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.

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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

Of course the hon. Gentleman is right. We do not have a written constitution in which these things are formally codified, although we have elements of codification in our constitution. He is right to say that this is a complex issue. Inevitably, the patterns shift over time. The courts arrogate powers to themselves, for example, and Parliament tries to get power back from the Executive. Under this Government, the Executive are giving power away to Parliament. This is a constant process that ebbs and flows and, in among the inevitable conflicts and tensions that arise, I believe that we have a healthy democracy. We have to prove that in the months and years ahead. We have to reinvent our democracy for ourselves collectively, and we must ensure that the people we serve know that that is what we are here to do.

We broadly agree that, as we do not have a written constitution, these matters are flexible. However, the goal of diffusing power as widely as possible and, in this context, maintaining the robust independence of the judiciary is fundamentally important to the liberties of the British people.

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