Sunday, March 18, 2007

Commons Committee approve SORs

Background briefing: the Government has disgracefully abused parliamentary procedure to avoid a debate on the SORs (what are they frightened of?); the Opposition has disgracefully failed in its duty to oppose this abuse of power, and to oppose this badly drafted and unjust law. Christian Concern for our Nation is organising a prayer vigil outside Parliament.

From Christian Concern for our Nation: Yesterday morning at 8:55am the House of Commons committee of 16 MPs met for just 90 minutes to decide on the fate of the Sexual Orientation Regulations. Even the MPs on the Committee itself had only been appointed 15 hours before it met and the room arranged for the debate was so small that there was not enough room for all the MPs and people had to sit on the floor.

The meeting started in confusion as MP after MP stood up to voice complaints at
the way the Government was rushing through the SORs with no time for MPs to
look at the Regulations (which having been taken offline were only made
available again at 3pm on Tuesday and with over 20 changes from the original
published Regulations). Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservative MPs all criticised the
Government for refusing to allow a full debate in the House of Commons.

Repeated requests were made to postpone the debate and to give time to find a
more appropriate room. The requests were refused by the Labour MP chairing the
debate. That chairperson declared that the only way possible to delay the
debate would be for a special motion to be passed: David Burrowes MP duly
sought to bring such a motion for the Committee to decide the issue and the
chairperson refused to accept it: she would not even allow it to go to a vote.

After speeches from only 4 MPs, the chairperson took a vote and the vote was won
by those supporting the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

The Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative parties all united to support the
Regulations: it was left to back-bench MPs (mostly conservative) to give strong
opposition (most of whom were unable to vote because they were not officially
on the Committee). However, Eleanor Laing (the official spokesperson for the
Conservatives) supported the Regulations and said that “her brand of
Christianity” preached “live and let live”. This contrasted with her
fellow-Conservative, the Shadow Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, who spoke
about the deep legal flaws to the SORs.

In addition, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments which met on Tuesday,
gave the SORs the ‘all clear’, even though a number of committee members raised
serious questions. The way in which the JCSI allowed the SORs to be rushed
through, despite many outstanding concerns, seems odd in light of their
readiness to draw the “special attention of both Houses to the [almost
identical Northern Ireland] Regulations on the grounds that they are
defectively drafted” only 6 weeks ago.

No comments:

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen