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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”.

Lords Third Reading November 6, 2006

Posted by James in Politics.
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As you might be aware, last Thursday saw the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill debated in the Lords again. This time it was Third Reading, the last debate on the Bill in the Lords.

In the few days before the debate, the House of Lords fax machine had to work overtime as hundreds of Save Parliament supporters wrote in to try to get the Lords to make a couple of final amendments to the Bill. Unfortunately, no really good amendments were tabled at Third Reading, and there weren’t any divisons (votes), so we don’t know how many Lords even turned up. Still, thanks to everyone who took the time to write to a Lord!

While we didn’t manage to get what we wanted on the Lords Third Reading, Save Parliament supporters can feel proud of the fact that the Bill as it stands now is no longer the “Abolition of Parliament Bill”, but instead is only slightly worse than existing legislation. We still think that the Bill is unnecessary, and that adding yet more bad legislation to the statute book is not a good thing to do, but at least we won’t be seeing the back of Parliament just yet!

So, it goes back to the Commons now, where the Lords amendments will be accepted (or, less likely, rejected) before the Bill finally passes into law.