Under the existing law, prosecutions for bribery cannot be commenced without the consent of the Attorney-General. As drafted, the Bill would give that power to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the director of the Serious Fraud Office or the director of Revenue and Customs prosecutions in England and Wales.
The constitutional position of the Attorney-General, as the individual making prosecution decisions, is enshrined in more than 100 years of parliamentary convention. Our concern remains that if we are to realign the role of the Attorney-General, it should be following a full discussion in the widest context. The Government had a vehicle to allow a full debate on that and many other matters in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, but they did not make use of it. We remain concerned that this Bill's tweaking of the Attorney-General's role is simply putting off the necessary wider debate on it.
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