New clause 20 — Lords Justices of Appeal

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 4th November 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 3:30 pm, 4th November 2009

With all respect for the hon. Gentleman, his understanding of our constitutional history is flawed. He is right that in this country we have always evolved, rather than had revolutions, although there have been great disjunctions in our political history-far more than we perhaps realise-and there has been a certain fuzzy logic about our arrangements. Nevertheless, there has always been a logic. Montesquieu, the great proponent of the separation of powers, took his inspiration from the way this country operated. I am proud to say that this country has always followed the principle that healthy societies are democracies in which power is diffused as widely as possible. All parts of the House can agree on that.

That is fundamental, and it is precisely the area at which the measures that the proposed new clauses would overturn are directed-that is, the independence of the judiciary. It is profoundly important that we do nothing to harm that principle and that, as far as possible, we pursue the principle of the separation of powers. It is important not only that powers should be separated in practice, but crucially that they are perceived and believed to be so by the people we all serve.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website