The ongoing BREXIT debate has seen many people feel exasperated at the workings of Parliament. The endless bickering and point scoring as well as shouting turns many people off whether they are Remainers or Leavers.
I beg to differ: this is an undoubtedly difficult process, whatever standpoint you come from, and it is hardly surprising that Parliament has struggled to find a way of dealing with all the interrelated issues that the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU entails. It reminds me of a Rubik’s cube. I find it encouraging that members of Parliament are prepared to look at the details and consequences of their decisions. Whether you like their decisions or not, there is no doubt that they have been subject to scrutiny.
By contrast the tax decisions which go into the annual Finance Bill seemed to excite much less attention. There is a little bit of political grandstanding when it comes to producing reports asking for the impact of a particular measure; but there is little detailed scrutiny of clauses until it is too late.
It is perhaps instructive that MPs are raising issues about the loan charge when it is about to come into effect rather than when the legislation was first proposed.
It is almost always the case with legislation that when it is not properly scrutinised it ends up being bad legislation. It has been noticeable how recent Finance Bills have passed through Parliament with fairly limited changes, despite the government not commanding an overall majority. It appears that the scrutiny which Parliament should apply to tax measures has been lacking– drained by the overwhelming attention on BREXIT.
Someone once asked me whether there was anything worse than Parliament in one of its fractious debates. I would reply that at least Parliament is doing its job. When it passes legislation with minimal scrutiny, bad laws result.