Huhne’s list of “completely bizarre” offences: disturbing a pack of eggs etc.

As the House of Commons debates the Queen’s Speech, Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne highlighted some of the more ludicrous examples of Labour’s legislative incontinence – here’s an excerpt from his speech as recorded by Hansard:

We are to have the 26th Criminal Justice Bill and the seventh Immigration Bill from this Government since 1997. Various of those Bills have been shovelled through this House so hastily that whole sections and clauses have not been considered at all and have had to be reviewed in the other place. We now know from parliamentary answers to questions tabled by Liberal Democrats that no fewer than 3,600 new criminal offences have been introduced by this Government since 1997, yet extraordinarily, the Home Secretary—who, sadly, is no longer in her place—assures us that one of her key priorities is to reduce the need for police paperwork and bureaucracy. The extraordinary creation of offences by the Government is massively complicating the job of law enforcement and of the whole criminal justice system.

Some of these offences are completely bizarre—for example, the offence of causing a nuclear explosion. The idea that anyone might cause a nuclear explosion without killing anybody, and therefore being subject to a possible charge of murder, is extremely far-fetched. It is perhaps reassuring for some on the Government Benches that were there to be a nuclear explosion that did not kill anyone, the perpetrator could, indeed, be charged. Other of the new offences include: wilfully pretending to be a barrister; disturbing a pack of eggs when instructed not to by an authorised officer; obstructing workers carrying out repairs to the docklands light railway; offering for sale a game bird killed on a Sunday or Christmas Day; attaching an ear tag to an animal where it has previously been used to identify another animal; landing at a harbour without permission a catch that includes unsorted fish. I could continue that extraordinary list of new offences.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in News and Parliament.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/6791 for Twitter and emails.

5 Comments

  • Elizabeth Patterson 6th Dec '08 - 7:28pm

    Stephen,
    It must be intuition, but I was just about to offer (a first) posting on exactly this delicious exchange between Chris Huhne and the tremulous Straw.

    My offer arose because, after the alleged comments by our leader I decided to run through Hansard and find out what the mentioned MPs were doing in the daily slog of their portfolios.
    I thought this one a real gem. For other readers it can be found on the parliament website, 04 Dec.2008, 1.28pm.Hansard Column 172.
    My favourite was “offering for sale a game bird killed on a Sunday or Christmas Day”

    I thought Chris made an elegant meal of Straw, who saw no humour in any of this;

    “The hon. gentlemen is either making a trivial debating point or a serious point”

    And ended up by asking us to provide a list of the 3,600 offences and suggest which we thought should be scrapped!

    Elizabeth

  • Chris Stanbra 6th Dec '08 - 8:46pm

    I watched bits of this too and thought that Straw’s request for a list of those offences Chris H wanted rid of was the last refuge of a scoundrel (this from a man who I consider the only Labour big hitter worthy of any sort of admiration). I thought Chris had him on the ropes.

  • Hywel Morgan 6th Dec '08 - 11:11pm

    “Some of these offences are completely bizarre—for example, the offence of causing a nuclear explosion.”

    This was passed in the post 9/11 “emergency” anti-terrorism legislation which David Blunkett said was urgently needed to close loopholes.

    There area AIUI (and I’ve never tracked things through to check) some offences which have been repealed without ever coming into force.

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Dec '08 - 9:19pm

    Switching the ear tag of an animal which has been declared disease-free to one which hasn’t?

    Fishing out endangered species and hiding what you’ve done in an “unsorted” batch?

    Spreading salmonella by interfering with eggs declared as contaminated with it?

    Gaining some advantage by claiming qualifications you don’t have?

    Sorry, these things don’t look “completely bizarre” to me.

    I’m happy if the argument is that they’re all covered by other laws, there isn’t the need to introduce the new specific offences, but, I’m sorry, the “ha ha, isn’t this funny?” line suggests to me someone who hasn’t thought through the rather serious issues that might be behind these things.

  • Hywel Morgan 7th Dec '08 - 10:58pm

    Surely the fishing one is European legislation which the UK can’t repeal anyway? Or is this a bit of gilting legislation?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?




Recent Comments

  • User Avatarpeter tyzack 27th Aug - 9:30am
    we could usefully start by teaching our broadcast media the differences between the terms they seem to use without any understanding themselves .. and ensure...
  • User AvatarJennie 27th Aug - 9:27am
    Cabinetmakers??? Fascinating. #DamnYouAutocorrect #DamnYouSwipeKeyboard
  • User AvatarJennie 27th Aug - 9:25am
    BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MENS? Am I first? ;) Like Dave I have found this series of articles both cabinetmakers and useful. Thank you for...
  • User AvatarDave Page 27th Aug - 9:22am
    I've really appreciated this series of articles. I look forward to getting more involved with LDW at Glasgow Conference.
  • User AvatarRC 27th Aug - 8:55am
    "The last Labour government introduced Regional Development Agencies which were beginning to show signs of bucking the London-centric trend before they were scrapped by this...
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 27th Aug - 8:34am
    @George Potter No, the 'on demand' policy adopted by the party is a complete mess. It won't work. The last time serious devolution was on...