Labour calls Government plans to reduce powers of Supreme Court ‘attack on British public’

The Government is reportedly in discussions to reduce the supreme court's involvement in constitutional issues

Unlock Democracy says the Government must prove their plans to curtail the Supreme Court’s powers are “necessary”, or else face accusations that what they are doing is “belated punishment beating”.

The Government is reportedly in discussions to reduce the supreme court’s involvement in constitutional issues.

According to the Labour Party, justice secretary Robert Buckland is currently drawing up plans to “curtail the powers of the Supreme Court”.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s defeat in last year’s parliamentary prorogation case after he suspended parliament in September ahead of Brexit. It was a move which many in opposition believed was the Prime Minister’s attempt to prevent scrutiny of the Government’s Brexit plans in those final weeks.

In September last year, the supreme court justices ruled that that the attempt to prorogue parliament by the government to stop it from debating on Brexit was unlawful. The ruling was unanimous.

The Labour Party has called plans to change the supreme court’s power an attack, not only on our judiciary, but on the British public itself.

David Lammy MP, the Shadow Justice Secretary, said: “The Conservative government is determined to do all it can to take power away from the courts and hoard it in Number 10.

“This is an attack not only on judges, but on the British public, who rely on an independent judiciary to uphold the law. We cannot trust this chronically incompetent government with any more power than it already has.”

Speaking further about the issue, a spokesperson for pressure group Unlock Democracy said: “In the interests of transparency and accountability, the Government must provide evidence that ‘reform’ of the Supreme Court is necessary. 

“Until they do so, many will draw the conclusion that Government ‘reforms’ are nothing more than a belated punishment beating, triggered by the unanimous Supreme Court ruling that the PM acted illegally when he shut down Parliament.”

Reflecting on the potential changes, shadow attorney general, Lord Falconer, yesterday tweeted: “Not sure what’s wrong with number of Supreme Court judges. Same as in Judicial Ctee of Lords.

“Not sure name Supreme Court misled judges as to their approach. Not sure who resolves legal constitutional issues if it’s not SC. Not sure much thought gone into these proposals.”

Lucy Skoulding is a freelance reporter at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter. 

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