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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Does Brexit mean losing control?

I can still hear the mantra now, especially as those who have adopted it repeat it at every opportunity - Brexit they say means taking back control. Really?

Putting aside the rather large aberration wherein the Brexiteers tried to keep all the big decisions away from the democratically elected Parliament, at least one eminent law lord thinks that coming out of the EU will disempower Parliament, rather then empower it.

As the Guardian reports, Lord Judge is concerned that by the time Brexit is completed and the “great repeal bill” enacted, MPs and peers will have effectively given away their powers to pass laws:

Speaking at the Bingham Centre in London, the former judge said parliament was failing to scrutinise legislation in detail. The crossbench peer drew attention to the increasing reliance on secondary legislation and “Henry VIII powers” – laws allowing ministers to change primary legislation (government bills) using secondary legislation (orders that go through parliament with little or no scrutiny).

Brexit would test to destruction the way in which the Houses of Commons and Lords operate, Judge suggested. Although the number of bills passed has remained relatively steady at about 50 a year, their sections and schedules had become longer.

During the past few years, about 3,000 pages of primary legislation have been produced annually, as well as another 13,000 or so pages of delegated legislation.

The productivity was wonderful, Judge said, “but there is a deeper question. How much of this lawmaking, whether by primary or delegated legislation, has actually been read, let alone scrutinised, by how many of us in parliament in advance of the enactment coming into force?”

The government, he said, should be held to account for its actions and policies, as well as for the “laws it seeks to enact to implement its policies and legitimise its actions”.

Lord Judge believes that Brexit will produce a 'legislative tsunami' that could overwhelm MPs and Peers in unamendable secondary legislation. Given that the last time the Commons rejected a piece of secondary legislation was in 1979, whilst the Lords has rejected only six such instruments since 1968, he may well have a point.
Could this be our Governments 'executive order' idea that trump uses? in the sense that Congress can veto them.
Our system ,to me, seems to be Govnt gives the 'order' ( maybe not the correct word) but MPs do not have the time to question them so the order is carried out without scrutiny and then the consequences cause trouble when it become clear. Government by decree.
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