Use of the Parliament Act

Lord Norton

In the latest issue of The House, Paul Waugh and Daniel Bond interview William Hague.  On the Private Member’s Bill on an EU referendum, introduced last session by James Wharton and introduced in this session by Bob Neill, they ask the Leader of the House of Commons whether the Prime Minister would be ready to use the Parliament Act, if necessary.  William Hague replies: ‘Yes, but we have to get it to that position’.  The answer should more correctly have been ‘That’s not how it works’.

It may be that because the provisions of the Parliament Act have been so rarely employed to enact a measure – only four times since the Parliament Act 1949 – few people understand how it works. There appears to be an assumption that if the House of Lords rejects a Bill a second time, then it is up to the Prime Minister whether or not to invoke the Parliament Act.  The Prime Minister does not have a role in the process.  If the House of Lords rejects, or fails to pass, a non-money Bill that was passed in identical form in the previous session by the House of Commons, and that Bill was sent up to the Lords at least one month before the end of the session (and a year has elapsed between the Second Reading in the Commons in the first session and being passed by the House in the second), then the Bill is enacted under the provisions of the Act.  It is the Speaker who certifies that the conditions of the Parliament Act have been met.

The Prime Minister may play a role in deciding whether or not a Bill rejected by the Lords is introduced in the next session, and he could ask the Commons to instruct that a Bill not be presented for Royal Assent once it fulfils the conditions of the Parliament Act.  Under the Act, a Bill rejected twice by the Lords is presented for Royal Assent ‘unless the House of Commons direct to the contrary’.  However, that is not the same thing as giving the Prime Minister a direct role in the process.  Formally, the power rests with the House, not the PM.  In essence, once a Bill is introduced a second time, and not passed by the Lords, the process is automatic.

7 comments for “Use of the Parliament Act

  1. Deborah Daniels
    30/09/2014 at 6:35 pm

    While not doubting the knowledge and expertise the fact is the ultimate authority in the land is the will of the people and the House of Lords has no mandate to represent the people. It should be abolished forthwith

    • MilesJSD
      02/10/2014 at 11:52 am

      Ultimately then
      (and ‘sooner’ rather than ‘later’ {maybe after the next 100 yrs Referendum}
      we should have at least an innovative
      “Peoples’ House”

      elected and staffed upon a
      “{(One human living per person – £145per week) + (Costs)} Peoples-Service basis

      where any individual can legislatively stand up for their own vital need
      or have it verbatim read-out
      [and Hansard-recorded and published]
      by judiciously-disinterested proxy
      ( I mean, some 16 even 10 year olds could impartially read out such a statement-of-need, and do so far less costly and probably far better,
      and more tellingly-succinctly,
      than our MPs can be trusted to faithfully carry through Advocacy of them?).
      ——————
      {You? maybe We All}
      should be much more
      “doubting the knowledge and expertise [of the House of Lords]”
      – at least of its “up-to-date-nesses” in boith Knowledge and Practical-Know-How – ;

      and surely you have it wrong that “the ultimate authority in the land is the will of the people” –
      whilst the longstanding de facto, and constitutionally well-hidden, Factor is that a Super-Rich-Oligarchy, more powerful even than The Establishment, wields both the initial and the ultimate ‘authority’, over all Powers and thereby over all of The Land and The People too.

      Minorly perhaps, Deborah, constitutionally the final Protector of The People is supposed to be The Monarch,
      immediately supported not so much by the “Lower” House as by the “Upper”.

      To abolish even the existingly laggardly “Upper” House
      (and mark you, please, that it may well be not half as corrupt and knowledge-knowhow laggardly in its fair-governance abilities as the “Other Place” is increasingly still sliding down into)
      would be like “burning your only bridge behind you”

      maybe Upper-House-Abolition would be worse even than
      shooting your best pack of St Bernards and Guarddogs
      simply because
      “The SAS, SWAT, Police, NHS, Army, and Neighbourhood Watch
      all do a quicker and better job”
      “especially now that they’re backed-up by real experts such as Royal and Princely/Princessly Olympic Jumping-Horse Riders and Combat Helicopter Pilots” ..

      (… i give way … )

  2. MilesJSD
    01/10/2014 at 10:46 am

    Why does Parliament still deny the Public’s needs by disguising much legislation as “Private” – belonging to the “Private Member” –

    Parliaments
    and indeed the whole of the Upper Establishment
    are surely there, protected, empowered, and super-richly-paid-and-rewarded, to Advocate, Legislate, Regulate, and Enforce
    our variously-sized public’s Needs ?

  3. maude elwes
    02/10/2014 at 3:37 pm

    Well, as Deborah Daniels says, there is no mandate for the Lords. However, there is also no mandate for the Commons. We did not vote for a coalition of the weak. That little hypocracy was a set up to avoid another run through at polling stations and the Conservatives felt they would not get a second chance after the sell out. Therefore, the legislation that’s followed has little support from the voter and should be abolished by the next government.

    And by what I heard from the group I watched the Conservative conference with, groans and my God are they serious, it is unlikely they will be able to hold on to the office they presently speak from.

    What the voters of the UK need and fast is as NF is offering, Direct Democracy, that way the nation can take back its power and rule from the bottom up, rather than what we presently have, from the very top down. It would free us all from subjugation and deceptive parties taking action against our will, the way they have been for decades. We have been ignored too long. Which has led to theft of our tax revenue leaving us living on debt, brought about by their good friends who set up Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac. Time to dump the transatlantic ‘friends’ along with the face card NATO, they are too expensive for the unwilling British funders of their wars.

  4. 03/10/2014 at 5:05 am

    Lord Norton,
    This may seem ungracious driven so many facial defects in my comments over the years, but so be it. I dislike the coding protocol which removes the distinct typeface or font of “The House” when it appears in the summary before one clicks on your blog post.

    • tizres
      03/10/2014 at 3:48 pm

      Frank, you know the final scene from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”?

      • 11/10/2014 at 3:27 am

        Lady Tizzy,

        Sorry it took so long to get here. I must have not asked for email notification. I am not sure I see the connection. Unless the last friendly face is the last allowable typeface perhaps. I will allow that I am aware of the scene where Donald Sutherland’s character turns out to be a monster . . .

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