DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Do the courts now run this country?

In 1952, the then Lord Chancellor took the Court of Appeal to task for suggesting judges should be able to 'iron out the creases' of legislation they considered unclear.

This, said Lord Simonds, was a 'naked usurpation' of Parliament. The will of politicians and those who elect them should not be frustrated by a meddling judiciary.

If only the Supreme Court saw fit to exercise such restraint today. Not content with driving a coach and horses through our immigration and benefits systems, it has now fixed its sights on climate policy.

In an incendiary ruling, the court has put the emergency brakes on proposals to expand a small oilfield in Surrey.

Because council chiefs took into account only the emissions from the drilling itself, but not the future pollution produced when oil from the site was burned elsewhere – by motorists, for instance – judges effectively revoked planning permission.

In 1952, the then Lord Chancellor took the Court of Appeal to task for suggesting judges should be able to 'iron out the creases' of legislation they considered unclear. This, said Lord Simonds (pictured above), was a 'naked usurpation' of Parliament

In 1952, the then Lord Chancellor took the Court of Appeal to task for suggesting judges should be able to 'iron out the creases' of legislation they considered unclear. This, said Lord Simonds (pictured above), was a 'naked usurpation' of Parliament

Victorious environmental activists are whooping with delight. But this perverse decision is grim news for everybody else.

On a practical level, the verdict will make it more difficult to extract British fossil fuels, such as from under the North Sea.

Oil and gas firms will think twice about new projects if green activists are emboldened to unleash a torrent of costly lawsuits.

As a result, it will be harder for the UK to keep the lights on. It will cost jobs, investment and billions in tax revenues.

And it will undermine our energy security, making us dangerously reliant on imports in an unstable world (which will, with depressing irony, push up carbon emissions).

But the Supreme Court making and unmaking the law is also troubling on another level: it downgrades democracy.

While the dangers of global warming are not in doubt, policy should be decided by public debate, as opposed to judicial diktat.

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Labour accused of imposing 'first-time buyers tax' - after Keir Starmer confirmed his party will not match the Tory commitment to abolish stamp duty

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Politicians should be held to account for their decisions by the electorate at the ballot box, not a court answering cases brought by a handful of applicants with axes to grind.

Sadly, such egregious judicial overreach has not happened by accident. What we are now reaping is the full-on, anti-democratic effect of Tony Blair's constitutional vandalism, after Labour's landslide in 1997.

His reforms – the Supreme Court, Human Rights Act, Equality Act and so on – stole political power from ordinary people, and transferred it to unelected and unaccountable lawyers, judges and technocrats. Their tentacles are stretching ever more deeply into our lives.

The tragedy is the Tories have had 14 years to dismantle these nefarious laws and bodies – but have accepted them like some obedient poodle.

This would only get worse under a Starmer government. The lawyer-turned-functionary makes no bones about wanting to entrench and advance Blair's revolution.

Giving Labour the keys to No 10 might not be the death of genuine democracy – but it would hammer another nail in its coffin.

A few home truths 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on Question Times leaders debate

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on Question Times leaders debate

Few could argue with Sir Keir Starmer's promise to build vast numbers of homes to help people priced out of the soaring housing market.

But millions will be horrified by how Labour apparently plans to fulfil this commitment. The party will 'flatten the green belt', according to one of its officials.

Yes, it must stand up to noisy NIMBYs who oppose housebuilding anywhere near them. But concreting over our countryside is categorically not the answer.

The truth is, until a government gets a grip on mass immigration – which adds 670,000 to the population every year – it won't solve the housing crisis. It will forever chase its tail.

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