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Should the "Wash-Up" Period Of Parliament Be Removed?

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AB Editor | 11:52 Mon 29th Mar 2010 | News
12 Answers

The wash-up period of a parliament is upon us. This is the period of parliament where bills are put in place to be "nodded through" in the next parliament.

As Martin Bell of the Guardian comments:

"Eighteen bills are going into the wash-up in the few remaining weeks of a discredited parliament. At this point the votes that got them this far, in both houses, will count for nothing. Horse-trading takes over from due process. Many bills will fall at this final hurdle.

And those which cross the finishing line may well be those with powerful interests behind them. One of these is the digital economy bill, which would serve the purposes of the recording industry and may end up on the statute book with insufficient scrutiny."

Do you think this "wash up" process is pragmatic or dangerous?


This poll is closed.

Should the "Wash-up" period of Parliament be dropped?

  • Yes, the "Wash-Up" period should be dropped. - 13 votes
  • 87%
  • No, the "Wash-Up" period should be kept. It allow government to function up to the limit of its term - 2 votes
  • 13%

See final stats

Stats until: 01:24 Wed 17th Apr 2024 (Refreshed every 5 minutes)


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The problem is that thew process is highly secretive. It should not happen like this at a time when transparency in Government is so necessary.

The parties are involved in a stitch up deciding which Bills get the nod and the wink into law in the next parliament.

I can see why some Bills should not be allowed to fail just because an election is called, and a lot of good work may go to waste if it is killed, however, the keeping from the public in the dark should not be acceptable.
Gromit2, the ed says Gromit the first has been reinstated, if it's of any use to you.

Yes, the process needs reform. But could an incoming government refuse to go along with it?
And in answer to your questions.

In its present for it is highly flawed. Bills need to be properly scrutinised, and Bills that haven't been (the anti Terror Laws that were rushed through for example), tend to be bad laws and open to abuse.

The wash up should be reformed with the period of scrutiny continuing in the next parliament before anything becomes law.
Why can't I vote?
As I don't see anywhere where I can vote on the above (I just get the results),I think AB is equally undemocratic too!
Not just me then...
Question Author

I think it would be seen as breaking convention if they turned around, after the election, and didn't wave the bills through.

Saying that convention breaking is becoming more common - i.e. Running against the speaker.

We are, as a society, moving away from knowing what we should and shouldn't do (i.e. convention) and moving towards a system where "the rules" have to be written down explicitly. A compensation culture moves on to a "culture of the small print" - a little sad!

Spare Ed
Question Author
One mo!
Thank You!
Question Author
I hate to be awkward especially as I am out on probation, but I am still unable to vote as the choice is too limited

I cannot vote No because I do not like it in its present secret format, and
I cannot vote Yes because some mechanism to preserved the work done to date needs to be put in place.

Thanks Jno, I have just discovered your thread in Suggestions, and though I still cannot get in as Gromit, they are working on it. Your effort in posting that thread is appreciated. Ta!
you're welcome (and welcome back), Gromit.

Ed, there is a case for overturning conventions if they have got outdated; it's not as if they had legal force. As I recall, Gordon Brown ditched the routine of waving Gladstone's bag around before delivering budgets, and had a new one made. No harm done. If Cameron (or whoever it is) came to power with the announcement that some 'agreed' legislation was absolute rubbish and he wasn't prepared to proceed with it, he could do it, though he would do well to explain his actions clearly. As Gromit says, transparency is important (and would set an extremely good precedent).

I haven't actually voted because I need a third option of reforming it rather than keeping it or dropping it.

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