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Now I know what I am about to tell you is difficult to believe (Why isn’t this on the front pages? Where’s the big political row?) but I promise you that it is true. The extraordinary Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently before the House, gives ministers power to amend, repeal or replace any legislation simply by making an order and without having to bring a Bill before Parliament. The House of Lords Constitution Committee says the Bill is “of first-class constitutional significance” and fears that it could “markedly alter the respective and long standing roles of minister and Parliament in the legislative process”.
Ministers must not be allowed to abuse proposed laws aimed at cutting red tape, a Commons committee has said.
It wants extra safeguards drafted into the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, due to be debated on Thursday.
The bill aims to speed up the process by which redundant laws are changed and allows them to be amended on ministers' orders, without parliamentary scrutiny.......
The Commons Regulatory Reform Committee.....
.....is pressing for the power to monitor all laws amended by ministers, so it can veto any it decides need further parliamentary intervention.
The committee also wants certain laws protected from the changes.
Andrew Miller, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, said: "This bill must be scrutinised with particular care.
"Our report recognises that there is widespread support for removing redundant regulation and costly red tape.
"But the problem many people will have with part one of this bill, as drafted, is that it provides ministers with a wide and general power that could be used to repeal amend or replace almost any primary legislation.
The Bill subjects this drastic power to limits, but these are few and weak. If enacted as it stands, we believe the Bill would make it possible for the Government, by delegated legislation, to do (inter alia) the following:
# create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred, punishable with two years’ imprisonment;
# curtail or abolish jury trial;
# permit the Home Secretary to place citizens under house arrest;
# allow the Prime Minister to sack judges;
# rewrite the law on nationality and immigration;
# “reform” Magna Carta (or what remains of it).
It would, in short, create a major shift of power within the state, which in other countries would require an amendment to the constitution; and one in which the winner would be the executive, and the loser Parliament.
Blair backs down over regulatory reform bill
By Jean Eaglesham,Chief Political Correspondent
Published: April 13 2006 03:00 | Last updated: April 13 2006 03:00
Sweeping ministerial powers in a proposed bill designed to cut red tape are to be curtailed following a row over their constitutionality, the minister responsible said yesterday.
Jim Murphy, the cabinet office minister, said the government would back down from the highly contentious plans to cut the bureaucracy burden on business and amend the proposed law, which has been dubbed a shortcut to dictatorship.
Originally posted by Liberal1984
guess what: Last I heard it was only parliamentary review panel who would be safeguarding it. Ok so a few more power hungry MP's get to safeguard democracy without putting it to greater parliamentary vote. That's just great!!!
I wonder when Tony Blair and his friend Ian Blair will have them locked for 90 days without charge, trial or discharge? (All in the interests of national security; and eliminating bureaucracy of course).
Also sminkeypinkey if you think parliament "does what it was always going to do" you may be right but it does raise questions about us all being here and the already stale state of democracy don't you think?
Also Sminkeypinkey I found this politics.guardian.co.uk... Guardian bill about Blair backing down as your Financial Times one was incomplete to non-subscribers. But apart from what I read in the Sun I can’t find anymore details about HOW they have backed down. Can you?
England is on the road to dictatorship
we need a constitution and a new Bill of rights.
We need legislation protective of freedom that cannot be undone by parliament without also a popular referendum.
Democracy is under a sustained attack and each time they get braver they take a little more of our freedom with legislation that gets a little bit creepier