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Why it took fewer pages to set out the laws Margaret Thatcher’s government passed

Andy McSmith

thatcher 225x300 Why it took fewer pages to set out the laws Margaret Thatchers government passedIn the Lords yesterday, the former Tory MP Michael Bates was lamenting that we are governed by too many laws. All the statutes passed during the reigns of all the monarchs from King John to King George VI filled 26 volumes of that authoritative compendium, Halesbury’s Statutes. The laws passed during the current 60 year reign fill 48 volumes. As a Tory, Lord Bates was first delighted and then disillusioned as he examined evidence that this process may have been briefly reversed under Margaret Thatcher, who had vowed to roll back the frontiers of the state.

“One gets a momentary frisson of Thatcherite zeal when one comes to 1986-87 and sees that the tide of legislation momentarily abates, before resuming its upward course,” Lord Bates said. “Then one looks at the footnotes and finds that it was in that year that the Queen’s printer moved from using the A5 page size to A4.”

So, Thatcher’s laws filled fewer pages because they doubled the page size.

  • Junius

    Seventy-five per cent of Britain’s laws are today made by those Tyrannical Masters in Brussels, as any UKIP supporter will tell you. So whether they are printed on A5 or A4 sized paper is really neither here nor there.

    If you are thinking of going along to the launch of your esteemed colleague John Rentoul’s updated biography Tony Blair: Prime Minister (with 20,000-word Afterword) could you try and filch a copy for me? There’s a fiver in it.

  • Hill244

    Blair/Brown passed 3500+ new laws effectively ending civil liberty in Britain.

  • martin_lowe

    Except that quote about 75% of laws coming from Brussels is a whopping great lie (Farage nicked it wholesale from a German local government official and never bothered to see if it applies to the UK).


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