UK Commons duels with Lords on terrorism, ID bills

[JURIST] The UK House of Commons [official website] and House of Lords [official website] Thursday continued their protracted duel over controversial provisions in two key security bills, with the Commons voting - over Lords' objections - to reinsert a "glorification" offense into the Terrorism Bill [text] and to make registration for national ID cards [Identity Cards Bill, text] compulsory for those requesting passports. The terror bill provision carried in the Commons 296-237. Opponents of glorification stressed the vague nature of the term, and opponents of the ID cards once more assailed the government for making practically compulsory cards that it had originally presented as voluntary. Both provisions have already been voted down several times in Parliament's upper chamber, glorification [JURIST report] most recently in February and compulsory ID cards [JURIST report] earlier this month. In Commons debate, UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke warned the Lords that they should defer to the lower house, declaring "I would have expected the unelected House to concede and I'm disappointed they have not done so."

Both pieces of legislation now go back to the Lords yet again. The Commons has the power to force bills through under the terms of the Parliament Act [Guardian Q/A; UK Parliament backgrounder, PDF], but so far has not formally invoked its authority, which might force a political and constitutional crisis on somewhat-weakened government of Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Guardian has more.



 

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