Thursday, April 13, 2006

Blair backs down over regulatory reform bill

Save Parliament

Today's Financial Times...

Sweeping ministerial powers in a proposed bill designed to cut red tape are to be curtailed following a row over their constitutionality, the minister responsible said on Wednesday.

Jim Murphy, the cabinet office minister, said the government would back down from the highly contentious plans to cut the bureaucracy burden on business and amend the proposed law, which has been dubbed a shortcut to dictatorship.
Mr Murphy told the Financial Times that the bill, which as currently framed would allow virtually any law to be introduced, amended or axed without full parliamentary scrutiny, will be amended. He said he would amend the legislative and regulatory reform bill “so that it can no longer be misconstrued as an attempt by government to take a wider constitutional power”.

Yes! Hurray for freedom and democracy!


Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

Its a positive development, but I'm not going to celebrate until I know exactly what the amendments Mr Murphy is going to make are. Justin has more on why we should be on our toes.

April 13, 2006 12:17 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hmm. I think I am being over-hopeful, but I also think any positive development should be praised as it gives us hope, which we rather need right now in these interesting times.

April 13, 2006 12:31 pm  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

Well I'm with you there :)

April 13, 2006 12:41 pm  
Anonymous Pete in Dunbar said...

I will be very (pleasantly) surprised if this does not turn out like every other episode of listening and amending of badly-thought-out illiberal legislation by Blair's government. That is, we will eventually, when they think the fuss has died away enough, be presented with exactly the same bill forced through by means of the bleating sheep on the Labour backbenches.

If they really meant this bill to do what they say it's for, it would explicitly forbid the creation of new laws and new offences.

Didn't Harold Wilson once suggest that for every new law passed by Parliament, an old law should be abolished? What an admirable thought. Perhaps two laws out for each new law, though.

April 13, 2006 8:16 pm  
Blogger Tony Ferguson said...

I wouldn't get too excited just yet. This initial back down is not enough. As Lib Dem David Heath has pointed out giving the power of veto to a select committee which will itself be packed with government back benchers is not sufficient. There needs to be something with some real teeth to prevent any abuse of this legislation. Even better just drop the whole bill. I have blogged a bit about this bill on my blog

April 17, 2006 12:07 am  

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