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Government Publishes Ammendments to Abolition of Parliament May 4, 2006

Posted by bill111 in Politics.

The Government has today published it's proposed amendments to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. Oliver Heald, speaking on Radio 4's Today programme said the amendments are "a major climbdown" but that there are "other issues with the bill" though the "central issue of this order-making power has now been resolved". Simon Hughes specifically said that "part 1 should go."

The amendments are available to download in PDF format here and the Cabinet Office press release from here. You can listen to the Today programme again on the BBC Radio 4 website.



1. Francis Irving - May 4, 2006

You can hear the Today programme piece here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today3_reform_20060504.ram

It’s also interesting to note that the amendments haven’t been officially published on a website yet – the link above is a copy we got from the Cabinet Office this morning.

2. Julian Todd - May 4, 2006

These amendments are so shambolic, why don’t they just print the new version of the Bill and admit that what we would now have has not gone through the Second Reading or the Committee Stage?

I always said this was a big business bill, not a civil liberties issue, from what I had read about it from Gordon Brown.

Its purpose is now explicitly to unilaterally strike out health&safety and environmental legislation that gets in the way of Profits. There is no counter-balance whatsoever to this primary purpose.

I believe that they originally hid this legislative intent inside the wider and more loosely defined powers in the hope that no one will notice. Now they will have to answer unavoidable questions, like what pollution regulation do you want to get rid of? Anti-pollution regulation is very popular, which is why we have it, and why they think the only way to get rid of this obstruction to profits is by executive privilege — ie the whim of some busy minister who believes that the Buncefield oil fire was just an accident and doesn’t see why the oil companies should pay.

3. Dave Gould - May 4, 2006
4. Adam - May 4, 2006

Well, I don’t know much about law but it seems that the ammendments are very imprecise. Take this, for instance:

“(a) regulatory activities should be carried out in a way which is transparent,
accountable, proportionate and consistent;”

Consistent? Consistent with what? Magna carta is quite inconsistent with the terroism laws; should magna carta then be abolished? Action IS NEEEDED – the evil terroists will all blow us up otherwise.

Also, all these editing/transfering/abolishing/adding “functions” of persons makes me suspicious that it could be interpreted that MP’s have a function and so can also have that edited/transferred/abolished/added.

I wonder if:

” (e) provision abolishing a body or office established by or under an enactment,
and provision made by amending or repealing any enactment.”

Actually is equivalant to ‘provision made by amending or repealing any enactment” and a-d could be deleted, with no difference whatsoever.

Now, going to the law comission part:

“(2) That purpose is the implementation of recommendations of any one or more of the
United Kingdom Law Commissions, with or without changes.”

Hmm, bad enough that they can implement recommendations of unelected bodies such as law comission, but ..wait.. lets have a look, oooh – “with or without changes”… would that mean then that they could, say, replace a recommendation with whatever they want?

“Page 2, line 32 [Clause 3], leave out from `make’ to end of line 35 and insert
`provision under section (Power to remove or reduce burdens)(1), (Power to promote
regulatory principles)(1) or (Power to implement Law Commission recommendations)(1)'”

That means it reads:

‘A Minister may not provision under section (Power to remove or reduce burdens)(1), (Power to promote regulatory principles)(1) or (Power to implement Law Commission recommendations)(1)’

In fairness, that is proboably an innocent mistake. Still, makes no difference to the fact that it means that a minister may do things provided they aren’t reducing or removing burdens, promoting good regulatory principles or implementating what law comissions say.

” Page 4, line 9 [Clause 6], leave out from `under’ to `creating’ and insert `this Part making provision’
Mr Jim Murphy
Page 4, line 15 [Clause 6], leave out from `under’ to `creating’ and insert `this Part
making provision’

Ambigous, there are multiple unders on each line.

In super affirmative resolution procedured, seems to be a loophole allowing for destruction of debate if revised draft order is issued.

(Note: In original bill, so not ammendments, but removing ambiguity seems to be so losely defined as to allow anything)

“Page 18, line 33 [Clause 31], leave out `section 1′ and insert `section (Power to
remove or reduce burdens) or (Power to promote regulatory”

Ambiguity; multiple section 1’s.

5. Watching Them, Watching Us - May 12, 2006

If the definition of a “burden” is entirely left to the opinion of Ministers or bureaucrats, then what exactly is the difference betwen the previous version and these amendments ?

The Bill stil applies to any Act of Parliament or any rule of Common Law.

There is stil no list or schedule of exempted constitutional Acts.

The Bill still has nothing written in it to prevent the legislation from being used to modify itself.

The amendments do not change the utterly inadequate clauses on public consultation, which allow a Minister to cherry pick which stakeholder organisations, and even which individuals within those organisations whith whom he might consult with, and then to ignore the consultation if he wants to.

The role of Parliamentary Committees is no safeguard at all, given that they sstill havv eno power to amend any proposed Orders, only to veto them or to rubber stamp them , and they will invariably have a Government majority on the Committee. Even an Opposition dominated Committee could be manipulate dinto passing complicated Orders or Regulations, where one or two contentious items are hidden within a mass of useful or non-contoversial reforms.

Surely the Opposition parties have not been fooled by these amendments ?

6. Watching Them, Watching Us - May 12, 2006

There is a small concession that Hilary Armstrong has put foreward in the second set of Government amendments

” Excepted enactments

Hilary Armstrong


To move the following Clause:—

‘An order under this Part may not make provision amending or repealing any provision of—

(a) this Part; or

(b) the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42).’.

Note that the wording of this clause refers to this “Part” i.e. only to “Part 1 Power to reform legislation etc.” of the Bill, and does not prevent this proposed legislation from being used to self modify the other Parts:

* Part 2 Regulators
* Part 3 Legislation relating to the European Communities etc.
* Part 4 Supplementary and General

The legislation still has the power to amend or repeal any other Acts apart from the Human Rights Act.

7. Adam - May 13, 2006

…and, if I remember correctly, the Human Rights Act has so many exemptions on the basis of national security it is useless as a protector anyway…

8. Chicken Yoghurt » L.a.R.R.B. Latest: The fat lady warms up - May 14, 2006

[…] There’s also the business regulation aspect to consider which hasn’t had the scrutiny that the constitutional ramifications have (justifiably) enjoyed. As a comment on this post on the Save Parliament blog points out: I always said this was a big business bill, not a civil liberties issue, from what I had read about it from Gordon Brown. […]

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