The House of Lords and secondary legislation: Government declines to implement Strathclyde Review (for now)

The Government has today published its response to several highly critical select committee reports concerning the Strathclyde Review. That Review, prompted by the House of Lords’ opposition to secondary legislation on tax credits, was published in December 2015. The Strathclyde Review’s central recommendation was that the House of Lords’ powers in respect of statutory instruments should be brought more into line with its powers, under the Parliament Acts 1911–49, in respect of primary legislation. The Lords would have lost its power to block statutory instruments, any attempt to block being vulnerable to the exercise by the House of Commons of an override … Continue reading The House of Lords and secondary legislation: Government declines to implement Strathclyde Review (for now)

House of Lords Constitution Committee Reports on ‘English Votes for English Laws’

By Mark Elliott and Stephen Tierney The House of Lords Constitution Committee (‘the Committee’) today issues its report on ‘English Votes for English Laws’ (‘EVEL’). The report examines the new arrangements for the passage of legislation introduced by the Government in July 2015 and agreed by the House of Commons twelve months ago. The Committee was asked to review the constitutional implications of these procedures by the then Leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling MP, and to report in the Autumn of 2016, its conclusions feeding into the Government’s own review of the new system. In this post … Continue reading House of Lords Constitution Committee Reports on ‘English Votes for English Laws’

House of Lords Constitution Committee reports on Wales Bill

By Mark Elliott and Stephen Tierney The House of Lords Constitution Committee today publishes its report on the Wales Bill. The history of the Bill is a somewhat chequered one, a Draft Bill published in October 2015 having been subjected to excoriating criticism by (among others) the Assembly’s Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee. The centrepiece of the Bill is intended to be the shift from the ‘conferred powers’ model of devolution that presently operates in Wales to a ‘reserved powers’ model akin to that which is found in Scotland. However, the Constitution Committee concludes that ‘the current implementation of the … Continue reading House of Lords Constitution Committee reports on Wales Bill

The House of Lords Constitution Committee’s Report on The Union and Devolution

By Mark Elliott and Stephen Tierney The House of Lords Constitution Committee today publishes its report on The Union and Devolution. This post draws attention to some of its main findings. The Constitution Committee’s report on The Union and Devolution, published today, declares the Union to be “under threat”, and recommends that the United Kingdom Government “needs fundamentally to reassess how it approaches issues relating to devolution.” The report is the culmination of a major inquiry which began taking evidence in October last year. The Committee heard from 66 witnesses including academics, think tanks, the chairs of Commissions on devolution, … Continue reading The House of Lords Constitution Committee’s Report on The Union and Devolution

Parliament, Government and Secondary Legislation: Lords Select Committees respond to the Strathclyde Review

I wrote in December about the Strathclyde Review, which took place at great speed in the autumn against the backdrop of the House of Lords’ refusal to allow the enactment of secondary legislation on tax credits. The Review — set up by the Government — recommended stripping the Lords of its power to veto statutory instruments by investing the Commons with statutory authority to override the Lords in the event of opposition to secondary legislation. Two House of Lords Select Committees — the Constitution Committee and the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee — have now published reports that are … Continue reading Parliament, Government and Secondary Legislation: Lords Select Committees respond to the Strathclyde Review

The UK Supreme Court as a constitutional ‘longstop’: Michael Gove’s evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee

The Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, gave evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee earlier today. In this brief post, I pick up on just one of the issues raised by his evidence, namely the notion that the UK Supreme Court might be made, by a British Bill of Rights, into what Gove called a ‘constitutional longstop’ court—a constitutional court, in other words. This builds to some extent on the ill-defined notion, advanced by Gove’s predecessor, Chris Grayling, of ‘making the UK Supreme Court supreme’. However, I have pointed out before that this notion was always more about … Continue reading The UK Supreme Court as a constitutional ‘longstop’: Michael Gove’s evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee

The ‘permanence’ of the Scottish Parliament and the Sewel Convention: The House of Lords Constitution Committee’s Report on the Scotland Bill

The House of Lords Constitution Committee has issued its report on the Scotland Bill. I have written before on this blog about the Draft Clauses of the Scotland Bill that were published earlier this year, drawing particular attention to Draft Clauses 1 and 2 concerning the ‘permanence’ of the Scottish Parliament and the recognition in statute of the Sewel Convention. This brief post simply draws attention to what the Committee’s report on the Scotland Bill itself has to say about these matters. Clause 1: ‘Permanence’ Clause 1 of the Bill, concerning ‘permanence’, provides for a new section 63A to be … Continue reading The ‘permanence’ of the Scottish Parliament and the Sewel Convention: The House of Lords Constitution Committee’s Report on the Scotland Bill