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Case Update

We are not for or against Government. But we are for good governance

8th February 2021

On 21 January we issued proceedings to challenge what we saw as an abuse of so-called Henry VIII powers – powers for Ministers to effect major law change in a way that bypasses Parliament.

Here is what we wrote in our crowdfunding page:

On leaving the EU, Henry VIII powers were originally intended to be used narrowly, to make technical changes to the statute book to ensure laws adopted inside the EU made sense outside it. We believe these narrow powers are being abused: Government says it can use them to abolish the entire state aid regime without parliamentary debate. But we think this is constitutionally offensive – and unlawful.

On 3 February Government announced a consultation exercise on a new state aid regime. That announcement states:

The consultation will run for a minimum of 8 weeks. Subject to the outcomes of this consultation, the government will bring forward primary legislation to establish in domestic law a system of subsidy control that works for the entirety of the UK.” 

Now, we may like, or we may not like, the new state aid regime Parliament adopts. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the commitment that the regime should be made by Parliament, with its safeguards and democratic mandate, rather than a Minister.

We have therefore written to the Secretary of State withdrawing our judicial review, notwithstanding that we continue to believe his actions were unlawful. Fortunately – because it is in practice impossible to return crowdfunded monies – we were able to close our crowdfunding page (just) before any sums were drawn down.

At Good Law Project we are not pro- or anti- Government. But we are pro good governance. And I want to demonstrate that to you very clearly through our actions.

It is only with your support that we can continue to hold Government to account. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.


This article is part of our Relegating Parliament case

In 1539, Henry VIII gained the right to legislate by decree, enabling him to bypass Parliament altogether. And now Boris Johnson, the man who has already tried and failed to suspend Parliament, is taking further cues on democracy from a Tudor King.

See more about this case