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New Report Demands Ammendments April 25, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.
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The third report from the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (LRRB) was published today and included calls for significant ammendments to be made to the bill.

The report includes concerns over the Governments supposed  'back-down' last week and has echoed our own concerns about the Governments promised ammendments.

In particular, the report calls for an adequate Parliamentary veto outside of committee, limitations on which legislation can be altered using LRRB and limits on the penalties for implementations of Law Comission recommendations.

We welcome and support the reports conclusions which we hope the Government will take into account whilst they re-think the bill.

The full report is available on the PASC website

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Save Parliament Exceeds 3,000 Supporters April 24, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.
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As we await the Government's next move on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill our grass roots campaign has moved past the 3,000 supporter mark.

The bill has now made it's way onto national television and is recieving increasing media coverage, both nationally and locally. The efforts of our supporters have garnered increasing awareness and pushed us to this great milestone of which we should be very proud.

This news should also send a message to the Government – that they have to listen to the recommendations of the relevant committees and to the concerns of the Save Parliament Campaign – which they have so far branded as "hysterical" –  and make serious changes to the bill if they wish it to make it's way into law.

We’ve Won! Or Have We? April 22, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.
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Reports in the Financial Times and the Guardian suggest that the government is backing down on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. We have our reservations.

The recent reports are in response to a letter from Jim Murphy, the Minister responsible for the bill, to Andrew Miller, chairman of the Regulatory Reform Committee. In the letter Mr Murphy acknowledges that “concerns have ranged from government being able to use the power to abolish trial by jury to repealing the Magna Carta.”

We welcome Mr Murhpy’s “intention” to “remove any cause for concern that the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill could ever be used for anything other than achieving our better regulation objectives” but question what this will mean in practice, as no details of the proposed amendments have yet been declared. Is the Government fully determined to allay the concerns of ourselves and close to 3,000 supporters, now signed up to the Save Parliament campaign, after he branded them as “wild accusations.”

According to Mr Murphy, “some of the debate about this legislation has been quite hysterical.” Why he considers the debates to be ‘hysterical’ is baffling. Many of the arguments against the bill are derived from a letter to The Times from 6 Cambridge law professors in which they specifically warn that the bill would allow ministers to “curtail or abolish jury trial” and ““reform” Magna Carta," amongst others. The government has still not explained why the Bill needs to create so much more power than they suggested was sufficient in their consultation last year.

Mr Murphy failed to mention many of the other concerns about the bill including the ability to delegate powers to individuals. David Howarth, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, says the Government “needs to remove from the Bill the means to grant unlimited legislative power to one person,” a view which we share with great enthusiasm. The potential here for abuse is enormous, something the Government have so far failed to address.

The Government has instead promised to “give a statutory veto to the regulatory reform select committees in the Commons and Lords,” a ‘concession’ already promised over a month but which is simply not enough, as pointed out by David Heath, Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome, who stressed the need for the “safeguard of a genuine parliamentary veto that can be exercised by opposition parties to block fast-track procedures.”

The Government has made several promises with this bill but promises are not sufficient. This bill needs a full rethink and thorough amendments. Jonathan Djanogly, the Conservative Shadow Solicitor-General, said: “We do still need to see the detail of the amendments” and until we do we simply cannot trust that the Government truly has backed down over the bill.

It is a testimony to the uprising over this bill that the Government has now decided to take a step back and re-consider the reach of the bill. As David Howarth mentioned, "It is a disgrace that they had attempted to rush through the legislation in such a fashion."

Save Parliament will continue to campaign for amendments to be made, and to raise awareness of the Bill and its implications, until the Government has given firm commitments to limit the scope of the Bill. The campaign continues…

What can I do?

  • You can write to your MP, telling him/her you disapprove of the bill.
  • Tell your friends about the bill and this site.
  • Distribute leaflets around your school/college, place of work or even in your local town.


Save Parliament

Critics Force Climbdown on Bill for a ‘British Dictatorship’ April 14, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.
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Sam Coates writes in The Times,

The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, which the Government said would help to cut red tape, also provoked a grass-roots revolt when nearly 2,000 people signed up to a Save Parliament campaign.

Six Cambridge law professors said in a letter to The Times that the Bill would have made it possible for the Government, by delegated legislation, to do 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)

Although nice to get the mention, the article does use the past tense when talking about the bill which is still well and truly alive and until we know for sure what the reforms are, could still pose a great threat to democracy in Britain.

The timing of the article is slightly unfortunate. The figure Sam gave of "nearly 2,000" is now over 2,500 and still growing!

What can I do?

  • You can write to your MP, telling him/her you disapprove of the bill.
  • Tell your friends about the bill and this site.
  • Distribute leaflets around your school/college, place of work or even in your local town.


Save Parliament

Labour MPs Join Opposition Against the Bill April 5, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.
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Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport has become the first Labour MP to speak out against the "Abolition of Parliament Bill" saying, "we were misinformed" in a recent interview. The interview highlights how the Labour Government has tried to push this bill through under the guise of deregulation even deceiving it's own party.

This news comes as we learn that the much anticipated third reading will not come in the week beginning the 17th. The Government have pulled the bill and it won't seemingly be read until the week beginning the 24th. It looks as if we're winning!

It isn't over yet… what can you do?

  • You can write to your MP, telling him/her you disapprove of the bill.
  • Tell your friends about the bill and this site.
  • Distribute leaflets around your school/college, place of work or even in your local town.


Save Parliament

What is so wrong with our democracy that Labour wishes so ruthlessly to end it? April 5, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.
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A good question, posed by Simon Heffer in his Telegraph opinion piece today. In the article, which focus around Lords reform and the consequences of the current trend of legislation being put through by Labour, Simon calls on Labour backbenchers to ask themselves;

"do they really want to hand to Mr Blair and his friends the power to make laws that have the status of despotic fiats? Would they be happy for a Conservative administration, if we ever have one again, to legislate in this way? Would they be happy for the House of Lords to have an entirely ornamental function, whether or not its members are partially or wholly elected? Or do they trust a combination of their own loyalists and the Prime Minister himself to make laws that not only bypass the Lords, but can, if necessary, bypass the Commons, too?"

We'd like to know the answer, too.

Is your MP a Labour backbencher? If so, write to them now!

What else can I do?

  • Tell your friends about the bill and this site.
  • Distribute leaflets around your school/college, place of work or even in your local town.


Save Parliament

Second Save Parliament Bulletin April 4, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.
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And what a good one it was too! Just wanted to share the following resources the bulletin mentioned… good stuff!

There is a great set of articles in the March issue of The Politician. You can get a PDF download of the whole issue if you sign up on their website (for free). It's well worth a read!
http://www.thepolitician.org/

The Observer had a good leader article on Sunday, which called the Bill's safeguards "absurdly inadequate". I'd have to agree with them there!
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/constitution/comment/0,,1745054,00.html

Also, the LRRB is making ripples abroad as well. This is a piece on a news site in New Zealand, pointing out that if this kind of Bill gets through here, then countries with systems based on ours might go the same way. The writeup is about halfway down the page, in the "Abolition of Parliament" section.
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0603/S00254.htm

The mailing list is now up to around 1,200 subscribers from just 150 last week which is a great achievement and just shows how much interest the campaign is generating. If you haven't signed up yet, you should do.
What can I do?

  • You can write to your MP, telling him/her you disapprove of the bill.
  • Tell your friends about the bill and this site.
  • Distribute leaflets around your school/college, place of work or even in your local town.


Save Parliament

New Law Journal on the LRRB April 4, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.
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The New Law Journal has a piece on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, with comments from human rights organisation Liberty's campaign director, Gareth Crossman. The article highlights the simple fact that the bill, intended for deregulation, is far more wide-ranging than necessary – most likely due to it being the result of a consultation back in 2004 when Labour had a much greater majority in the Commons.

Crossman's opinion is that the bill will require "substantial ammendments" for it to pass into law. The article will bring the bill to the attention of many lawyers which is a great move for the campaign but it fails to point out the implications adequately, giving the example, "They could make careless driving punishable by up to 23 months in prison." This example does not effectively demonstrate the far-reaching power the bill gives to individual ministers.

What can I do?

  • You can write to your MP, telling him/her you disapprove of the bill.
  • Tell your friends about the bill and this site.
  • Distribute leaflets around your school/college, place of work or even in your local town.


Save Parliament