This will make no difference at all to Boris Johnson’s plans because none of the objectors are Conservatives.
It seems a cross-party group of MPs and peers has written to Justice Secretary Robert Buckland to say government plans to restrict judicial review will weaken the rule of law (and therefore harm justice).
Buckland couldn’t care less, of course. That is what these plans are supposed to do – as some of us have been saying for years.
Judicial reviews examine whether an action or decision of a public body – like the government – follows the law.
Boris Johnson was deeply embarrassed by judicial reviews that overturned his decisions to mismanage Brexit and to prorogue Parliament, back in 2019.
So he made plans to stop the courts from forcing his government to obey the law, and put them into his 2019 election manifesto.
And then every single tribal Tory headbanger in the United Kingdom voted away their right to a law-abiding democracy.
Johnson has couched his plan to end democracy in the UK with (typically) a lie: he said his plan will “restore the balance of power between the executive, legislature and the courts”.
In fact, it will enshrine in law the right of a sitting – Tory – government to do whatever it wants, by making sure the rest of us don’t have any legal power to stop it.
In their letter to Buckland, the 32 Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, SNP, Plaid Cymru, DUP and Alliance MPs stated
the proposals “would weaken both individuals and the courts, and effectively put government actions beyond the reach of the law.
“Together, these changes would make it much harder for people to put things right when mistakes are made or governments overstep their bounds. They would undermine the rule of law and the crucial principles of fairness and accountability.”
The letter said the proposals are based on a “false claim” (read: lie) by Johnson and his government that a panel led by Lord Faulks QC had found that courts in judicial review cases had become more prone “to edge away from a strictly supervisory jurisdiction”.
Faulks himself has contradicted this Tory lie. He said his panel did not identify any such “trend” and “was not ultimately convinced that judicial review needed radical reform”.
The plan to put the government above the law has been condemned by the Bar Council, Law Society, Constitutional and Administrative Law Association, Liberty, Justice and the Public Law Project for the same reason.
The Ministry of Justice has stated: “We made a manifesto commitment to ensure the judicial review process is not open to abuse or delay, or used to conduct politics by another means.” Fine words that are not borne out by the substance of the plan.
When we consider the ways the Tories have abused the system during the Covid-19 crisis – bypassing the competitive tendering system to give contracts worth fortunes to their friends, who failed to deliver, meaning tens of thousands of lives were sacrificed for profit, we can predict what this plan will mean.
Every incompetent, corrupt and self-serving decision by Boris Johnson will carry the full force of the law, because there will be no law to stop him.
It will extinguish democracy and force you into a new dark age of dictatorship.
And while this letter of protest is a nice gesture, it is futile.
The decision was made in 2019. There is nothing you can do to stop it.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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