Not that we ever thought that Jezza and McDonnell had a great deal of respect for democracy itself – certainly not if the peeps don’t support the revolution – but there’s something about this desire of theirs to declare a climate emergency which worries. Because, under the Civil Contingencies Act, a declaration of an emergency means the entire suspension of democracy and the rule of law. No, really, Ministers get to tell us what to do and that’s that.
Which is a pretty cool way of dealing with Brexit really, isn’t it?
Labour forces Commons vote to declare a ‘climate emergency’
Jeremy Corbyn has praised the “inspiring climate activism” seen in recent weeks and says it is a “wake-up call”.
MPs will vote this week on whether to declare an environmental and climate emergency following mass protests over political inaction in addressing the crisis. Labour will force a Commons vote on the issue, one of the key demands of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement, whose activists paralysed parts of London in previous weeks. Jeremy Corbyn said he hoped other countries would follow if the UK Parliament became the first in the world to declare a climate emergency.
The thing is an emergency is rather important as a declaration. The Act:
Meaning of “emergency”
(1) In this Part “emergency” means—
(a) an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in the
United Kingdom or in a Part or region,
(b) an event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment of the
United Kingdom or of a Part or region, or
(c) war, or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to the security of the United
Well, that is what they’re saying, isn’t it? And what’s the implication of it being declared?
Scope of emergency regulations
(1) Emergency regulations may make any provision which the person making the
regulations is satisfied is appropriate for the purpose of preventing, controlling or
mitigating an aspect or effect of the emergency in respect of which the regulations are
(2) In particular, emergency regulations may make any provision which the person making
the regulations is satisfied is appropriate for the purpose of—
(a) protecting human life, health or safety,
(b) treating human illness or injury,
(c) protecting or restoring property,
(d) protecting or restoring a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel,
(e) protecting or restoring a system of communication,
(f) protecting or restoring facilities for transport,
(g) protecting or restoring the provision of services relating to health,
(h) protecting or restoring the activities of banks or other financial institutions,
(i) preventing, containing or reducing the contamination of land, water or air,
(j) preventing, reducing or mitigating the effects of disruption or destruction of
plant life or animal life,
(k) protecting or restoring activities of Parliament, of the Scottish Parliament, of
the Northern Ireland Assembly or of the National Assembly for Wales, or
(l) protecting or restoring the performance of public functions.
Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (c. 36)
Part 2 – Emergency powers
Document Printed: 2010-10-22
Changes to legislation: There are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk
editorial team to Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Any changes that have already been made by the
team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. (See end of Document for details)
(3) Emergency regulations may make provision of any kind that could be made by Act of
Parliament or by the exercise of the Royal Prerogative; in particular, regulations may—
(a) confer a function on a Minister of the Crown, on the Scottish Ministers, on
the National Assembly for Wales, on a Northern Ireland department, on a
coordinator appointed under section 24 or on any other specified person (and
a function conferred may, in particular, be—
(i) a power, or duty, to exercise a discretion;
(ii) a power to give directions or orders, whether written or oral);
(b) provide for or enable the requisition or confiscation of property (with or without
(c) provide for or enable the destruction of property, animal life or plant life (with
or without compensation);
(d) prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, movement to or from a specified place;
(e) require, or enable the requirement of, movement to or from a specified place;
(f) prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, assemblies of specified kinds, at specified
places or at specified times;
(g) prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, travel at specified times;
(h) prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, other specified activities;
(i) create an offence of—
(i) failing to comply with a provision of the regulations;
(ii) failing to comply with a direction or order given or made under the
(iii) obstructing a person in the performance of a function under or by virtue
of the regulations;
(j) disapply or modify an enactment or a provision made under or by virtue of an
(k) require a person or body to act in performance of a function (whether the
function is conferred by the regulations or otherwise and whether or not the
regulations also make provision for remuneration or compensation);
(l) enable the Defence Council to authorise the deployment of Her Majesty’s
(m) make provision (which may include conferring powers in relation to property)
for facilitating any deployment of Her Majesty’s armed forces;
(n) confer jurisdiction on a court or tribunal (which may include a tribunal
established by the regulations);
(o) make provision which has effect in relation to, or to anything done in—
(i) an area of the territorial sea,
(ii) an area within British fishery limits, or
(iii) an area of the continental shelf;
(p) make provision which applies generally or only in specified circumstances or
for a specified purpose;
(q) make different provision for different circumstances or purposes.
Basically, they can do absolutely anything they damn well want to.
So, to the interesting question. This climate emergency that Labour wants to declare. Is it an emergency as defined under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004? And thus the end to democracy, liberty, freedom and our delivery into the clutches of the eco-fascists? Or it it a bit of blow hard puffery of no real meaning at all?
Inquiring minds would like to know, eh?
Update – I have asked the Labour Party press office and the bird on the line didn’t have a clue. An email inquiry is unanswered 24 hours later.