As posted on http://www.tfa.net/ by the Freedom Association
The Rt Hon. David Davis MP & Tom Watson MP are The Freedom Association’s ‘Parliamentarians of the Week’
Whether or not you agree with the content of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Act 2014, most people are united in their opposition to the way it was railroaded through Parliament this week. MPs and Peers should be given the time to debate and scrutinise legislation thoroughly. They should have the time to conduct their own research and talk to constituents and other interested parties. I cannot believe that the Government could not have prepared this emergency legislation even three weeks prior to the summer recess, which would have allowed MPs and Peers the time to do their job.
A total of 51 MPs voted against the programme motion in the House of Commons on Tuesday, and we recognised them in an article on our website on Wednesday. I also personally wrote to all of them expressing our thanks for what they did. Even though many of them supported the Act, they could not support the Government’s contempt for Parliament.
Two MPs though have stood out from the moment the legislation was announced by the Home Secretary last week. They are David Davis and Tom Watson.
During Tuesday’s debate, David Davis has this to say:
“Why has it taken three months? Why was the legislation not pre-prepared? Why was the deal with the Labour party not struck in advance? My understanding is that there was an argument inside the Government between the two halves of the coalition. That argument has gone on for three months. What the coalition could not decide in three months, this House has to decide in one day. That seems to me entirely improper.
“Parliament has three roles: to scrutinise legislation, to prevent unintended consequences and to defend the freedom and liberty of our constituents. The motion undermines all three and we should oppose it.”
Mr Davis was followed by Tom Watson who had this to say:
“In the brief time that we have, I think that I should put it on the record that MPs had only 47 minutes to submit unstarred amendments to the Bill yesterday. Most reasonable people will conclude that Parliament has been insulted by the cavalier way in which a secret deal has been used to ensure that elected representatives are curtailed in their ability to consider, scrutinise, debate and amend the Bill. It is democratic banditry, resonant of a rogue state. The people who put this shady deal together should be ashamed.”
Strong national parliamentary democracy is vital for a free society. Without it, the executive has too much power. It took under sixteen hours of parliamentary time for this Bill to become an Act of Parliament, and that is nothing short of disgraceful.
David Davis and Tom Watson stood up for Parliament against the executive in very vocal and visible ways, and they should be congratulated for doing so. I offer both of them my congratulations as worthy recipients of this week’s ‘Parliamentarian of the Week’ award.