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Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Bill Sticker originally drew my attention to the dull-sounding Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill which our government are pushing forward as an act to cut down on 'red tape'.

The problem is thus:

1 Purpose
 (1)   A Minister of the Crown may by order make provision for either or both of the following
       purposes.

    (a)    reforming legislation;

    (b)    implementing recommendations of any one or more of the United Kingdom
           Law Commissions, with or without changes.

 (2)   An order under this section must be made in accordance with this Part.

 (3)   In this Part .legislation. means a provision of.
    (a)    any public general Act or local Act, or
    (b)    any Order in Council, order, rules, regulations, scheme, warrant,
           byelaw or other subordinate instrument made under a public general
           Act or local Act

The bill allows ministers to introduce new laws, and remove or amend existing ones, completely bypassing the existing parliamentary process. This includes the right to create new offenses allowing up to 2 years jail time. The provisions for checking the powers of the proposed bill are minimal, although the BBC are reporting that some ministers are pushing for increased safeguards, at least). In its current form the bill would allow for modification of itself, potentially removing these limitations.

I'm still finding it hard to accept that the extremely wide scope of this bill, and its "cutting down on red tape" spin is purely accidental.

The Telegraph has a great quote on the matter:

Clifford Chance, the world's largest law firm, points out that the Bill "usurps the power of Parliament". In a briefing to clients, it says the only red tape that the Bill would remove is "the red tape of Parliamentary scrutiny for primary legislation".

The bill is at least starting to get some attention from the Mainstream press, but I suggest you write to your MP expressing your concern about this dangerous, flawed, and overly broad piece of legislation.

Some further reading:

Update

I've sent the following to my MP, Julian Brazier:

Dear Mr Brazier, I feel compelled to write to you regarding the proposed "Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill", which as far as I can tell would arbitrarily allow the bypassing of parliament for introducing new laws and updating and removing existing legislation.

I'm concerned that it appears to grant a government minister the power to create new crimes with a sentence of up to two years, and appears to allow modification of itself, rendering the already inadequate safeguards against abuse largely irrelevant.

I'm curious as to what your position on this bill is, and would urge you to vote against it.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Charlton

Hopefully I'll recieve a response soon.

Update 2

I recieved a reply:

The very nice envelope it came in

The letter

Many thanks to Julian Brazier for getting back to me so quickly. I'm glad that there are MPs who are concerned about the bill.


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