This bill must be scrutinised with particular care. Our report recognises that there is widespread support for removing redundant regulation and costly red tape. But the problem many people will have with part one of this bill, as drafted, is that it provides ministers with a wide and general power that could be used to repeal amend or replace almost any primary legislation.
– Andrew Miller MP (Lab, Ellesmere Port and Neston) of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill which gets its second reading of Thursday.
The Bill would permit ministers to change the law by order for the purpose of : “(a) reforming legislation; [and/or] (b) implementing recommendations of any one or more of the United Kingdom Law Commissions, with or without changes.” And they get to nominate the parliamentary procedure for the statutory instrument embodying the order, too.
There are safeguards. Criminal offences and powers of entry, search or seizure, may not be created, or penalties increased above a certain level, unless a Law Commission (an appointed body, remember) has recommended it or it is as a restatement of existing law. An order may not impose or increase taxation, except as a restatement of existing law. Which rather begs the question: how, exactly, can a change in the law be “mere restatement”?