Green Party of England and Wales
Tories and Lib Dems fail to fight for civil liberties
The Green Party today condemned the government's Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, and criticised the opposition parties in Parliament for failing to speak out effectively against it.
The Bill will effectively allow government ministers to amend, repeal or replace any legislation without consulting Parliament. It even allows ministers to create new offences with penalties of up to two years in prison, without having to submit to a Parliamentary vote. In the words of the Bill, 'A Minister of the Crown may by order make provision for ... amending, repealing or replacing any legislation ... in any way that an Act might'.
Keith Taylor, Principal Speaker for the Green Party, said: "Hardly anyone knows about this Bill, and yet its impact on our constitutional liberties will be immense. It has already been referred to by Cambridge Law Professor, John Spencer, as the 'abolition of Parliament' Bill, as it will give the Government the ability to completely bypass democratic scrutiny on most issues. At a time when we have seen increasing intrusion by the state, culminating in the approval of the ID cards Bill just last week, this Bill will remove the relevance of Parliament altogether."
According to Professor John Spencer, the Bill could be used to introduce house-arrest, give the police stronger powers of arrest and interrogation, set up new courts, and in effect re-write the rules on immigration, nationality, divorce, inheritance and the appointment of judges - all without democratic scrutiny.
Keith Taylor continued: "The lack of an outcry about this Bill beggars belief. Where are the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on this issue? Are they so occupied with fighting over the middle ground that they have stopped scrutinising the Government altogether? The Green Party will oppose this Bill in any way possible and continue to fight against the erosion of our civil liberties."