Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Ministers abandon 42 days after Lords humiliation

As reported yesterday the Government were under tremendous pressure about what to do with the Counter Terrorism Bill if it were as expected defeated by the House of Lords. We got our answer after the Lords voted with a massive 191 vote majority against the Counter Terrorism Bill last night with a raft of prominent Labour Lords revolting against the party line.

Jacqui Smith made a statement to the Commons soon after the vote saying that the 42 day proposal will be removed from the Bill and will be set aside in a separate Bill to be introduced "should the worst happen". This brings back memories of the Patriot Act in the US, where no one read the Bill when it went through Congress but shoved it through at a time of national emergency because the political imperative forced them to do so. Parliamentarians must be wary of this tactic and the Government should just bury it and move on avoiding this underhand manner of enacting bad legislation which wouldnt pass otherwise.

In other Lords news, the Immigration (Discharged Gurkhas) Bill [HL] received its Third Reading and will now move to the Commons for discussion. The Bill is a very simple one, the amendment of the current Immigration rules to allow former Gurkhas indefinite leave to enter and remain in the UK whenever they were discharged. I hope our local MPs will support the Bill in its passage through the Commons.

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