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Henry VIII clauses

Selected letter H

‘Henry VIII clauses’ are clauses in a bill that enable ministers to amend or repeal provisions in an Act of Parliament using secondary legislation, which is subject to varying degrees of parliamentary scrutiny.

The Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee pays particular attention to any proposal in a bill to use a Henry VIII clause because of the way it shifts power to the executive.

The expression is a reference to King Henry VIII's supposed preference for legislating directly by proclamation rather than through Parliament.

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