Henry VIII? The Tories hatch plot to squirrel away powers
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This is by using Legislative Reform Orders – used when outdated law needs amending.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