Lord Norton

Lord Knight mentions that it is a convention that the House of Lords does not reject delegated legislation.  As I pointed out in the House recently, when this issue, came up, it has been the usual practice of the House to agree to orders but it has not amounted to a convention.  As the Companion to the Standing Orders records, the House has only occasionally rejected secondary legislation, but as it goes on to record the House resolved (in 1994) ‘That this House affirms its unfettered freedom to vote on any subordinate legislation submitted for its consideration’.

Voting down an order is not, as some have claimed, a nuclear option.  It is open for the Government to come back with a new order.  Rejecting an order forces Government to review it and address any deficiencies.   Once the House established a Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee, it struck me as illogical not then to be willing to use our power to reject a statutory instrument if it was found to be defective and the Government itself did not withdraw it.

These comments, I should add, are concerned solely with the claim about conventions and are unrelated to the substance of what the House will be debating on Tuesday.   The fact that the House may reject an order does not necessarily mean that it should do so.

4 comments for “Conventions

  1. Carl.H
    12/12/2010 at 5:34 pm

    If it is established that the information I posted in Lord Knights blog regards Mr. Cable giving wrong/false information to the Commons is it likely to be rejected ?

  2. Edward Brunsdon
    12/12/2010 at 5:39 pm

    Lord Norton

    Couple of questions for you if I may…

    What would trigger a vote to reject the legislation, could any member do it, or would it need the Opposition whips to trigger it? I imagine these things usually go through with no division?

    If it does come to a vote, its interesting to note that this Government has lost a few votes in the Lords, and I imagine that alot of the Lib Dems are going to be loathe to be seen to vote for it.

    I would have thought that if the Labour whips do decide they would like to try to defeat the Government and prolong the Lib Dem embarrassment in the Commons, they must have a sporting chance of success ?

  3. Carl.H
    13/12/2010 at 8:18 am

    Threats used to get bill through Commons ?

    Mr.David Davis Conservative MP

    “All the Liberal Democrats are being cosseted while they decide whether to abstain or to vote against or vote for, while the Tories are being told, ‘right, you don’t vote for this, your career is over’, or ‘you vote for this, you have got to resign as a PPS (parliamentary private secretary)’.”

  4. Gareth Howell
    13/12/2010 at 8:51 am

    Rejecting delegated legislation would mean rejecting European delegated legislation. Secondary legislation does not mean “Regulations” from the departments then in that case, but is merely another way of saying European delegated legislation.

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