08/29/2004: Interesting development in the UK
Accountability is the lifeblood of democracy. Why should the public bother getting involved in politics if ministers can lead us into war on a false prospectus and not even utter a single word of apology? So what remedy do parliament and people have in these desperate circumstances? Historically, impeachment has been used by parliament against individuals to punish "high crimes and misdemeanours".A good idea, I think. Pity we won't follow the example here. But, alas, Dubya didn't get a blowjob from an intern. He just lied his way into a war. No comparison there.
One MP is all it takes to make the accusation of high crimes and misdemeanours against a public official for an impeachment process to begin. Once an MP has presented his or her evidence of misconduct to the Commons in a debate, and if a majority of elected members agree there is a case to answer, a committee of MPs is established to draw up articles of impeachment, which will list each charge individually. The case goes before the Lords.
Three centuries ago the Commons called impeachment "the chief institution for the preservation of the government". It has been a key weapon in the long struggle of parliament against the abuse of executive power. It has been revived before, after long periods of disuse, when the executive's hold on power-without-responsibility seemed every bit as total as today.
Today a number of MPs, including myself, are declaring our intention to bring a Commons' motion of impeachment against the prime minister in relation to the invasion of Iraq. This is the first time in more than 150 years that such a motion has been brought against a minister of the crown, and it is clearly not an undertaking we enter into lightly. We do it with regret, but also with resolve. For our first duty is to the people we represent, who feel they were misled, whose trust was betrayed, who have been placed in harm's way by the irresponsible actions of this prime minister. It is in their name that we impeach him. It is in their name, and with all the authority vested in us, that we implore him now to go.
· Adam Price is Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
Len on 08.29.04 @ 06:48 PM CST