The Rambler :: blog

Monday, March 20, 2006

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill 

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>>>>Heads up for all UK readers<<<

I learnt about this over the weekend, and it scared me. This is a Bill currently going through Parliament (it passed its second reading with nary a whisper; a third reading is to be scheduled) that would dramatically reduce parliamentary discussion over future laws, and give individual ministers the power to alter any law passed by Parliament. Taxation and crimes with a penalty greater than two years imprisonment are exempt, but everything else - from the recent smoking ban to the Acts of Parliament that define the House of Lords - could theoretically be altered, introduced, or abolished simply on the proposal of single ministers. The Bill is designed to reduce red tape to make life easier for business, but in a classic piece of hapless/sinister Labour authorship it has been written so sloppily as to all UK (apart from the exceptions already mentioned), including itself. The government insist that they won't use the new powers for any nefarious purposes - although they refuse to actually write such a clause into the bill - but even if you're one of the handful of people left who can still trust this government not to abuse its power, can you trust the next one, and the next one after that? With the regulatory burden of Parliamentary debate gone major changes to the law can be made without giving Parliament the opportunity to fully examine and debate them. To name some current examples, I know where we'd be on ID cards by now if this new Bill was in place, and trial by jury.

Please read some of the pieces linked below, and consider writing to your MP. This is too important to be ignored.

Newpaper comment pieces:

Daniel Finkelstein

Marcel Berlins

David Howarth MP

David Pannick, QC

Henry Porter

Philip Johnston

Campaign sites:

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Save Parliament

Murky.org, LRRB sub-category (many more blogs linked through here).

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