13. Sep, 2017

Text

"The UK government has reportedly come up with a plot to make sure Britain wakes up on 13 September in shackles.

Parliament will vote on Andrea Leadsom’s controversial motion to give the Conservatives a majority on all committees on 12 September. And according to The Huffington Post, government whips are trying to push the vote into the early hours through devious means. If the motion reaches the floor later, it’s likely that fewer MPs will be around to vote on it.

A day earlier, parliament granted so-called ‘Henry VIII powers’ to the government; allowing it to pass legislation without consulting parliament. Now, government whips are also trying hard to make sure that powerful parliamentary committees are a Conservative stronghold.

But a functioning democracy demands checks and balances on the sitting government. Without that, the government can do what it wants, when it wants. That’s what we call a dictatorship.

(...)

Committees have a parliamentary device at their disposal called statutory instruments. These allow ministers to quickly make changes to existing laws with parliament having little or no say in the matter. As The Canary previously reported, use of statutory instruments has skyrocketed under this government. And it’s used statutory instruments for “everything from swingeing welfare cuts to changes to our electoral system”.

In short, this change to the committee make-up would hand the governing party control over a powerful part of parliament’s operations. And seemingly, there are clandestine efforts underway to make sure it happens. It’s not, however, what should happen. Because in the UK’s democratic system, parliament is supposed to be sovereign.

But the government is trying to cheat parliament with these dirty tricks in order to get the power-grabbing vote through. So it’s pretty clear that Theresa May’s government doesn’t feel parliament’s power should be quite so absolute; especially not when it limits the government’s own".