Letter: The Social Chapter and the rule of law

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Government's new legal advice on amendment 27 to the Maastricht Bill should not be allowed artificially to foreclose parliamentary discussion of the desirability of signing the Social Chapter. With ingenuity, there must be a way of compelling the Government to bow to the will of Parliament.

Suppose that the coming into force of the legislation were made conditional upon the UK signing the Social Chapter? All that would be required would be an amendment to the commencement clause of the Bill to delay its implementation until that event. A commencement clause of this kind would be novel certainly, but I doubt if even the law officers would advise it to be ineffective. Perhaps some obliging backbencher will test the water?

Yours faithfully,


Newcastle Law School

The University

Newcastle upon Tyne

16 February