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Standing Committee Proceedings March 14, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.

The 7th and 8th sittings of Standing Committee A saw a depressingly familiar pattern followed in terms of the amendments pushed through. The strongly New Labour Jim Murphy MP added additional text to the European Communities Act 1972 (c. 68) Schedules. This will, assuming the passage of the Bill, state that secondary legislation under the ECA will be subject to the same lax scrutiny by parliament, and will be subject to the same annulment and resolution procedures as the other orders under the LRR Bill.

More notably, the provision suggested by David Heath and David Howarth relating to the protection of judicial appointments and tenure from interference under the LRR Bill was voted down under committee, leaving the judicial system increasingly vulnerable to political interference.

Other amendments that were 'not called' were that provisions:

may not affect, abrogate or modify any of the principles of natural justice

may not affect, abrogate or modify the law relating to the powers or composition of Parliament or the law governing elections

may not affect, abrogate or modify the powers or competences of the house of commons or the House of Lords

may not affect, abrogate or modify the law relating to the Church of England

Clearly, these are important constitutional safeguards around an Act that could potentially infringe on one or all of these areas, should ministers so wish. The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty is at threat, and is being attacked by gradual erosion of competence and increasing centralisation of executive power; these latest amendments at Committee do nothing to assuage those legitimate fears.

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