We should not be surprised that the far-right DUP is supporting Theresa May’s bid to stuff committees set up to oversee Parliamentary Bills full of Tories.
They’ll do anything the Tories say, if it gives them the balance of power and keeps that £1 billion (or is it £1.5 billion) bung coming – legal or not.
But everybody should be aware that there really is no justification for it at all. The Tories really are trying to rig Parliament, after they lost their majority in the general election.
Democracy demands that, where a hung Parliament has been elected, a minority government shall have representation on committees that is proportionate to the number of MPs it has – meaning it won’t have a majority.
This would normally mean a minority government would have to be very careful about the proposals it put forward, as it would need to persuade the other parties. The legislation produced might therefore be expected to be very well-balanced.
The fact that Mrs May is – corruptly – trying to fill committees with her yes-people indicates that she knows her legislative programme is deeply offensive to anybody with a brain and a conscience. She is trying to avoid having to justify her far-right-wing excesses.
And, with the DUP supporting her, why does she need to have a Tory majority on committees? There simply isn’t any need for it.
Unfortunately for democracy and for the people of the UK, the DUP’s decision means the committees won’t be the only things getting stuffed.
You will be, too – by a Tory government that is using corrupt means to take what it could not win at the general election.
I wonder if the people who voted for the Conservatives have even noticed that they have enabled a slide into dictatorship? They probably haven’t even realised that is the purpose of the vote, which takes place today (September 12).
The DUP will back the Conservatives in a vote later on changing the make-up of committees which scrutinise government legislation, the BBC has learned.
The government wants to ensure there is a Tory majority on the committees – even though the party does not have a majority on its own in Parliament.
Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has accused ministers of an “unprecedented attempt to rig Parliament”.
But a senior DUP source described the party’s support as “uncontroversial”.
The row was sparked by a motion which will come before MPs for a crunch vote on Tuesday.
Tabled by Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, it states that Commons rules will be changed so that “where a committee has an odd number of members, the government shall have a majority”.
And “where a committee has an even number of members, the number of government and opposition members shall be equal; but this instruction shall not apply to the nomination of any public bill committee”.
If MPs back the rule change, the public bill committees, which scrutinise legislation line by line, would no longer mirror the make-up of the Commons, but have an in-built Conservative majority instead.
This would allow Mrs May to force through legislation without fear of opposition amendments if Tory committee members remain loyal.
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