So, given the apparent threat Sharia law poses to every man, woman and child in our country– not to mention the danger it poses to our democracy – could Sharia law ever become UK law?
The answer is: NO. This would require a series of events so improbable they are impossible; they would effectively have zero probability. People who propound this myth have a limited (at best) understanding of how British laws are produced and ratified. To understand why Sharia law could never be replace UK law requires looking at the legislative process.
The legislative process: how laws are made
A law starts its life as a Bill, either introduced by the government (a government sponsored Bill) or introduced by an MP in the House of Commons or a Peer in the House of Lords (a private member’s Bill.) All Bills have to pass through both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It’s finally made an Act of Parliament by the Queen giving it her Royal Assent.
A) A Bill that starts in the House of Commons
A1) First Reading: this is a formal introduction of the Bill into the House of Commons. No debate takes place at this stage.
A2) Second Reading: this is where the Bill is debated for the first time. The general principles of the Bill are examined here. The MPs decide by vote whether the Bill can go on to the next stage.
A3) Committee Stage: a detailed examination of the Bill is carried out at this stage. All the clauses attached to the Bill are scrutinised.
A4) Report Stage: the Bill is passed back to the House of Commons. Further amendments and/or clauses can be added at this point.
A5) Third Reading: this stage provides the final chance for debate on the Bill. The House decides on whether to pass the Bill, again by vote, at this point.
If the Bill started in the House of Commons it is sent to the House of Lords; if it started in the House of Lords it is sent to the House of Commons for the next series of readings in the legislative process.
B) The Bill is then sent to The House of Lords
The Bill, at this point goes through the same stages as happened in the House of Commons: First Reading; Second Reading; Committee Stage; Report Stage and Third Reading:
C) The Bill is finally returned to the House of Commons
C1) the House of Commons considers the amendments suggested by the Lords. Once the exact wording is agreed upon the Bill is ready for its final stage.
D) Royal Assent
The Bill, which by now has passed through both Houses, must be made into an Act of Parliament by being given the Monarch’s Royal Assent.
Given the steps in the legislative process the introduction of Sharia law faces a number of problems:
1) The MP problem:
A Bill would have to be drafted by an MP who supported the introduction of Sharia law. This MP’s election to the House of Commons is itself predicated on being elected by voters who themselves wanted Sharia law. Obviously, this would mean a constituency with a large number of Muslim voters who supported stoning, amputation or beheading for certain crimes.
As of 2010 there are 8 Muslim MPs out of a total of 650 MPs in the House of Commons. This means that 1.23% of the total number of MPs in the House of Commons is a Muslim. However, Muslims make up approximately 3% of the UK population. Muslims are therefore underrepresented in the House of Commons by roughly 1.77% To accurately reflect the number of Muslims in the UK the amount of Muslims in the House of Commons would need to increase by a factor of roughly 1½. This would mean an increase of approximately 14 MPs to bring the total to 20. This is just to be fairly represented in the House of Commons.
To introduce Sharia law– or an aspect of it – and have that law passed during the votes that take place at stages A2 and A5 (see above) the number of MPs in the Commons would need to be a majority. In real terms this would mean having 326 Islamic extremist MPs, voted in by an electorate who believed in Sharia law. This would require a 4000% increase in the number of Muslim MPs, all of whom wanted Sharia Law in the UK. As of 2010, there are 0 MPs, Muslim or otherwise, who want Sharia law.
2) The Drafting Problem:
Before a Bill is introduced in the First Reading it is drafted. This enables departmental select committees, or joint committees of Lords and MPs, to have an early influence on the Bill. A Bill which called for, for instance, the introduction of stoning as a punishment for adultery could not make it past this pre-legislative scrutiny. As of 2010, there are 0 MPs, Muslim or otherwise, who would be willing to draft a Bill supporting Sharia law.
3) The Votes Problem:
If, hypothetically, the Bill got past the drafting and First Reading stages it would still need to be debated and pass the vote at the Second Reading. The same is true for the Third Reading. This would require the Bill to be assented to by half the House. Currently that would need 326 MPs who supported, for instance, beheading for apostasy or amputation for stealing. Without this majority these punishments will never come into force. As already mentioned above, this would require a 4000% increase in the number of Muslim MPs, all of whom wanted Sharia Law in the UK. As of 2010, there are 0 MPs, Muslim or otherwise, who want Sharia law.
4) The Royal Assent problem:
To become an Act of Parliament the Bill must be given Royal Assent. To introduce Sharia law would require the reigning monarch to be an Islamic extremist. But the Queen is an enemy of Islamaccording to one group of extremists, while her future heir is a Colonel in a regiment that’s fighting another group of extremists. Neither are likely to become Islamic extremists, and neither are likely to give their Royal Assent to Sharia law.
Sharia law will never supplant the law of the land. Our whole legal system, from the introduction of the Bill to the ratification by the Queen, prevents it. It is a logical and practical impossibility. The only people who believe that Sharia law could become UK law are extremists: Islamist extremists such as Anjem Choudhary and Muslims Against the Crusades; right-wing extremists like ‘Tommy Robinson’ and the English Defence League. One is protesting for, and the other against, an impossibility. Both groups are delusional.
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