Clause 105 — Removal from most senior judicial offices

Part of Orders of the Day — Constitutional Reform Bill [Lords] — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 1st February 2005.

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Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Conservative, Harborough 4:30 pm, 1st February 2005

I am encouraged by my hon. Friend. I have not found all the amendments tabled by him and my hon. Friend Mr. Djanogly wholly agreeable, but most have been interesting. On this occasion, we are opening up an interesting area of constitutional crisis.

The Government have made many mistakes, but they never do anything by mistake. Here we are witnessing the sucking of power from the Chamber to the Executive. We all know that the Executive not only sit in, but sit on the Chamber. When Ministers say, "This is a matter for Parliament" or "This is a matter for the House", of course they mean nothing of the sort. What they mean is, "We, the Government, have made a decision and our obedient Back Benchers will troop through the Lobby, as directed by us and the Chief Whip."

Nobody is under any misapprehension about that. I know the rules of the parliamentary game as well as the Minister does. However, we ought occasionally to remind ourselves that it is a charade, and that when the Minister prays in aid the votes of Parliament, he is merely exercising his power as a member of the Executive to control the House of Commons. I find it extremely worrying. I appreciate that it may be for only a short time in interim legislation, but it is worrying that a Prime Minister or a Government could arrogate to themselves exclusively the ability to do what Members of the House have traditionally been able to do, certainly since 1688.