Wednesday, June 27, 2007

If there is no Government why are they carrying a Bill?

Just a point of interest, but when Blair offered his resignation to the Queen that was not just him resigning but his Government as well. That means all those Secretary's of State and Ministers aren't officially in those jobs anymore from a constitutional point of view until the new Prime Minister announces his Cabinet.

So why is Vera Baird in Parliament this afternoon taking a Bill through? Why is Education Questions happening tomorrow morning when there will, technically be no Education Secretary until Brown announces the position as expected in the afternoon?

Technically - and some constitutional nerd may correct me I'm wrong on this - there is currently no Government and so there can be no legislation carried this afternoon/evening.. yet.. apparently, the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill is going through Parliament as I write. So how does that work?

In other news, apparently Jack Straw is going to become the next Justice Minister - which is a bitch of job given it means being responsible for prisons which are in a complete mess. Wonder what poor sod will get Home Secretary though?

4 comments:

mark williams said...

No forget that previous comment, lokks like I got half f it wrong (about ministers resigning), but that shouldn't prevent the legislature from operating, which apparently it doesn't.

dizzy said...

What previous comment?

Steve T said...

Parliament is the sovereign institution within our constitution, and all legislation is passed by Parliament, not by the government (well, technically the Queen-in-Parliament). The resignation of the government hasn't interfered with this. You still have Members of Parliament debating legislation and taking Bills through, which is technically all that was happening before when there were ministers around. No constitutional problems, as far as I can see.

Just my $0.02, anyway.

Ed said...

Agree with Steve. Presumably the MP with the most insider knowledge would be the sensible one to take legislation through - ie the MP who was until yesterday afternoon the relevant minister.

The HM Government doesn't propose legislation, MPs do. I think. Acts can give powers to the relevant Secretary of State to enable executive powers so those powers can't be used while there is no government. But if there was an urgent need before Brown has formed his cabinet presumably he or the Queen could appoint a temporary Secretary to carry out the required action.