Guy Aitchison (London, OK): The PM has just announced the Government's Draft Legislative Programme to the Commons. We hope to have more coverage on this and PMQs later but on first glance there seems little sign of the bold "new constitutional settlement" Brown called for last July. It appears the Bill of Rights and the citizens summit on the Statement of Values have both been put on hold. The only reference to these I can find is a vague promise to hold consultations on the Bill of Rights which will "give people in the UK a clear idea of what we can expect from public authorities and from each other, and a framework for giving effect to our common values." And expect yet another White Paper on the Lords.
The Constitutional Renewal Bill is being taken forward and is currently being scrutinized by a Joint Committee. Stuart Weir and Andrew Blick have given evidence and will be writing a series of posts on the committee's work and different aspects of the Bill. Jack Straw, meanwhile, had the following to say in an MoJ press release:
'The Constitutional Renewal Bill will extend civil liberties, strengthen Parliament and make the executive more accountable to the people. Proposals include removing the requirement to give notice of demonstrations in and around Parliament Square, reforming the role of the Attorney General, reducing the role of the Lord Chancellor in judicial appointments and removing the Prime Minister from the process of appointing Supreme Court judges. The bill will be part of a wider programme of constitutional reform which will include proposals for a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. White papers on reforming the House of Lords and party political financing are also planned.'
Grand claims being made for the CR Bill then. Stuart and Andrew will report on whether or not they ring true.