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June 30, 2006

Almost But Not Quite

Mary Anne Seighart:

The whole point of the HRA — or indeed any constitution or Bill of Rights — is that, from time to time it will conflict with legislation passed by politicians. That’s exactly what it’s there for: to protect the citizen against governments trying to wield overweening power.

Yup, absolutely.

If David Cameron’s proposed new Bill of Rights were adopted, the supremacy of Parliament would be much more strongly challenged. The Bill would be “entrenched” so that a future House of Commons alone could not change or repeal it.

Ooooh, falling at the last fence there. We don’t have any method of "entrenching" an Act or a Bill. It is the basic case that no Parliament may bind its successors. So we can have all sorts of "nope, no one can change this Act ever, never ever" language in a piece of law and it means nothing.

However, there is one way to at least tie the hands of successor Parliaments. Signing an International treaty. Which is exactly what the Boy Dave is suggesting we don’t do.  He’s going to pull out of the international treaty and try to have something that we can never, never ever, change, in Parliament alone.

Doesn’t compute really, does it?

(Quite apart from the fact that she seems to have missed a large chunk of the current British constitution. The Commons alone cannot change or repeal any law. Even spavinnity such as Statutory Instruments at least get the nod from the Lords as well, along with the signature of the Monarch.)

June 30, 2006 in Law | Permalink


Well, there are certain documents that Parliament can't really touch, such as Magna Carta and the Declaration of Right. These are contracts between the Monarch and the People. The Chartist movement wanted another such Charter. I'm not sure how you'd do it now, given the strength of Parliament, but theoretically it should be possible.

Posted by: Iain Murray | Jun 30, 2006 4:03:41 PM