Mar 14, 2006

More on the Legislative Reform Bill

Go here, an excellent blog dedicated to following the progress of and opposing the Bill.

A good set of questions to ask, which I will reprint here:

  1. Why does the Bill change the current procedures for the enactment into our law of EU legislation?
  2. What guarantees are there that the Bill could not be used to bring in the EU Constitution by the back door?
  3. If the Bill is just a simplifying measure for deregulation, why does it contain no requirement for any orders to actually reduce the amounts of red tape and regulation?
  4. Why does the Bill give the power to create new law, including new criminal offences, to the Law Commissions, which are unelected quangos appointed by Ministers?
  5. If the Law Commissions are supposed to be staffed by impartial technical experts, why are Ministers taking the power to amend the recommendations of the Law Commissions before they are fast-tracked into legislation?
  6. Why do protections in the Bill against new laws to permit forcible entry, search, seizure or compelling people to give evidence not apply to reforms recommended by the unelected Law Commissions appointed by Ministers?
  7. If the Bill allows Ministers to “amend, repeal or replace legislation in any way that an Act might”, does this not give them an unlimited power to ignore a democratic Parliament and legislate by decree?
  8. If the Bill is so sensible, why has Parliament used a different way of making laws for 700 years?
  9. If the Bill is meant to retain Parliament’s ability to scrutinise regulations and regulators, why does it not contain a provision for automatic sunset clauses in orders issued under the Bill?
  10. If the Bill gives Ministers powers to charge fees by decree, is that not a charter to bring in unlimited stealth taxes?
  11. As the Bill permits an order to be made by a Minister under the Bill provided its effect is “proportionate” to his “policy objective”, since when in our history as a democratic country has a Government Minister’s “policy objective” directly received the force of law?
  12. What guarantees are there that the Bill could not be used to bring in ID Cards by the back door?
  13. Why does the Bill give the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly a veto over Ministers’ power to change the law which it denies to English MPs?
You may want to send these to your MP. Fast. Because the second reading of the Bill is coming up and opposition in Parliament is looking thin.

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