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Recent House of Lords controversy... watch

    • Thread Starter

    I'm trying to include about the recent tax credit/house of lords thing in my essay but I'm a bit confused

    Why is it so controversial that they delayed the bill?

    Does it count as a money bill so technically they aren't allowed to delay it?

    Or was it the 3rd time they delayed it and they're not allowed to delay it 3 times?

    It is controversial because the Conservatives believe that tax credit cuts are a financial issue not a welfare issue and the House of Lords cannot intervene on financial matters. However the Lords dispute this as they feel it is a welfare issue.

    Parliament clerks in the Lords said the Lords could do this, but many MP's feel this is unfair as they are unelected.

    Finally the bill has been through the commons five times but was blocked on the first reading in the Lords by a counter bill by Baroness Meacher, so many MP's and the Conservative party feel the commons should take priority in decisions.

    Hope this kinda helps

    First of all it is not a Bill. I hear that mentioned a lot. It's not a Bill.

    Got that?

    It's a Regulation - a piece of secondary legislation - otherwise known as a Statutory Instrument (SI). Unlike Bills, which are considered by each House five times apiece, and which the Lords can only delay, secondary legislation is for more specific issues, each House sees it once, and the Lords has a statutory veto.

    You heard that right: The Parliament Act does not apply to secondary legislation. In fact, the 2002 Act which created the Regulation-making power decrees that:

    Tax Credits Act 2002, Section 66, Paragraph 1

    No regulations to which this subsection applies may be made unless a draft of the instrument containing them (whether or not together with other provisions) has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.
    What's more the Guidance to the Standing Orders of the House of Lords states that the House has complete right to veto any SI it desires, based on the law, motions approved by the House, and the Report by the Joint Committee on Conventions in 2006. The one concession stated it that the Lords does not veto secondary legislation on a regular basis, but asserts the right to do so in exceptional circumstances. The House, last Monday, considered the Draft Tax Credits (Income Thresholds and Determination of Rates) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 to be such exceptional circumstances.

    Even then, the House stopped short of blocking the Regulation, but in fact offered the Government a way out by refusing to make a decision on the Regulation until the Government supplies more information to justify its policy.

    The Government's outrage, I'm sorry to say, is down to widespread ignorance of the constitution and of what the Parliament Act does in particular. The House of Lords was entirely in the right, constitutionally, to behave as it did.

    No comment on the merit of the policy itself, however. Happy to answer any follow-up questions.
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Updated: November 3, 2015
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