Tuesday, February 28, 2012

European Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers is probably the most powerful body in the European Union and yet in practise it is the executive, rather than our own Parliament which interfaces with the EU in legislating in the Council of Ministers, and the executive rather than Parliament then makes regulations to transpose the directives into national laws.   Parliament’s involvement should be strengthened:
                There should be a legal obligation for Ministers to obtain parliamentary approval before exercising the United Kingdom’s vote in the Council of Ministers of the European Union.
                This is done in some other member states such as Denmark and Sweden

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

House of Lords - Constitutional Reform

                A directly elected House of Lords should have the power to block major constitutional reform unless that reform has been put to the people either at a General Election or in a referendum.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Elect the House of Lords

 It is unacceptable in a democracy that a key part of the legislature is not elected.   In 2007 the House of Commons passed a resolution calling for 80% of the House of Lords to be elected.   Only then would it be able to claim independence from the House of Commons.   Were this to happen there would be a real debate on what powers the House of Lords should have.  These powers would have to spell out what would happen if, on occasion the two democratically elected Houses could not agree.      On financial matters the House of Commons would remain supreme.
  The people should directly elect the House of Lords.

Monday, February 6, 2012

House of Lords - Expulsion of Peers

Peerage titles cannot be withdrawn except by Act of Parliament, but during the First World War many members of the German Royal family held British titles and fought against the British.   In 1917 Parliament passed The Titles Deprivation Act, which allowed the King to establish a committee of the Privy Council.  The committee was empowered to take evidence and report the names of British peers who served in an enemy military force, or rendered assistance to or voluntarily resided in an enemy nation.   The report would then be laid before both Houses of Parliament.   If neither House passed a motion disapproving of the report within forty days, it was to be submitted to the King, whereupon the persons named therein would lose their titles.
 The committee reported their findings to the King in August 1918 and on March 28th 1919 the King issued an Order-in-Council depriving the following of their titles: Duke of Albany (Queen Victoria’s grandson), Duke of Cumberland, Duke of Brunswick, and Viscount Taaffe.
                The successor of a person thus deprived of a peerage is allowed to petition the Crown for its restoration; the petition is to be referred to a committee of the Privy Council, which may recommend whether the petitioner be reinstated or not. To date, no descendant of the persons who were deprived of their titles has petitioned the Crown for the restoration of their title.
                Members of the House of Lords should be subject to the same procedures as members of the House of Commons regarding expulsion from the House.
At present there is no procedure in place for such disciplinary proceedings to take place.   This is wrong.