Swinson urges protection for devolution against new Whitehall powers


The authority of Parliament is set to diminish under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Jo Swinson MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, has today called for Scotland’s devolution settlement to be protected against powers being given to Ministers by the controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

The Bill, debated in the House of Lords today, has been labelled the ‘abolition of parliament’ Bill, with the original draft giving Government Ministers the ability to change Acts of Parliament with little or no debate.

Liberal Democrats tabled a number of amendments to protect the current constitutional arrangements, including the Scotland Act 1998, when the Bill was in the House of Commons, but due to time limitations set by the Government these amendments were not discussed. Similar amendments have been put before the House of Lords, with the aim of providing the Scotland Act with the same protection from repeal or amendments as the Human Rights Act, which will be excluded from the powers of the Bill.

Ms Swinson said:

“By excluding the Human Rights Act from the powers of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, the Government has conceded that the amendment of some Acts should be beyond the reach of the Bill. They must realise that the Scotland Act is another such case – Scotland’s devolution settlement must not be left vulnerable to Ministerial tampering by the government of the day.

“This Government has been characterised by a lack of respect for Parliament. The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill takes the undermining of our Parliamentary democracy to new depths.”


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