Well, I start from the proposition that what I call the imperative rule is articulated in statute, the Claim of Right Act 1689, the Bill of Rights. But I also respectfully adopt and accept the submissions that have already been made to the effect that it reflects a basic constitutional principle of our constitution.
Perhaps I can put it this way, that that principle enshrined in the 17th century constitutional statutes reflects and flows from a recognition of the proper institutional roles in a representative democracy as regards the law of the land of, on the one hand, the representative legislature and, on the other, the executive.
That remains the case, notwithstanding that the nature of the our representative democracy has changed since the 17th century, and indeed notwithstanding that today, by the will of Parliament, we have four representative legislatures in the United Kingdom. It is perhaps not an entirely incidental point that when the United Kingdom was founded in 1707, it was to Parliament and not to the Crown that the power to change the laws in use in Scotland was given. That is Article 18 of the Act of --