finkelstein that gained the traction was inspired by a short post here, pointing to something I’d done at the ASI and to Owen’s blog on the subject.).

Why not just be happy and go dance in the streets? Werl, you really think they’re going to change the Bill so as to deny themselves all that lovely power?

I’m terrible at reading legal documents so I’ll have to throw it open to others...have they actually addressed the problems, or is this just tinkering, allowing them to still do as they wish?

Unity?

May 4, 2006 in Law | Permalink

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Comments

Congratulations.
It is a really great feeling to believe that something you have said or done has actually slightly moved the direction the ship of state was travelling, & perhaps significantly changed things possibly years down the line.

Inevitably & quite properly it is a rare one.

Posted by: Neil Craig | May 4, 2006 5:38:54 PM

Congratulations.
It is a really great feeling to believe that something you have said or done has actually slightly moved the direction the ship of state was travelling, & perhaps significantly changed things possibly years down the line.

Inevitably & quite properly it is a rare one.

Posted by: Neil Craig | May 4, 2006 5:40:01 PM

Congratulations.
It is a really great feeling to believe that something you have said or done has actually slightly moved the direction the ship of state was travelling, & perhaps significantly changed things possibly years down the line.

Inevitably & quite properly it is a rare one.

Posted by: Neil Craig | May 4, 2006 5:40:56 PM

Junior Cabinet Minster Jim Murphy claims that he has been "listening", but the 10 pages of Amendments do not contain any clear Constitutional safeguards at all !

So where is the explcit prohibition on using the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act (when passed) to amend itself ?

The Amendments still have the power to amend or repeal any Act of Parliament or the any rule of Common Law.

Why won't Jim Murphy write in a Schedule of Exempted or Excepted "Constitutional" Acts of Parliament to which this "fast track" procedure cannot apply ? If he has good intentions, then such a Schedule (which was proposed by the Opposition during the Committee stage) would never hinder the alleged intent of simply reducing the burden of red-tape. The fact that he has again refused to do this, is highly suspicious.

There is still no requirement for any public consultation, only with cherry picked "stakeholders", whose opinions can be ignored.

All that has been changed is the issue of a "burden" according to a Minister e.g. if Appeal Court cases are too much of a financial "burden" and embarassment to the Government - then simply reduce the "burden" by abolishing or restricting Appeal Courts, by Order, through the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act.

There is no way that a greater role for Parliamentary Committees is an effective constitutional safeguard. They will still only be able to coonsider Orders on a "take it ot leave it" basis, with no chance of amendments, Any moderately complicated Order, containing mostly uncontoversial reforms, with one contoversial clause in it, will be rubber stamped ny a Committee, which will inevitably have a Government majority.

Is it just a coincidence that these Amendments have appeared when the Local Elections and the other Ministerial scandals etc. will dominate the news and media reports ?

Posted by: Watching Them, Watching Us | May 4, 2006 7:49:09 PM

Also, I expect our loyal (not the) opposition will, instead of opposing this whole farrago tooth and nail, add some more useless amendments and come to the same kind of pathetic compromise as in the ID fiasco.

Posted by: Umbongo | May 4, 2006 10:03:35 PM

My initial (skim-)reading of the amendments led me to think that they were bollocks (i.e., essentially meaningless). Two second-hand legal opinions later, I'm slightly less sure about that; the most optimistic view is that they are a step in the right direction, but further work is required. More when I've had a chance to read them properly, maybe.

Posted by: Chris Lightfoot | May 5, 2006 12:59:05 AM

At a glance, it looks like it might be a step forwards. I'm tempted to blog something about it later, but that is likely to reveal as much about my ignorance of the judicial treatment of Henry VIII clauses as it is about the potential pitfalls surrounding this bill.

Posted by: Marcin | May 5, 2006 9:54:32 AM

The best I've heard in favour of these amendments is that the courts would be more likely to interpret the amended Bill favourably (to us rather than to ministers). However, I still think that the amendments are bollocks; more in my comment on this Jenni Russell piece at the Guardian.

Posted by: Chris Lightfoot | May 5, 2006 1:12:43 PM