Oliver Heald the Conservative Member of Parliament for North East Hertfordshire, has written to Spy Blog asking for his article on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill to be published.
We are happy to do so, and also welcome comments or articles from any other political parties on this topic or others which we try to mention at Spy Blog.
Oliver Heald has also contributed letters and articles to the Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill blog.
Does this mean that British political weblogs are now starting to be noticed within the "Westminster village" ?
Although web server statistics visitor anlaysis is not an exact science, what with RSS and XML syndication and aggregation, and caching proxy servers and spam attacks etc. with around 4000 unique visits a day, Spy Blog appears to have a wider readership than many local newspapers, or specialist magazines.
Oliver Heald's article:
Conservatives Oppose Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill
Oliver Heald MP
30th March 2006
Over the last few days the Minister, Jim Murphy MP, has been calling in the Opposition Parties to discuss an Amendment to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. The idea seems to be to have a veto for Select Committees to stop the fast-track Order-making procedure being used for controversial measures. But this does not go far enough. Select Committees do a valuable job, but they always have the majority from the Government Party. The proposal is an improvement, but we need cast iron guarantees.
What the Conservatives and others are putting forward is that the Bill should only allow for de-regulation – removing outdated and burdensome regulations – and should prohibit the fast-track Order-making power from being used for controversial or important changes.
It has been reported that the Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords, Lord Grocott, is pressing the Prime Minister for the sort of changes we are demanding.
Some people say to me, “why not just kill the Bill, rather than worrying about Amendments?”. We will certainly vote against the Bill unless major changes are made. But we should not forget that since 1994, we have had a law which allows the Government to use a fast-track Order-making procedure to scrap outdated and burdensome red tape. There is a case for some technical improvements to the existing law. That is why we are trying to make major changes to this Bill, so that we do have an effective tool for de-regulation, but ONLY for de-regulation.
As currently drafted, the Bill is a danger to democracy and unless the Government meets our demands, Conservatives will vote against it after Easter. Labour MPs are also becoming worried about the Bill and the TUC have voiced their concerns. There is no better time than now for concerned citizens to write to their Member of Parliament, protesting about this Bill.
You can conveniently write to your MP via the WriteToThem website, and you can contact the Cabinet Office Minister Jim Murphy and the Legislative and regulatory Reform Bill team as detailed in our previous posting