A17 - TSR Supreme Court Watch

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Alasdair
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The Liberal DemocratsThis amendment seeks to establish a committee charged with the responsibility of enforcing and amending the constitution.

That the house orders the Speaker to revise the constitution to the following effect:

Constitutional Committee

Construction:

1) The Constitutional Committee will consist of one member from each party in the House of Commons.
2) Independent MPs are also eligible to sit on the committee, if they wish.
3) The speaker of the house, or deputy speaker in his place, will also be a member of the Constitutional Committee

Responsibilities:

1) The Constitutional Committee is responsible for the enactment of the TSR House of Commons constitution.
2) Any action of an MP or political party may be referred to the constitutional committee, for discussion.
3) It is the committees place to decide whether or not the action is in breach of the constitution
4) If in breach, the Constitutional Committee will be allowed to implement sanctions against the individual or party involved.
5) Any decision made by the Constitutional Committee may be overruled by a vote in the House of Commons
6) The committee may also make recommendations to the House of Commons, on amendments to the constitution

Enactment of the Constitution:

1) The Constitutional Committee will meet in a public forum to discuss changes to the constitution and to discuss any alleged unconstitutional activities by MPs or parties.
a. This can be done in a thread in the House of Commons or a new sub-forum could be created at the discretion of the TSR Moderation Team.
2) Each member of the Constitutional Committee has one vote on all decisions, and all decisions must be decided by a majority vote
3) Alleged constitutional breaches will be submitted to the speaker, who will then put the issue to a discussion by the constitutional committee.
4) After a period of no less than 24 hours, and no more than 96 hours, the issue will be put to a vote to determine whether or not the action was in breach of the constitution
5) If the action is considered in breach of the constitution, sanctions will be discussed by the Constitutional Committee.
6) After a period of no less than 24 hours, and no more than 96 hours, possible sanctions will be put to the vote.
7) This vote must include the choice to give no sanction, either on the grounds that the breach is too minor to require sanction, or that the breach is due to errors in the constitution
8) Possible sanctions can be: an informal warning, a formal warning, 4 week suspension of an individual or party from the House of Commons, suspension of an individual or party for the rest of the current session of the House of Commons, permanent banning of an individual from the HoC, or calling a general election.
9) Three formal warnings in a single session of parliament automatically result in a 4 week suspension for an individual or party.
10) If no action is taken due to errors in the constitution, the Constitutional Committee must submit to the house an amendment within 4 weeks, to resolve the error in the constitution.
11) The House of Commons may call for a vote on any decision made by the Constitutional Committee, within 14 days, if at least three party members request this, by submitting a PM to the speaker.
12) If no vote is called, the sanctions shall be enacted.
Metrobeans
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#2
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If we feel that a member of this committee is acting improperly, could there be an option to call a vote of no confidence against them? Also, I don't like the name: "Supreme Court". Sounds too American.

In addition, doesn't this take away some of the power from the speaker and give to partisan bodies? Is this a good thing?
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wmv94226
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It's not supposed to be known as the Supreme Court, that was in the originaldraft, it will now be referred to as the constitutional committee. Don't really know why people are so against the term "Supreme Court", but I decided against that title on the basis this body will not have the powers of a Supreme Court.

The Committee should, however, work towards building a constitution whereby finally it is viable to have a supreme court of appointed ex-MPs and others to make decisions regarding the constiution so it can be done on a truly non-partisan basis.

As for your other point, yes it does, and that is a good thing. Currently there is too much power ot too few hands. Besides, ultimately power resides with MPs anyway because we can sack the Speaker as and when/ This just makes sure that constitutional breaches etc are discussed by a number of people before any action is taken. This has to be better than decisions being made by the whim of the particular person who happens to be the Speaker, especially with the constitution still very new and fragile.
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UniOfLife
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What is the point in this? Seems like an unnecessary body that is there to do slowly what the Speaker does already. We don't need a committee to devise new constitutional amendments we can all manage to do that. We don't need a committee to decide on punishments when the Speaker can do that. This seems a complete waste of time.

What is more, if the Committee is made up of one MP per Party then smaller parties punch above their weight. And if it is as a proportion of the number of MPs a party has then a large party can basically destroy the House.
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Nothos
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What I don't get is why we need this? The speaker does all this already, and if there's a serious constitutional breach, the speaker will no doubt enact a debate and then vote on what should happen.

(EDIT: Damn UoL beat me to it...)
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smalltownboy
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I like it.
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Eru Iluvatar
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So far there have been a number of problems with the speakers enactment of the constitution, where the rules set out in it haven't been followed. Each party and individual has a different view on whether or not in these situations, the decision was justified, but with a new term, the problems are likely to increase, and having representatives of each party making the decisions, with a more formal set of steps, stops there being problems with the enactment of the constitution. Particularly, if the constitution isn't enacted, for whatever reason, it means that this decision is made by the parties, rather than the speaker, by consensus, which means that in situations where there is disagreement, it will be down to everyone involved, rather than one person, to decide.

The idea of having a representative from each party is so that hopefully it will not be effected by partisan politics, as it will represent the whole of the TSR HoC.

The Committee does not stop individuals putting forward their own amendments, but it means that, if problems with the constitution which cause it not to be enacted are apparant, there is a clear obligation of the committee to put forward reccomendations for amending the constitution.
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UniOfLife
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If the problem is with this Speaker then call a vote of no confidence. This is trying to effectively castrate the Speaker for no reason other than you think this one is not doing a good job.

Having a member from each party on this committee will make it far more partisan than having an independent Speaker in charge. That should be so obvious it doesn't need saying.

What is more it is not clear how the committee is chosen, when, by who etc. How many people can sit on the committee? How many MPs must a party have before it can sit on the committee?

I also don't quite get what the point is of having a committee to discuss these things meeting in public. What is to stop others posting in that thread? How can you ensure that others don't vote too? Will you make these disciplinary votes public too so everyone knows who is voting against them? How much more partisan do you think you can make it?

In short, the committee is unnecessary and imo stupid. We have an independent Speaker to do this precisely to avoid having it done by party members with vested interests. The idea is also not fully thought through (which is probably good because it means you didn't waste much time thinking about this) and the amendment as is would cause us all to be stuck in an infinite loop with a problem with the constitution arising immediately in how to appoint the committee but with no committee to solve the problem requiring us to go to the Speaker anyway for him to sort it all out anyway.

Forget a committee and let's have some sensible amendments put forward to solve the real problems as opposed to an amendment to help create more amendments which is just daft in itself.
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Jangrafess
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I quite like this idea.
CanBeAPineapple
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#10
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I like this idea. However, I don't think that the committee necessarily needs to consist of 1 MP from each party. That is, I don't think the rep needs to necessarily be an MP, any party member should be sufficient. Other possibilities:

- Independent election for the committee, where any party members can run and vote. The top XX members are chosen.

- Proportional representation from each party. Any party member can be chosen by the party, not only MPs.
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Eru Iluvatar
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(Original post by UniOfLife)
If the problem is with this Speaker then call a vote of no confidence. This is trying to effectively castrate the Speaker for no reason other than you think this one is not doing a good job.

Having a member from each party on this committee will make it far more partisan than having an independent Speaker in charge. That should be so obvious it doesn't need saying.

What is more it is not clear how the committee is chosen, when, by who etc. How many people can sit on the committee? How many MPs must a party have before it can sit on the committee?

I also don't quite get what the point is of having a committee to discuss these things meeting in public. What is to stop others posting in that thread? How can you ensure that others don't vote too? Will you make these disciplinary votes public too so everyone knows who is voting against them? How much more partisan do you think you can make it?

In short, the committee is unnecessary and imo stupid. We have an independent Speaker to do this precisely to avoid having it done by party members with vested interests. The idea is also not fully thought through (which is probably good because it means you didn't waste much time thinking about this) and the amendment as is would cause us all to be stuck in an infinite loop with a problem with the constitution arising immediately in how to appoint the committee but with no committee to solve the problem requiring us to go to the Speaker anyway for him to sort it all out anyway.

Forget a committee and let's have some sensible amendments put forward to solve the real problems as opposed to an amendment to help create more amendments which is just daft in itself.
No, the reason for this is to get all the people who are involved in the HoC, involved in the decision process. It is not a problem with the speaker at all, but an attempt at recognising, with the constitution, that things need to be done differently. It is not just the speaker, but everyone who is a part of the HoC, who should be involved in running it.

Having a member from each party means that it is representative of the whole of the TSR HoC. While having a speaker, who is from a single party, is more likely to have their decisions influenced by their own political beliefs. This again is not an attack on a speaker, but a recognition that our system, which draws the speaker from political parties, can cause this as a problem.

The practical implementation is something which was considered, but obviously needs to be established to ensure that it works correctly, but it can be done. Keeping it in public tries to ensure that it isn't partisan, and discusses the issues honestly, which is also why the HoC as a whole can overrule the committee, if it feels that it has behaved with bias. Things like the actual selection are obviously open to discussion, the amendment can be changed by its writer, so if there is any particular method you think would work better, then please say so. At the moment though, it is assumed that each party would choose their own representative for the committee.

This amendment means that not only are problems dealt with, but ensures that whether it is an individual, a party, or even the constitution at fault, that something is done, appropriate action is taken, and surely that is in everyones best interest?
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UniOfLife
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That sounds like a lot of twaddle to me. Everyone involved in the HoC is involved in it. The MPs vote, Party members discuss. That doesn't explain the need to have them also govern each other.

If you feel strongly that having a Speaker who used to be a member of one of the parties is a problem then why not vote against them all and encourage someone from outside the HoC to stand? And if you believe that the Speaker will be unable to overcome his political leanings when he becomes Speaker why would currently sitting MPs be able to?

Again, will it be one person from every party regardless how many MPs they have? Won't this give unfair weight to those parties with no or few MPs? And if it is proportional won't that give too much power to the larger parties?

The Speaker's job is to enforce the constitution (sure this one has messed up on that front - sorry Al I know it's not entirely your fault) and it is the job of the MPs to propose and discuss legislation. I see no reason for this and none has been given.

Even if we accept that having a single independent person to make disciplinary decisions is somehow worse than having a group of unknown size make the decisions we are still left wondering why we need to have a committee to propose amendments.

Aside from the problem of having a biased Speaker, why do we need this committee?
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Alasdair
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(Original post by UniOfLife)
The Speaker's job is to enforce the constitution (sure this one has messed up on that front - sorry Al I know it's not entirely your fault) and it is the job of the MPs to propose and discuss legislation.
One thing that recent events have brought home to me is that constitutions are a really good idea when they regulate things that are actually important (people's human rights, etc.), but for a situation like the HoC, it's actually better to have a set of understood conventions.

But anyway, I'm against this proposal, and will both vote and argue against it (as it's non-partisan and deals with the administration of the House, I feel I have a right to).

I don't like the fact it emasculates the speaker, and I also don't like the fact that it will almost certainly end up splitting on party lines, the fact that the whole house can overrule it, or the fact that it has quasi-mod powers in the first place.

If a speaker is acting to the detriment of the house, you have the right to instigate a vote of no confidence. If you feel the speaker's acting in a partisan fashion, you have the right to instigate a vote of no confidence.
UniOfLife
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I'm with Al 100%.

Except I thought the Speaker wasn't allowed to vote :confused:
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oriel historian
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Surely the problem with having this committee is that it undermines parliament as a sovereign body? You lot are up in arms about locking people up for potentially 90 days (sorry UoL, I have read it honest :P) and yet you are quite willing to ignore the principles of parliamentary democracy in which sovereignty is invested in the House in order to create some back of the hand constitutional committee?! I'm astonished. The Speaker of the House is meant to be the one person in the House that's not partisan and can stand above the squabbles to ensure things run smoothly. Once they take office they are shackled by the principles of that office. I'm afraid, as an ordinary participant in the HoC, this strikes me as a rather underhand attempt at gagging parliamentary democracy and most directly the Speaker.

What a mess.
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Alasdair
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(Original post by UniOfLife)
I'm with Al 100%.

Except I thought the Speaker wasn't allowed to vote :confused:
As I said - on legislation, I'm not.

However, as this is a non-partisan point of order/procedure that directly affects the running of the house, I feel I've got a right to get involved.
Grape190190
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I so call the Socialist spot. :p:

Yeah, I think this is quite cool.
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UniOfLife
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(Original post by Alasdair)
As I said - on legislation, I'm not.

However, as this is a non-partisan point of order/procedure that directly affects the running of the house, I feel I've got a right to get involved.
You'll have the committee after you if you vote :p:

Is it just me or has the HoC become much much worse this session?
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arsenal111
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Who really understands anything of what you lot are saying
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AnythingButChardonnay
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(Original post by UniOfLife)
Is it just me or has the HoC become much much worse this session?
It's not just you at all. This is about as much an organised chaos which ignores its own rules as the EU Parliament is.
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