UK Liberty

Red rag and smuggle

Posted in Coroners and Justice Bill, database state by ukliberty on January 27, 2009

David Howarth (Cambridge, Liberal Democrat)

The other principle of legislative drafting that the [Coroners and Justice] Bill seems to follow is that of the red rag and the smuggle. A red rag is a provision in a Bill that is designed to attract the attention of hot-headed Members of this House, and about which the Government do not, in reality, care very much either way, while they smuggle in, largely unnoticed and unchallenged, a lot of significant stuff that otherwise might attract severe criticism. The problem with this Bill is that it is not entirely clear which provisions are the red rags and which are the contraband. Working on the general principle that to avoid scrutiny in Committee, the usual tactic is to put the contraband at the end and the red rag at the start, my guess is that the provisions on data sharing are the contraband and those on secret inquests are the red rag.

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