Should we be afraid of Henry VIII powers?

The inclusion of Henry VIII powers in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill has raised fears that ministers will use them to downgrade environmental protections

Portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger. Photograph: Google Art ProjectThe inclusion of Henry VIII powers in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill has raised fears that ministers will use them to downgrade environmental protections.

The clauses give ministers limited powers to amend bills after they have been passed by parliament. They are named after the Statute of Proclamations 1539, which gave the ability to legislate by proclamation to King Henry VIII (pictured), a tyrant who debased the currency to such an extent he earned the nickname “coppernose”.

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