Thursday, 17 November 2016

Strathcylde Review

BBC report - Plans to curb powers of House of Lords dropped.

Strathclyde Review

It all goes back to the "Tax Credits" which I posted about on 17th December 2015 - A brief note on the Strathclyde Review - a major constitutional change is proposed.

In a Statement to the House of Lords today (17th November) the government indicated that it was prepared to proceed on the basis of Option 3 in the Strathcylde Review but that there would not be primary legislation at this time.   The announcement was broadly welcomed by the House.

Some of the speeches suggested that the government in partnership with Parliament examine ways by which scrutiny of secondary legislation might be improved and there was a potentially useful suggestion that a power to amend be considered rather than the present "take it or leave it" approach.

Whilst secondary legislation
is a rather dull topic for many, it remains of huge importance in terms of law-making particularly when secondary legislation is being used more and more to introduce policy changes and there is also a likelihood that the need for adequate scrutiny will increase due to Brexit.

Option 3 in the Strathclyde report:

"A third option would be to provide the Lords with a new means for asking the House of Commons to think again with regards to secondary legislation. This option could make the ability of the House of Lords to deny approval to a draft SI (or, in some cases, the SI itself), or to resolve that an instrument should be annulled, better fit the recognised role of the House of Lords in relation to legislation as a revising chamber.  This could be achieved by allowing the Commons to override a vote by the House of Lords to reject an instrument.  This would bring the procedure for statutory instruments more into line with the existing rule for statutes under the Parliament  Acts 1911 & 1949 and the rule for the approval of international treaties under section 20 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010."

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