Westminster Weekly Update: Rishi Sunak becomes UK Prime Minister

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Read President Lubna Shuja’s blog post on the Law Society’s priorities for the new Prime Minister.

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1. Rishi Sunak becomes British Prime Minister

On Tuesday, Rishi Sunak entered Downing Street as Britain’s youngest modern-day prime minister and the first of Asian descent.

Sunak became the leader of the Conservative party on Monday. Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt dropped out of the contest, leaving him as the only remaining contestant.

After meeting King Charles III on Tuesday morning and receiving his permission to form a government, Sunak began assembling his new cabinet.

Tory MPs hope Sunak, who is seen as a fiscal conservative, will reassure markets and help contain borrowing rates and rising inflation.

Addressing the audience, Sunak said “The UK is a great country, but there is no doubt that we face a profound economic challenge. We need stability and unity now, and I will do of my absolute priority the bringing together of our party and our country”. .”

Labor and the Liberal Democrats argue there should be a general election.

2. Cabinet reshuffle: Sunak seeks unity

During this week, the new Prime Minister made ministerial appointments to form his government.

One of the main themes of the appointments is continuity, with a number of ministers retaining roles they previously held under Liz Truss or returning to roles they held under Boris Johnson.

Dominic Raab has been appointed Lord Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister, returning to the role he held before Johnson’s resignation.

Brandon Lewis, the former Lord Chancellor, has left the cabinet and will return to the back seats.

Raab is supported in the Ministry of Justice by two new Ministers of State, Damian Hinds and Ed Argar. Argar returns to the department in which he served as deputy minister from 2018 to 2019.

Mike Freer was reappointed as junior justice minister.

Victoria Prentis received a significant promotion becoming Attorney General. A lawyer by training, Prentis will be assisted by Michael Tomlinson, who has been reappointed Solicitor General.

Jeremy Hunt has been reappointed Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Suella Braverman has made a return to the post of interior secretary less than a week after being asked to resign by Liz Truss.

Grant Shapps is the new commercial secretary.

Kemi Badenoch remains International Trade Secretary.

David TC Davies has been appointed Secretary of State for Wales.

3. Parliament debates human rights reform

On Monday, MEPs gathered in a Westminster Hall Debate to discuss a petition urging Parliament to ensure that any changes to the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) do not result in less respect for people’s rights.

The debate was started by conservative Scott Benton, who did not believe that changes to the HRA would lead to a decline in respect for people’s rights.

He said the reforms would only bring “clarity to currently opaque human rights standards, particularly those imported and adopted from the European Convention on Human Rights”.

Most MPs present at the debate disagreed with Benton and expressed concerns about previous reform proposals, including the Bill of Rights.

Justice Committee chairman Sir Bob Neill said the Bill of Rights went far beyond manifesto commitments and went beyond sensible changes, “unnecessarily” undermining some of the practical workings of the convention rights for UK citizens.

Joanna Cherry, chair of the joint human rights committee, said the committee concluded that the HRA was working well and that the government had failed to advocate for the repeal and replacement of the HRA. by the Bill of Rights.

She said the government’s consultation ignored the views of a significant number of those consulted without explaining why, which calls into question the integrity of the entire consultation preceding the bill.

She said the committee found the bill therefore “neither democratic nor necessary”.

It remains to be seen whether returning Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab will re-table the Bill of Rights in the parliamentary calendar, or heed the advice of the select committee and rethink his proposals.

4. Successful EU Legislation Bill goes to second reading

The Successful EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill had his second reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday, October 25.

We briefed MPs ahead of the debate, highlighting our concerns that the Bill could see a major transformation of the UK law book resulting in a lack of legal certainty, undermining the UK’s position as a business environment internationally renowned and attractive.

We have also pointed out that the Bill raises questions for parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law in the UK. It sets an overambitious target of seeing most retained EU laws expire by the end of 2023.

Finally, we noted the potential impact of the legislation on the well-established rights of workers

During the debate, MPs from across the political spectrum raised concerns about the Bill’s impact on legal certainty in the UK and how it could affect business confidence and investment United Kingdom.

MPs also expressed reservations about the ministerial powers granted by the Bill and the potential effect on devolution agreements with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ministers responding on behalf of the government have claimed that the powers delegated in the bill will ensure that there will be no “legal vacuum” after certain retained EU laws are revoked.

They tried to reassure the House that the government will seek to maintain ‘vital protections’ for workers while minimizing ‘unnecessary burdens’.

The bill will now enter committee in the House of Commons on a date to be confirmed and we will continue to inform MPs of our concerns with the bill.

Coming

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced in a statement on Wednesday that the medium-term budget plan is postponed until November 17 and will be upgraded to a full autumn statement.

We will work closely with MPs and peers to influence a number of bills and inquiries:

National Security Bill: The bill will return to the Commons for report stage, date to be determined.

Upgrade and Regeneration Bill: Bill will return to the House of Commons for report stage, date to be determined

The Trade Bill (Australia and New Zealand): Bill will return to the House of Commons for report stage, date to be determined

Public Order Bill: The bill will return to the Lords for its second reading on November 1.

Northern Ireland Protocol Bill: The bill is currently before the Lords for its committee phase, which began on October 25.