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Monday, January 28, 2008

The stitch up (continued)

Jim Murphy has been explaining the noddy series of "debates" that the Government plans to allow MPs over the Lisbon Treaty.

He told MPs: "The motion enables members to debate the benefits of the Lisbon treaty for the UK and the international community through a series of themed debates."

That particular formulation about debating "the benefits" tells you everything about the Government's approach - what little time it will allow is going to be filled up with vapid debates about motherhood and apple pie.

With the first four hours of the eight days taken up with discussion of the Government motion, there will be one and half hours for real amendments.

That's twelve hours of free debate in total. Remember that the consolidated version of the Treaty is 63,000 worlds long. Even just reading out the Lisbon Treaty - without making any comment on it - would take around five and a half hours.


Moreover, with priority for ex-ministers and select committee chairs, there may well be no chance for Labour rebels to get their amendments even discussed.

Even europhiles are unimpressed:

John Gummer said it was "very difficult for us to argue that this is proper Parliamentary scrutiny".

Kenneth Clarke complained about "general topics chosen by the Government taking up the lion's share of the time" and said the arrangement was a "radical change" from the normal way legislation is scrutinised.

Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes insisted the Government had got off to a "bad" start and was "alienating" even supporters of the legislation with its timetable.

So there you have it: despite all the magisterial blether about how "detailed line by line Parliamentary scrutiny" is far superior to discussion by the hoi polloi in a referendum, the Government really doesn't want any discussion. As we have said before - they are cowards.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you know what?
I think they are confusing our parliament with the European one.