The Lords’ amendments to a government financial statutory instrument are an attempted power grab that drives a coach and horses through a vital constitutional doctrine
This is an email message (not itself a blog post) about a new blog post on Ephems, at http://www.barder.com/4548, “The Lords’ amendments to a government financial statutory instrument are an attempted power grab that drives a coach and horses through a vital constitutional doctrine“.
In that post I argue that while the intentions of the members of the House of Lords who refused to approve the government’s Statutory Instrument incorporating Osborne’s disgraceful tax credit cuts were honourable and laudable, their action was manifestly unconstitutional and could have profoundly negative consequences. If it were to be allowed to set a precedent, it would blow a huge hole in the doctrine of the privilege and primacy of the house of commons in respect of the elected government’s management of the country’s finances without interference by the unelected Upper House, a doctrine that goes back to the 1760s. Such a new extension of the powers of the House of Lords would threaten the freedom of action of a future progressive government even more than that of the present reactionary administration. Mr Osborne will rescue his tax credit cuts from the Lords’ attempted conditions without much difficulty. The Lords’ attempted power grab may require a new law codifying and defining the restrictions on the House of Lords’ rights regarding government financial measures. If so Labour should strongly support it.
For the full statement of all this, please visit http://www.barder.com/4548, and please write any comments, informative or otherwise, at the bottom of http://www.barder.com/4548, rather than in reply to this email (unless your comments are purely personal). Please don’t comment there (or here) on the rights or wrongs of Mr Osborne’s tax credit cuts policy, nor on its dire effects on poor families in Britain, however strongly you (and I) might feel about them. The issue discussed in this post are the implications and likely consequences of the unconstitutional action taken on Monday evening by Labour and other unelected peers.
Greetings from a chilly autumn day in south London
27 October 2015