Henry VIII? The Tories hatch plot to squir­rel away pow­ers

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - nigel.nel­son@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE Tories are hatch­ing a cun­ning plan to wrong­foot Labour over Brexit by us­ing a Par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dure few know even ex­ists.

Last week Jeremy Cor­byn lost his Com­mons bat­tle to block Theresa May’s so-called Henry VIII pow­ers when all EU laws trans­fer to the Bri­tish statute book at the end of March 2019.

They are named af­ter the tyran­ni­cal 16th cen­tury Tu­dor king who be­lieved he had a di­vine right to is­sue procla­ma­tions to al­ter laws he dis­liked.

Th­ese pow­ers, known as statu­tory in­stru­ments, al­low the PM or her min­is­ters to change up to 1,000 pieces of leg­is­la­tion with­out MPs’ ap­proval at the stroke of a pen.

Now the Labour leader will wage guerilla war in Com­mons com­mit­tees against Mrs May’s own tyranny.

To thwart him, Brex­i­teer Tory MP An­drew Brid­gen has told Gov­ern­ment chief whip Gavin Wil­liamson there is an­other way laws can be changed.

This is by us­ing Leg­isla­tive Re­form Or­ders – used when out­dated law needs amend­ing. They can up­date se­ri­ous mat­ters, such as ter­ror­ist leg­is­la­tion, or change triv­ial ones.

In 2015 a silly old law which made it an of­fence not to re­port a grey squir­rel scam­per­ing through your gar­den to po­lice was scrapped.

LROs dif­fer from statu­tory in­stru­ments in that they are de­cided by a com­mit­tee of MPs, not by min­is­ters.

Mr Brid­gen said: “Labour can’t ob­ject be­cause they will get the Par­lia­men­tary scru­tiny they’re ask­ing for.”

How­ever they will ob­ject be­cause last week Mrs May rigged com­mit­tees with a ma­jor­ity of Tory MPs.

Food prices will go up an av­er­age 22 per cent with­out a Brexit deal, the Bri­tish Re­tail Con­sor­tium said yes­ter­day – with cheese up 30 per cent.

NUTS May wants Henry VIII’s power, but could use or­ders which changed squir­rel law

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