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Secretary of State must be given powers to intervene to stop Mid-Staffs NHS disaster from happening again, says Bill Cash

Press release 12/10/09

 
On his return to the floor of the House of Commons today, Bill Cash MP asked Government Ministers to ensure that sufficient ministerial powers were granted to prevent disasters such as that at the Mid-Staffordshire Foundation Trust from happening again.
 
Cash said:
 
“I have been deeply critical of Monitor and Bill Moyes throughout the debates, particularly with reference to their having authorised the Mid-Staffordshire Foundation Trust, when, from the minutes and the history, and as events turned out, this was all unjustified.
 
“I made clear in Parliament today and in my letter to the Secretary of State in September that while I am in favour of de-authorisation, I am not convinced that the trigger should be exclusively with Monitor.
 
“In any future legislation, the Secretary of State must obtain a default power overriding Monitor where necessary, not merely requiring Monitor to explain its reasons which would then lock everybody into judicial review.
 
“Parliament must take the responsibility and power to intervene – it cannot merely be left to Monitor.”
 
Cash also said “The gagging clauses in the NHS have got to be made unlawful. Legislation needs to be brought in to protect the clinical opinion of doctors from the ravages of managers.”


Parliamentary Sovereignty and the European Union Bill

11/01/2011 

The Telegraph has backed Bill Cash's amendment to the EU Bill which is designed to reassert the sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament.

This issue, says the Telegraph, "goes to the heart of where power lies – and it may today trigger the biggest Tory backbench revolt since the general election when MPs debate the committee stage of the European Union Bill. This measure is supposed to fulfil the promise made by David Cameron in opposition to prevent parliamentary sovereignty being further undermined by decisions taken in Brussels, Strasbourg or the UK courts. Critics, led by the redoubtable Bill Cash, say the measure does not achieve what was promised. They have tabled amendments which expressly reaffirm the sovereignty of Parliament and preclude the courts from invoking any common law principle to unravel a decision of Parliament."

To read the full article on The Telegraph website, please click here.



It's not about Parliament - it's about the people: Constituents' confidentiality is at stake

 An article by Bill Cash published in The Times on 08/12/2008

 
The Green affair is not just about Speaker Lenthall and Charles I and what happened in 1642. I am angry because it is about the confidentiality of my constituents' correspondence and matters of national interest in 2008. MPs individually are not above the law, but Parliament encapsulates the law on behalf of the voters. This must be protected.
 
The debate today following the Speaker's statement is a sideshow. It will not resolve the fundamental issue. This is that the House of Commons has been invaded by the Metropolitan Police and that Damian Green's office in the House of Commons has been raided, as has the custom and law and privilege of the House of Commons - in particular, freedom of speech. This is there to protect the people of this country, our constituents, and the information they provide to us for redress of grievance. This has been violated while Parliament was not even sitting. At least Charles I had the guts to confront Parliament itself.
 
I have made a complaint to the Speaker, irrespective of the debate today, calling for the actions of the Metropolitan Police and all those concerned to be referred to the Committee on Standards and Privileges under the standing orders of the House. The debate today does not affect these standing orders and the impression must not be given that it has done so.
 
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 cannot override Parliament and any consent to entry can only be by the House of Commons as a whole. In 1938, in the Duncan Sandys case, the House of Commons ruled that he was entitled to reveal even Official Secrets and to receive that information, in contrast with the merely embarrassing facts revealed by Damian Green. On Saturday, I clearly understood from my constituents that they would regard it as an outrage if the confidential information they had given me could be gathered up in a police raid on my office in Westminster.
 
The courts decided in 1993 that “it is for the courts to decide whether a privilege exists and for the House to decide whether such privilege has been infringed”. This should be the High Court, not merely magistrates or circuit judges as at present. As regards Parliament, it should not be the Speaker, the Serjeant-at-Arms or anyone else - only the House of Commons as a whole. This is why the House should not divide today on political lines. There are those who think that the word “privilege” is out of date. They could not be more wrong and they underestimate people up and down the country, like my constituents, understanding what is at stake. It is their correspondence and their information; it is their democracy and it is their Parliament. After all, Damian Green is hardly Guy Fawkes.


European Scrutiny Committee Launches Inquiry

 The European Scrutiny Committee, of which Bill Cash is Chairman, has announced that it will conduct an inquiry into the European Union Bill which was presented to Parliament on 11 November. The press release for this announcement is copied below.

 
12/11/2010
For Immediate Release: 
 
ANNOUNCEMENT OF INQUIRY
 
European Union Bill
 
The European Union Bill, which was presented to Parliament on 11 November, sets out the circumstances under which further transfers of competence and/or power to the EU will be subject to a referendum or will require an Act of Parliament or a Resolution of both Houses. The Bill also seeks to place on a statutory footing the common law principle of parliamentary sovereignty with respect to directly applicable or directly effective EU law. 
 
The European Scrutiny Committee will conduct an inquiry into the Bill. The timescale for the inquiry is extremely tight, since it is expected that the Bill will have its second reading in approximately one month’s time. The Committee therefore intends to report on part 3, the Bill’s parliamentary sovereignty clause, before second reading and on the Bill’s other provisions before the Bill begins its committee stage. The Committee invites written submissions which address the following questions:
 
Part 3, Status of EU law, the parliamentary sovereignty Clause:
What is the basis for concerns that parliamentary sovereignty “may in the future be eroded by decisions of the courts” (paragraph 106 of the explanatory notes), given the differences of opinion on this issue?
 
How far does Clause 18 address those concerns? In particular:
 
What (if any) is the likely effect of putting the principle of parliamentary sovereignty with respect to directly applicable or directly effective EU law on a statutory footing on the constitution of the UK? What additional protection does a statutory provision, which can be repealed, confer on the principle and practice of parliamentary sovereignty beyond the common law?
 
What (if any) is the likely effect of putting the principle of parliamentary sovereignty on a statutory footing on the interpretation of the European Communities Act 1972, particularly sections 2(4) and 3(1)? Does this Clause apply to future as well as present and past Acts of Parliament?
 
 
What (if any) is the likely effect of putting the principle of parliamentary sovereignty with respect to directly applicable or directly effective EU law on a statutory footing on UK judges reviewing the acts of public authorities and/or national legislation for consistency with EU law? Paragraph 106 of the explanatory notes says that this Clause “will provide clear authority which can be relied upon to counter arguments that EU law constitutes a new higher autonomous legal order derived from EU Treaties or international law and principles which has become an integral part of the UK’s legal system independent of statute”. Relied upon by whom? And in what circumstances? 
 
Is Clause 18 consistent with Declaration 17 to the Lisbon Treaty on the primacy of EU law, and the case of law of the Court of Justice that supports it? 
 
 
Part 1, Restrictions on Treaties and Decisions relating to the EU:
What is the meaning of, and difference between, the terms “competence” and “power” as used in the Bill? Are “competence “and “power” as used in the Bill terms that are already recognised under national law?
 
Are the conditions on which the Minister decides that a Treaty change or decision amounts to the transfer/extension of an area of competence or power from the UK to the EU sufficiently clear?
 
Are the distinctions in the Bill between national approval by referendum, Act of Parliament or Resolutions of both Houses consistent with the nature of the competence or power being transferred/extended?
 
Are there areas of extension of competence and/or conferral of power which are not covered in the Bill? 
 
Is it clear what a Minister must take into account when deciding whether “in his opinion” a proposal under Clause 4(1)(i) and (j) is “significant”? How far in practice would such a decision be amenable to judicial review?
 
How far is a decision whether or not to hold a referendum a legal question, amenable to judicial review, and how far a political question?
 
What might be the effect of Part 1 of the Bill on the UK’s future relationship with the EU?
 
 
The Committee is expected to begin taking oral evidence for its inquiry on Monday 22 November, and continue on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 November.
 
 


Bill Cash supports dairy farmers over industry concerns in Slindon meeting

Press release 05/08/09       

Local MP, Bill Cash met with dairy farmers from across Staffordshire in Slindon village yesterday evening. Before the parliamentary recess, Cash had put down an Early Day Motion (EDM 1724) calling for the Government to address the serious problems faced by the UK dairy industry. The EDM reads: 
 
“That this House notes the severe problems facing the UK dairy industry; is dismayed by the collapse of the co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Britain; and urges the Government to support those numerous producers affected, whilst also requesting urgent action to be taken in tightening up EU and UK labelling requirements on all products of animal origin including dairy products, particularly cheese, so that misleading labelling is stamped out and that consumers can make informed choices about the dairy products they buy, and can clearly identify the country in which the animal was reared, and raw material produced and processed.”
 
Bill Cash MP said “The Government must recognise that there are severe problems facing the UK dairy industry, and following the collapse of the co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Britain, the Government is obliged to support the affected producers.
 
Cash reasserted his view at the meeting in support of local dairy farmers and stated that they needed urgent Government help at this time. On the same day, the Competition Commission stated that they would press for an Ombudsman to arbitrate between suppliers and farmers and the supermarkets, which would ensure a fairer price for milk. Cash reaffirmed his commitment to the dairy farming industry and also to the eradication of TB.





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