Debates between Lord Faulks and Lord Wallace of Saltaire during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 25th Jan 2022

Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

Debate between Lord Faulks and Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Non-Afl)
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I will, then, as I usually accept that invitation. As I understand the position, an Order in Council is the mechanism. The convention and the arrangement with the Crown dependencies that I spoke of is not the same with the overseas territories, although the points made about consulting them very much apply.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire Portrait Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD)
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If I may respond to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, since I have been involved in discussion on this on a number of previous Bills, we are normally assured by the Government as a Bill goes past that there are ongoing consultations with the CDs and the OTs, and that they have been assured that the key proposals will be incorporated into their domestic law within a limited period. As I said, there have been a number of occasions when that has not happened in some territories. It has often been the weakest territories concerned and, after all, this Government have spent a good deal of money on taking over the government of the Turks and Caicos—having to intervene where things have failed. This is rather like saying, “On most occasions, we do not expect most banks or overseas territories to be involved in any form of corruption, but sometimes some will be tempted”. Some may be overcome and that is what we are trying to guard against.

Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill

Debate between Lord Faulks and Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Lord Wallace of Saltaire Portrait Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD)
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My Lords, if we are talking about our tried and tested constitution, we should remember that in the 17th century it was Chief Justice Coke and his defence of the rule of law against the extent of the royal prerogative which led to the development of some of the ideas of constitutional democracy at least as much as Parliament. The rule of law is an essential part of the way we work.

I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, that we all know that this clause is in the Bill because of the judgment on Prorogation in 2019. I was interested to hear that the Minister’s definition of Prorogation did not in any sense suggest that that use of the power came within an accepted definition. Perhaps he will change his definition next time he comes.

The Minister has said that the importance of the Bill is to restore the status quo, but this ouster clause is not the restoration of the status quo. I agree with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, that it opens a window to its use on other occasions, which would be highly undesirable. It is much more radical than Clause 2 in changing our customs and practices. If we want to maintain the status quo while changing it a little—

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Non-Afl)
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The noble Lord says that the clause does not restore the status quo. Does it follow that, in his view, the power to dissolve would have been justiciable at common law by virtue of the conventions?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire Portrait Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD)
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I find it hard to imagine a situation in which the power of Dissolution would be used in the way that the power of Prorogation was used in 2019, so I do not think it likely that the case would arise. That is my instant opinion.

The radical dimension of this is that it disturbs the balance between the judiciary and the rule of law, and Parliament and the checks that Parliament has on executive power and the Government. The conclusion of The Independent Review of Administrative Law says, as the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, will remember:

“The Panel consider that the independence of our judiciary and the high reputation in which it is held internationally should cause the government to think long and hard before seeking to curtail its powers … It is inevitable that the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and Parliament will from time to time give rise to tensions … a degree of conflict shows that the checks and balances in our constitution are working well.”


I strongly agree with those sentiments. It is part of the proper process of constitutional democracy that each of those elements of our constitution should have a degree of tension with each other and hold each other in balance.

That is why I am in favour of amending this Bill to provide the simpler process of powers of Dissolution that Clause 2 provides—thus making Clause 3 unnecessary —and supplementing the desire for clarity of conventions by revising the Cabinet Manual to have a more fluent definition of Dissolution principles. If we do all three of those, we will substantially improve the constitutional value of this Bill.