EU Referendum

UK politics: running out of laws?


Express 026-mps.jpg

A bit a lazy journalism here in the Express and another newspapers today tells us that "lazy" MPs are to get an extra twelve days "holiday" because, as the Telegraph puts it, "there are not enough new laws to debate".

We need to put aside this cheap shot, suggesting that because Parliament is not in session, MPs are necessarily (or at all) on holiday. Many, to my certain knowledge, are extremely busy during session breaks, on constituency and other political business. It really is childishly silly to characterise such breaks as "holiday".

Needless to say, though, in focusing on this point, the assembled journalists miss the substantive issue. It is not as if we are short of new laws pouring onto the statute book. In fact, we see a torrent of new laws and, as we saw earlier, no end of new proposals to debate.

The real story, therefore, is the way that our legislation has been outsourced to Brussels and beyond, so much so that MPs have been reduced to discussing policy issues generated elsewhere, over which they have little or no control.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has rarely been busier, listing on its database 1,301 "legislative acts" so far, for its 2009-2014 session. That is where the action is, demonstrating how far the power has drained from Westminster.

This, of course, was precisely what Hugh Gaitskell predicted in his "thousand years of history" speech of 1962, with the Westminster parliament being reduced to the status of a county council. And so it has come to pass yet, when it happens, not one journalist reports on the reason why Parliament has so little to do.