Thursday, 26 January 2017
I took a look at that UK Supreme Court Judgment when it was produced a couple of days ago.
To be honest, I found its 96 pages of legalese pretty hard to decipher, what with it lacking an executive summary, bottom line or similar section. Buried in clause 124 on page 36 of 96 was the bit that said that Parliament must take a vote on the triggering of Article 50. Roughly what the House of Lords report said last September in a third of the pages.
I found the whole Supreme Court thing couched in CYA-speak, so that it was difficult to pin anything directly on anyone, and it took a separate Press Release to explain the outcome to the mortals of the real world.
Then today, I noticed the 67 words of preamble and 50 words of the today's hastily assembled Article 50 trigger Bill and then 16 words describing a short title for the Bill. 133 words for the entire trigger. It's not the shortest bill ever (that is the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918)
Like those recent Executive Orders in the USA, we seem to be able to dispense a particularly "lite" form of bureaucracy when it suits.
The 50 main words of the Bill affect legislation from at least 1993-2017. Whilst numbers are not available for that whole period, up to 2014 there were 945 Acts of Parliament of which 231 implemented EU obligations, plus a further 33,160 statutory instruments including 4,283 EU obligations. Quite a bundle to begin to repurpose with those 50 words.
I wonder if we will see the stages of First Reading, Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading in the Commons and then input by the Lords? and then a Royal Assent? All before the end of March and with Parliament due for a recess in a few days.