There is a very important reason why Parliament isn’t busy

In the Telegraph today, Tom Harris MP is whining about the lack of legislation going through Parliament.  He says that it means there were no votes in the Commons last Monday, none the previous Monday either, there won’t be any next Monday, and there hasn’t been a whipped vote on a Thursday for months.

He places the blame for this at the door of the government.  However, in the comment thread it is apparent that more and more people have grasped the essential point Harris is too unwitting to realise or unwilling to acknowledge – that Parliament has less to do because the EU is our surpreme government and rubber stamping diktat from Brussels doesn’t take very long.

This has been obvious for years.  The ever lengthening recess breaks are not just MPs wanting to take longer holidays, they are a consequence of less parliamentary business being required because the EU determines almost all the laws the people of this land must live by.  This central fact isn’t convenient for Harris, who instead makes his piece an attack on five-year fixed parliaments and government running out of ideas and having nothing to do.  Rooted in the past, when Parliament and UK courts were supreme, Harris declares:

The difference now is that the traditional remedy – to dissolve parliament and allow the various parties to be reinvigorated by a campaign and the judgment of the electorate – is unavailable.

Sadly for Harris, while an election campaign is an exciting wet dream for politicians and the media that faithfully trots alongside them hoping for some scraps to keep them sustained, the reality it is a sham.  For whichever party wins the next election, the electorate can expect more of the same.

With all the decisions of consequence being made in Brussels, or handed down from there after decisions in global committees and commissions, the UK parties have very little in their gift to manage or change.  There is little between the parties because no ideology is required to deal with the limited number of genuine matters of substance that are still governed by the UK.  So even after going through the motions of moving around and changing the colour of the deck chairs, the ship’s direction of travel will remain unchanged, unless the officers in Brussels sitting on the bridge, decide otherwise.

Harris may be upset that he is being denied involvement in big political fights like those of yesteryear, but as part of the political class he shares the blame for that and supporting the surrender of control of the UK to the EU.

14 Responses to “There is a very important reason why Parliament isn’t busy”

  1. 1 John W 23/01/2014 at 4:54 pm

    Perhaps we should lay them off until some more work comes in
    Zero-hours contract?

  2. 2 Sam Duncan 23/01/2014 at 5:16 pm

    While I agree about the EU being the reason, I’m not sure why Harris, or anyone, thinks that Parliament having no legislation to pass is, in itself, a bad thing.

  3. 3 microdave 23/01/2014 at 5:24 pm

    Captain Ranty often refers to the government website listing how many new statutes are being introduced. The last couple of years it’s been around 4,000 per annum. That doesn’t exactly seem like a “lack of legislation going through parliament”. Granted, most of this will be EU produced, but don’t they still have to go through the motions?

  4. 4 BrianJay 23/01/2014 at 6:09 pm

    Peter Lilley suggested a few years ago that parliament should be reduced by 75% since all the laws were created in Brussels.

  5. 5 Pogle's Woodsman 23/01/2014 at 9:03 pm

    He’s also missed the point that the Whips are at their most active when large parts of a party threaten to vote against rubber-stamped EU legislation.

    So he laments the lack of legislation, and laments the lack of whipping of legislation the legislature has no part in framing.

    With logic like that….

  6. 6 Jack Cade of Heathfield 23/01/2014 at 9:23 pm

    Most EU laws don’t go anywhere near Parliament for consideration and comment, it’s rubber stamped using the “Statutory Instrument” process and simply becomes UK law!! Democracy it ain’t!!

  7. 7 Captain Ranty 23/01/2014 at 10:04 pm

    Today is 23 Jan 2014. In the last 12 days (TWELVE DAYS!) they have produced 132 new bits of legislation.


    In 2013 they shat out 4,065. They broke all records in 2012 by vomiting out 4,194.

    Never, ever, ever say that these idiots aren’t doing enough.

    The more they produce, the more moronic they appear. Harris included.


  8. 8 Furor Teutonicus 24/01/2014 at 9:09 am

    XX Sadly for Harris, while an election campaign is an exciting wet dream for politicians and the media XX

    Media scumbags maybe, but in 50 years I have NEVER had a “Politician” knocking at my door, either in Britain, Sweden OR Germany.

    They know in advance whos turn it is to go next on the “fairground roundabout of power,” so whay bother?

  9. 9 Iconoclastis 24/01/2014 at 9:22 am

    It never seems to enter people’s minds that since we have our government in Brussels we have no need of a government in Westminster and could save billions by abolishing it. While the thought of independence is attractive, we do not have democracy in Brussels or Westminster and never will have. So, vote for abolition of Westminster as a cost cutting exercise and the hope of a reduction in the flood of useless legislation.

  10. 10 theboilingfrog 24/01/2014 at 9:51 am

    Captain Ranty – You’ll notice the majority are Statutory Instruments which are very rarely debated in Parliament…and a quick perusal shows a significant number from 2013 are EU related

  11. 11 Captain Ranty 24/01/2014 at 7:03 pm


    You are 100% correct, but you (we) need to be wary of SI’s. An MP with 3 minutes parliamentary experience can pen an SI and completely change the statute he/she has just amended. They are dangerous. (The amendments as well as the newbie MPs).

    SI’s are just as powerful as the ‘law’. They have the force of law.

    And my beef is not (just) that they aren’t debated, it’s that they aren’t read by ALL of our so-called ‘lawmakers’. Do they not have a duty of care? Is that not what we pay them for?

    The number of EU related legislation is said to be around 82%.

    As has been pointed out, this fact alone demands an 82% reduction in pay, and/or an 82% reduction of parliament.


  12. 12 Vanessa 25/01/2014 at 2:07 pm

    My apologies for being off topic but does anyone know whether this article has any basis for its idiotic proclamation ?

  13. 13 theboilingfrog 25/01/2014 at 9:19 pm

    @Vanessa It’s complete nonsense – there are no plans or EU regulations for this. Story seems to be based on a website that has a dubious history of making stuff up

  1. 1 Our Parliament has less to do…..why ??? | UKIP Hillingdon Trackback on 23/01/2014 at 5:25 pm
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