» Thursday, March 4, 2004

Lord Woolf/Constitutional Reforms

Asked for a reaction to criticisms expressed last night by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, regarding the Government’s proposals for a new Supreme Court and changes to the asylum system, the PMOS said that Lord Woolf was entitled to put his views, and we would, of course, listen carefully to what he had to say. However, the Government was entitled to take the action it thought was necessary in order both to modernise our constitution and to reform our public services. We believed that the reforms we were making were right. On asylum, for example, everyone recognised the fact that the appeals process at the current time was too long and too complex. It was therefore important to examine how to streamline a system which, at the moment, saw cases often being drawn out over the course of a year, if not longer. Asked if Downing Street believed that the Lord Chief Justice had misunderstood the principle of the rule of law, the PMOS repeated that Lord Woolf was perfectly entitled to express his opinion. However, we believed that the measures we were putting in place were fair and proportionate and would be fully compliant with human rights legislation.

Asked to confirm reports that the Lords Reform Bill had been ‘pulled at the last minute’ last week because of a drafting problem and that it might not be published for another three months, the PMOS said that, as he had told journalists when asked about this issue last Friday, all the necessary processes within Government had not yet concluded. People had been speculating that the Bill might be published at the end of last week. However, we had never finally confirmed this. It was important to exercise a little patience and wait and see how the discussions within Government would conclude. It went without saying that the Government was committed to this piece of legislation and anticipated bringing it forward in due course. He said he did not recognise the three month claim.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. Woolf has found out the hard way that Blair and his cronies don’t really care about the UK and are keen to see the EU running the show…no need for justice or enquiries then! What a shame we didnt have Woolf rather than Hutton looking at the dodgy dossier and related items, perhaps the benefit of the doubt would have been withdraw and a real enquiry would have taken place. Woolf highlights again the fact that New Labour will rip the heart out of our nation in order to replace a tried and tested system with some half baked half witted pro EU system that reduces our freedom and costs twice as much as the system it replaced. All in the name of progress, towards what end we ask??? Wake up the lunatics have taken over the nation!

    Comment by Richard — 4 Mar 2004 on 4:52 pm | Link
  2. If it speeds up asylum applications, but more importantly speeds up the repatriation of failed asylum seekers then I’m all for it.

    Comment by Richard Girdler — 4 Mar 2004 on 6:17 pm | Link
  3. The sooner those asylum seekers who have had their applications rejected are sent home the better – the money wasted on giving these people legal aid and benefits can be better used elsewhere.

    Comment by Dave — 4 Mar 2004 on 7:01 pm | Link
  4. It will be a sham if so much attention was diverted to the increased speed at which asylum seekers were returned to their own country. The real effects of swapping a first class Court of Appeal for a second rate Supreme Court are crucial as the knock on effects are unknown! I get the impression that the proposed reforms have been rush though by this government with very little consultation and is subsequently ill thought out.

    Comment by Anne — 4 Mar 2004 on 8:05 pm | Link
  5. The Supreme Court will replace the House of Lords not the Court of Appeal contrary to what Anne says. I am surprised and upset by some of the comments made about barring immigration appeals. At the moment, a staggering proportion of appeals are successful. Let me explain exactly what this means. Assylum is granted when an applicant will be persecuted in their home country. Removing the right to appeal will inevitably mean sending people to be tortured and murdered in their undemocratic hime country. Why do people think that is OK? We should be proud of our democratic tradition and welcome the contribution of immigrants. We shouldn’t be undermining the rule of law (which says that courts guarantee rights) because of bigotry, xenophobia and, in David Blunkett’s case, a cynical attempt to woo the masses.

    Comment by Kid Loco — 5 Mar 2004 on 1:06 pm | Link
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    So keep on going like I did it recently.

    Comment by Sofia Loreen — 20 Dec 2004 on 10:19 am | Link
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