Lib Dem MP accuses Government of abusing Parliamentary Procedure!

October 25, 2005 1:17 PM
Paul Rowen MP - disappointed with Parliamentary Procedure!

Paul Rowen MP - disappointed with Parliamentary Procedure!

Rochdale's Lib Dem MP has described the Labour Government of treating their colleague - Former Cabinet Minister Clare Short disgracefully after "talking out" her Private Member's Bill last Friday afternoon. Ms Short's Bill was called the "Armed Forces (Parliamentary Approval for Participation in Armed Conflict) Bill".

At the moment the Prime Minister can lead Britain into any war he so chooses without a debate in Parliament, never mind a vote. Ms Short's Bill would require the Government to get the backing of Parliament before Britain declared war. Or, there was a good reason to take urgent action.

Paul Rowen said, "The Armed Forces Bill would have brought real democracy into the most important decision a country can make: declaring war. There would have been no more dodgy dossiers and private briefings. Every Member of Parliament would have to be given enough evidence to show that war was necessary, instead of being fobbed off by Ministers who think they know better."

A furious Paul Rowen continued, "Despite having the backing of dozens of MP's, Ms Short's Bill seems unlikely to become law - not because MPs voted against it, but because the Leader of the House, Geoff Hoon MP, "talked it out" of the House. Basically, he deliberately talked for so long, that we ran out of time. Mr Hoon's behaviour has since been described as "disgraceful" and I would agree entirely. I think he should apologise to Clare Short - if this is the way he treats his colleagues imagine how he treats the ordinary voter. I feel that he has abused his position to do his Tony Blair another favour."

Over 100 MPs - including Paul Rowen - had spent Friday in London instead of their constituencies, and spent four hours debating the Bill, and voted in favour of it, the Government decided to block it. The Government effectively stopped elected representatives debating whether elected representatives get to debate whether Britain goes to war or not!