What laws were enacted in the final days of Parliament?

Rishi Sunak has recently declared that an election will occur on 4 July, resulting in the closure of Parliament. This abrupt decision left the government with only two days to determine whether to push through their unfinished bills or abandon them. This phase is commonly referred to as “the wash-up”.

One of the vital bills impacted by this rush is the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which was intended to enforce the Prime Minister’s ambition of creating a smoke-free generation. This legislation, aimed at prohibiting individuals born after 2009 from purchasing cigarettes, faced obstacles in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Labour, in support of the proposal, may reintroduce the bill if they win the election.

Similarly, the Renters (Reform) Bill, promised by the Conservatives in their 2019 manifesto to outlaw no-fault evictions, encountered challenges with government backbenchers seeking more protections for landlords. Despite hopes for amendments, time constraints in the House of Lords hindered the bill’s passage.

Additionally, the government intended to establish an independent regulator to oversee football governance through the Sports Bill, which is now shelved. The government also proposed the Criminal Justice Bill, an extensive legislation covering a range of issues from police powers to bike accidents, which was left incomplete.

Other bills that were abandoned include the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, and the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill. On the contrary, bills such as the Leasehold and Freehold Bill – aimed at simplifying property management processes – and the Victims and Prisoners Bill – providing compensations for victims of the infected blood scandal – managed to pass through.

The episodes of bill incompletions and achievements reflect the challenging circumstances faced by Parliament during this sudden election period. The continuous quest for balance between timely legislations and comprehensive scrutinizing remains a significant challenge for the UK government.

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