b a c k t o c o m m o n s

[ 00:06 wednesday 12 december – piscita, isola di stromboli ]

the house of lords has completed its scrutiny of the “terrorism” bill and has passed intelligent amendments removing all its worst excesses.

tomorrow the bill returns to the commons. the government has indicated it is willing to remove the elements fast-tracking eu legislation and creating new crimes of religious hatred to consider them separately next year. however it has offered no concessions on the clauses permiting detention without trial or review.

presumably the commons will overturn all the lords’ amendments, comforted that the democratic process has been served by the government’s concessions. then the bill should go back to the lords, where there is every sign the noble members would persist in their objections.

in the normal run of things the bill could go back and forth three times in this fashion and if the lords still objected the government would have to abandon it til next year.

but i have a bad feeling the government is not going to let this happen. i don’t know how, but my instinct says the government plans to circumvent the lords somehow to get the bill onto the statute books in the form they want it, and to do so promptly. i hope i’m wrong for this would not be a good auger for the future of democratic government in britain. i’m rather attached to democracy.

: cH

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