Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

You will notice that I now carry a link to www.saveparliament.org.uk on the left hand side of the page, as well as a link to the no2id campaign.

What is all this rubbish about saving parliament? Well it is a campaign to stop The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill from becomming The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act.

What the bill is for

Well according to some estimates extra regulation since 1997 is costing business some £40 billion a year according to some sources. If a regulation turns out to be a wrong un, surely we want rid of it?

What the bill allows

What the bill allows is for any act to be amended, replealed or replaced by a minister and in some cases by an official, except where it affects tax rates. It does allow for the creation of new criminal offences, but these are limited to ones with a sentence of less than 2 years (In a Crown court, less if the offence is to be tried in a magistrates court).

The original draft allowed for the act to be used to redraft it self, though that has now been restricted.


However, to give you an idea, a minister could make carrying ID cards compulsory by the back door, as a criminal offence with a sentence of 2 years.

As far as I can tell, it would also allow for the extension of a Parliament beyond 5 years. Truely scary stuff, particularly if you watched Spooks the other ni
ght.

There are in fact so many ways that ministers can change the law in dangerous ways with this bill, if it becomes law that I urge you to visit the saveparliament website and write to your MP. The blogosphere can if it wants to defeat this bill if we all act.



Why do we have this problem?

Well, because of the relentless pace of legislation in the last 9 years creating many acts that have given more power than they should have, and indeed given power which has been used in ways that Parliament never intended.



To give you an idea of how many laws have been passed, between 1945 and 1997 we had 3 Criminal justice acts passed. since we have had about 40, or a bit over 4 a year, creating about 3000 new criminal offences, or 333 new offences a year or about 2 offences for everyday Parliament has sat.

So if they realy did want to reduce the burden of legislation, stop passing so many laws and try reforming a few.

Has any one else done this sort of thing before?

Yes, there is a similar bill listed on wikipedia here called the enabling act.

You might be a Labour party supporter and might think I am being swivell eyed about this, because a Labour government would never do any thing bad. In short you may trust this Government. Will you trust the next one though?

3 comments:

Ellee said...

And what difference will Gordon Brown's plans for a written constitution make to this?

Benedict White said...

Interesting comment Ellee. I was talking to an Irish friend of mine about the bill before that announcement.

He looked at me as if the idea was made, and then said that is why we need a written constitution.

That said, how it affects this bill will depend on what is in the constitution.

Benedict White said...

Sorry, made should have been "mad"