In this short contribution Lord Bilimoria highlights the Government’s attempts to bypass Parliament, that the Lords does not challenge statutory instruments and asks who makes the decision whether something is appropriate. He further states the UK political system is a very delicate balance between Government, judiciary and the legislature which requires respect and protection hence the need for the amendment. He concludes it is not about Henry VIII powers or power for the Government but instead returning power to Parliament and the people.
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
25 April 2018
My Lords, I want to emphasise and back up what my noble friend Lord Lisvane has said. In essence, this “necessary” versus “appropriate” is about taking back control for Parliament. Since the referendum, we have seen the Government trying to bypass Parliament time and again. Starting with Article 50, Parliament was bypassed until that had to be taken to court. Going back to the Strathclyde review in 2015, we were told very clearly that it is a convention that this House does not challenge statutory instruments. So by agreeing to this “necessary” we are saying that they can be used but only if necessary.
The Government argue that they need the flexibility if it is appropriate to tidy things up. Who is taking the decision on whether something is appropriate? Today it is Theresa May as Prime Minister. Tomorrow it may be Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn. This is about the Government, the judiciary, the legislature and, without a written constitution, the very delicate balance that needs to be respected. We need to protect that, which is why we need this amendment; otherwise, we will keep hearing threats from Jacob Rees-Mogg saying that we are burning down this House. That is the wrong way to go. This is not about Henry VIII powers or the Government getting power; it is about power coming back to Parliament and actually giving power to the people.