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LRRB Passed by Commons November 8, 2006

Posted by James in Politics.
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It looks like it’s all done. The House of Commons debated the Lords amendments for 2 hours last night, agreed to them, and passed the Bill. One new amendment was debated, aimed at making the Scotland Act explicitly exempt from the Bill, but it was defeated.You can see the Hansard record of the Commons debate here, and the note in the Lords records here.

So, it looks like that’s it, it’s all over. The Bill has passed, but it’s much better than it was. In the words of David Heath (LD) in the Commons last night:

“(David Howarth) described the Bill in its earlier stages as the abolition of Parliament Bill,but now it is not. It has been filleted, dissected, deconstructed and reconstructed. It is now a better Bill because … lame-brained arguments … have been abandoned by the Government. … At that time, it was a thoroughly bad Bill that did things that were way beyond its stated scope. Now, it has been brought back under control.”

As he points out, the Bill is vastly better than it was when it was first proposed, and we have you to thank for that. This Bill was not just fixed by MPs discussing in Parliament, it was fixed by you, the general public, applying pressure to your representatives, and raising the profile of this Bill so that it could not be ignored. You should all be very pleased that we got as much fixed as we did.

In the debate, John Redwood (Con) stated:

“The problem is that, throughout the process, Ministers have refused to give us examples of how the very real powers under clause 1 would be used. They still seem to have no idea what they wish to deregulate.”
This is sadly true. The government have never shown a real need for this Bill, so it remains unnecessary legislation. However, it is at least no longer the “Abolition of Parliament Bill”.

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Comments

1. jax - November 8, 2006

If we don’t need it I fail to see how having it passed in any form is a victory. It’s time we took a long hard look at so called democracy in this country – it shouldn’t rely on panicked email chains, blog warnings and stories in newspapers to protect us all.

2. felicity - November 8, 2006

What worries me is that “no really good amendments were tabled at the Third Reading.” I’m grateful to be warned of what’s happening and asked to take part in collective lobbying, but it looked like we’ve missed a beat if nothing was/could be done to ensure that our specific actions would/could produce specific, or even quantifiable, results.

I agree with Jax. Having it passed in any form isn’t a victory – we’ve had a successful skirmish but the fact remains that our civil liberties are being eroded little by little.

Thanks to those whose vigilance keeps us aware of it.

3. James - November 8, 2006

I agree with you both. This legislation is unnecessary, and therefore the very fact that it has passed is bad. However, it started life as an extremely dangerous Bill, and thanks to the efforts of all our members, it’s now much safer. It’s still not ideal (our remaining objections are detailed on the main site), but it’s a lot better now than when we started.
I also agree on the whole “panicked email chains” problem. We have contacts within both opposition parties, who we have used to get information over the course of this campaign. However, we have not been able to get them to reliably inform us of what is going on before it happens. A case in point was that we had no idea of the amendments that would be tabled at Lords report stage, and without something specific to say, it’s very difficult to get people to write in without being ignored.
One lesson we can learn from this campaign is that without full-time, well-connected people working on an issue, it’s almost impossible to know what is going on in Parliament before it happens. This is bad for democracy, and it’s something that needs to be addressed, either by Parliament itself, or through publicly-created tools like TheyWorkForYou and Public Whip.

4. Penrose Feast - November 8, 2006

As you pointed out in your post:
The government have never shown a real need for this Bill
But what it did show the public was that administrations that are prepared to create laws to make the technical process of administrating easier for themselves do us, parliament, democracy in general and government in particular, no favours at all.
This may be because the cabinet is packed with lawyers, people who have studied and applied the law, and who see government, and their function within it, in a legal context. However the original Bill, made for and by lawyers, to make the process of turning their ideas (whatever they might be) into reality by legal – though arguably un-democratic – means could have spelt disaster for wider society.
This Bill has been diffused to some extent: But everyone in society should be told what very nearly happened – so as to be vigilant against the other inevitable legal machinations that this, and future, government will try to sneak in under the political radar. It is a responsibility we should all share equally.

“Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only if first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.”
___Plato

5. Richard - November 9, 2006

Another sad day for Britain and it’s version od democracy (fascism?).

How much lower will this government go?

6. kath - November 11, 2006

We need to keep this site open. It’s drawn together people from a range of political viewpoints who are prepared to campaign together in the interests of liberty and democracy. There will be – there are already – further attacks by those in power.

http://freecommonwealth.blogspot.com/

7. Dave Gould - November 11, 2006

I shall be getting my MP to write to David Howarth to find out why he thinks it’s now “under control”.

It still looks like ANY amendments/revoking of our constitution can be make by secondary legislation with the small proviso that it has to be passed by a committee of hand-picked Labour MPs first.

The argument that constitutional changes eg abolishing elections can be blocked in a judicial review is dubious at best. And who is going to fund these judicial reviews?

8. corneilius - November 15, 2006

I agree with Dave Gould. The Bill still allows ministers to alter law, including this one, without fullest scrutiny …… not a good thing.

We have all seen what kinds of laws the US Govt. has brought into being, and we can be pretty sure that our Govt. is not far behind.

Given that both Governments are culpable parties to the on-going war-crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thus liable for indictment, in my eyes, before the International Criminal Court, whether or not they ratify it and as they are more
than unwilling to acknowledge the error of their ways, and more than likely interested in avoiding such indictments using whatever means necessary, we ought to be extremely careful and ever watchful of these people.

Already they are talking about criminalising those who offer ‘support to terrorism’ by virtue of criticism of Government or by virtue of what they alone decide is extremism – my political views would be to them extreme, insofar I want to see them tried in court for war crimes, and I extend that requirement to all in parliament, Commoner or Lord, who voted for the war and continued to support it.

Am I a supporter of terrorism? I know I am not, for that is why I want them tried.

Nonetheless, they will seek to criminalise those of us who continue strongly urge an indictment, who will expose their lies for what they are, or who propose radical solutions that threaten their interests.

They will not give up their positions easily, and we should never defer to them, for they do not deserve our deference. After all they are prepared to justify murdering hundreds of thousands of people in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’.

9. F.M. - November 16, 2006

I don’t think we should underestimate the threat to free speech and civil liberties inherent in so many aspects of this government’s thinking. I agree that they won’t give up their positions easily. Since the results of the US mid-terms became apparent it’s been frightening to watch the Republicans forming any alliance they can within the Democrats, desperate to stay on the inside, whatever it takes.

I agree with Kath; sites like this, representing reasoned debate, are going to be a powerful weapon in what will be a formidable struggle to preserve our freedoms. And a central obstacle we have to overcome is the belief that “it couldn’t happen here.”

10. HB - November 19, 2006

essential viewing this week:

HENRY PORTER “Suspect Nation”

Monday 20th Nov, More4, 9pm (rpt Wed 29th Nov 10pm)

http://www.channel4.com/more4/documentaries/doc-feature.jsp?id=107

“How is information being collected? Could new identity technology actually put at risk the very people it seeks to protect?

Since Tony Blair’s New Labour government came to power in 1997, the UK civil liberties landscape has changed dramatically. ASBOs were introduced by Section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and first used in 1999. The right to remain silent is no longer universal. Our right to privacy, free from interception of communications has been severely curtailed. The ability to travel without surveillance (or those details of our journeys being retained) has disappeared.

Indeed, as Henry Porter (the Observer journalist famous for his recent email clash with Tony Blair over the paring down of civil liberties) reveals in this unsettling film, our movements are being watched, and recorded, more than ever before.”

11. H.L. - November 24, 2006

I agree with F.M. This bill, in its original form, was merely the most blatant and obvious of this Governments attempts to undermine democracy. But the steady shift in power from Parliament to the Executive was even in 2003 sufficiently alarming for Mark Fisher MP and the All-Party Group “Parliament First” to publish a book entitled “Parliament’s Last Chance” for distribution to MPs and journalists. ( this book is available from Mark Fisher at HOC ).

This process quietly continues and will eventually achieve, by degrees, what this Bill proposed at one fell swoop. As citizens rights diminish and Police powers increase, the relationship between the Individual and State is being fundamentally transformed.

This society will become unrecognisable without an ‘Enabling Act’
and we should not make the mistake of awaiting another appearance.

More people need to acquire an overview of the ‘many aspects of this goverments thinking’ – and see the total transformation they actually represent. This phenomenon must be seen as a whole, and tackled
as such, if it is to be tackled at all.

Henry Porter did so in an excellent documentary “Suspect Nation” this week on More4, which is repeated at 10pm on 29th Nov and is available on Google Video and YouTube. Recommend it.

12. Magna Carta Plus News - November 24, 2006

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006

The Abolition of Parliament Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill was passed by Parliament back in October and is now the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006(LRR Act). The Save Parliament weblog has responded with a post suggesting that, whils…

13. Dave Gould - November 27, 2006

Guy Herbert, Secretary of the NO2ID campaign says that the chances of an English court overriding a Minister’s subjective notions of what their ‘amendment’ satisfies is slim.

He’s usually right. I’ll get my MP to write to David Howarth and see what his position on it is.

I don’t know if this board is being maintained any more, but as a moderator of the NO2ID forums, you are all welcome to use the thread below to discuss how to proceed. You will find a lot of like-minded people there:

http://forum.no2id.net/viewtopic.php?t=13631

14. Francis is » Sometimes there are partial victories - June 13, 2007

[...] had to set up a whole Save Parliament campaign to try and stop it. The Bill was still passed, but was much less dangerous partly because the Government rewrote it under public [...]


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