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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The sovereignty of Parliament

My heart stopped when I just read the following words on BBC News ( "In the Commons on Tuesday, MPs will vote on an amendment to the Marriage Bill, put forward by the Humanist Association, to allow recognised groups to officiate at marriage ceremonies." I didn't know that there was an MP called the Humanist Association - what party is s/he? I'm all for lobbying by groups like the Humanist Association, but MPs' role is to seriously consider such groups' competing arguments and then to reflect those arguments in proposed amendments. The reference to "an amendment...put forward by the Humanist Association" is a little blatant for my liking. I know the world, but can we not at least maintain the pretence that MPs are deciding these things independently? Lobbyists must never be seen to over-reach themselves in terms of influence. My criticism of this BBC report's language is not meant to imply criticism of the Humanist Association or of its amendment. I remain a convinced supporter of marriage equality: and I would love to have been there to vote for it today.

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