With all the Henry the Eighth powers, secondary legislation making powers, and judicial erasure powers that Parliament will have handed to the Government in the Withdrawal Bill and other Brexit legislation, Ministers are going to find themselves with an unprecedented ability to rewrite enormous aspects of UK law at will. The Commons will be effectively by-passed and the Lords may feel compelled to wave it all through, as happens with almost every piece of secondary legislation. For this reason, it is so important that we put a backstop into law now, to protect environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards.
The government says that they want to improve these standards, and not reduce them. That’s fine – I’ll support anything that improves standards. But if Ministers are truly committed to not reducing standards then why not include a guarantee in the legislation itself?
In the absence of an Environment Bill or the promised Environmental Enforcement Body, then we need a minimum level of protection for our existing standards. Any measure that will have the effect of weakening our environmental protections must face the full scrutiny of Parliament and not be snuck through in secondary legislation. This shouldn’t be a contentious point, and I hope the Minister will concede to the strength of the arguments and accept this Amendment
For democracy to work fairly and effectively, all campaigners and parties must operate on a level playing field; no one can be above the rule of law. Whichever way we voted in the referendum, we should all agree that wrong doing needs to be dealt with.
That is why I have joined with other concerned politicians and ex-politicians, Tom Brake MP, Ben Bradshaw MP and Fiona Mactaggart who believe in accountability and that is why we are asking for your support in our legal action. Continue reading “Crowdfunder: referendum law breakers”
The government are due to amend the Trade Bill today to protect existing standards for animal welfare, workers rights and the environment in future trade agreements. They have submitted a slightly tweaked version of the amendment put forward by Green Party Baroness Jones. Continue reading “Trade Bill – Green win protects current standards”
My amendment on the Trade Bill was debated this week, with support from Labour and Lib Dems. It contains the current protections for the standards we have. But the Government seems reluctant to accept it, even though the Prime Minister herself has said that she doesn’t want to weaken existing standards in future trade agreements. At the moment it would be possible for Ministers to use statutory instruments to change the rules on this, but my amendment would guarantee these minimum standards were kept for rolling over all the trade deals that we currently have as a result of EU membership.
Continue reading “Trade Bill update”
I had a meeting this week with Trade Minister Baroness Fairhead to discuss my amendment to the Trade Bill which aims to make our existing standards the foundation of all new trade agreements. Despite the number of advisors in the meeting on the government side, no one could give any reason why my amendment was bad in law or in principle. From what Ministers say in public, we are all in agreement about not using trade deals to lower standards. The main disagreement is over whether we need this principle enshrined in law. Continue reading “Meeting with Minister on Trade Bill changes”
“I voted with Labour and Lib Dem peers (plus a few Conservatives) for a motion that ruled out the diaster of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. As well as the obvious impacts on food supply, businesses and people’s lives, there is a huge backlog of legislation that the government is failing to get through.
It is staggering that by the 29th March we have to deal with: 6 major Bills; 9 statutes; 600 statutory instruments; 120,000 EU statutes to transfer in UK law; produce a schedule for WTO; and 5,000+ WTO product lines to be agreed by 163 WTO countries. The only sensible option is to rule out a no deal.”
Following a recent meeting with the National Farmers Union (NFU) I asked the government what they were doing to reduce the 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gases that come from the agriculture sector. There are quite a few initiatives being taken, but none on the scale needed to make a significant impact, according to the Climate Change Commission. The draft Agriculture Bill offers a rare chance to change the system of financial incentives to give a boost to public goods, such as reducing climate change and rewilding the countryside. Continue reading “Farming and climate change”
Please support our work
Unlike MPs, who receive state funding, members of the House of Lords don’t receive any financial support to employ staff or fund office costs.
As the only Green in the House of Lords, covering as many issues as I can, I need staff to help me with research and press work. I have a small, part time team (equivalent to one full time person) who are paid for from donations from people like you. Continue reading “Crowdfunder to support Jenny’s work”
The National Audit Office has today published its report on “The Packaging Recycling Obligations”
The report proves that our recycling system is broken and we really need to focus on producing and consuming less. We have relied on exporting our waste to foreign countries and using them as our dumping grounds. We are exporting waste that is wrongly being recorded as being for recycling, when it contains so much non-recycling material that it will have to go to landfill or incineration. Continue reading “Rethinking recycling”
July 5th is the 62nd anniversary of the first Clean Air Act becoming law
Local people and communities around the country would be able to take legal action to defend their right to clean air if the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill I introduced today became law. This week’s air pollution episode throughout England and Wales illustrates how widespread the legal actions could become, as people seek to get corporations to change their behaviour and to force councils and government bodies to reduce pollution. Continue reading “Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill launch”