U.K.’s May Faces Power Struggle With Lawmakers in Majority Row

  • Tories to get majority on law-making committees in May’s plan
  • Corbyn: Tories trying to ‘rig’ Parliament, have no mandate

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a showdown with lawmakers over plans to make sure her Conservative party has majority control over scrutiny of all legislation in Parliament.

Her government is proposing to rip up U.K. convention on forming committees in Parliament to ensure Tories dominate these crucial groups that scrutinize draft laws. The main opposition party, Labour, says May’s plan amounts to “rigging” given that she failed to win a majority of seats in June’s election.

Theresa May

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The row over May’s plan, which will be voted on next week, could complicate Brexit laws at a critical time in the process. The premier is already facing a fight with lawmakers over proposals to give her government sweeping executive powers to change hundreds of pieces of law once Britain leaves the European Union in 2019. Another argument about ministers trying to evade democratic accountability could poison the debate about these Brexit laws.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that the move, reported by The Huffington Post and The Independent, was “an unprecedented attempt to rig parliament and grab power by a Conservative government with no majority & no mandate.”

If May gets her way and is able to pack Parliament’s committees with Tories, the process of passing Brexit laws is likely to be smoother. The trouble is, opposition lawmakers and anti-Brexit campaigners will see it as less democratically legitimate.

May’s office said in an email that the proposals “create the fairest balance” between the opposition and the government and “will ensure technical, procedural rules do not cause unwarranted delays to the business of Parliament.”

Lawmakers will vote on the committee plan next Tuesday.

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