Abolition of Parliament Bill
The boring title of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill hides an astonishing proposal. It gives ministers power to alter any law passed by Parliament. The only limitations are that new crimes cannot be created if the penalty is greater than two years in prison and that it cannot increase taxation. But any other law can be changed, no matter how important. All ministers will have to do is propose an order, wait a few weeks and, voilà, the law is changed.
The Bill, bizarrely, even applies to itself, so that ministers could propose orders to remove the limitations about two-year sentences and taxation. It also includes a few desultory questions (along the lines of “am I satisfied that I am doing the right thing?”) that ministers have to ask themselves before proceeding, all drafted subjectively so that court challenges will fail, no matter how preposterous the minister’s answer. Even these questions can be removed using the Bill’s own procedure. Indeed, at its most extreme, in a manoeuvre akin to a legislative Indian rope trick, ministers could use it to transfer all legislative power permanently to themselves.
The writer credits "Daniel Finkelstein of The Times, and a couple more " as the only journalists to note this bill - Daniel Finkelstein was alerted to it by Tim Worstall so as British bloggers we are holding the standard and we need to keep the pressure on to continue the campaign against this monstrous grabbing of powers.
Of course we are reassured that: "The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures...The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one," - Whoops! no that was someone else on March 23, 1933 about another "Enabling Act" that removed power from the elected Parliament and handed to the Government Ministers