Ministers have withdrawn 18 bodies from the Public Bodies Bill, which contains the list of 192 bodies to be abolished or scrapped and the 118 to be merged. The Parole Board, the Criminal Cases Review Commission and the Surveillance Commissioners have been withdrawn along with bodies that select judges, draw up sentencing guidelines and investigate miscarriages of justice in England and Wales.
The government amendment of the Public Bodies Bill followed concerns raised in the House of Lords, after peers expressed fears that the proposed cull could put the independence of the judiciary at risk. Liberal Democrat peer Lord Goodhart welcomed the change of heart:
“I thought a lot of the proposals in the bill were wrong but I thought this was the worst of them, because it is an absolutely essential part of our constitution now that it should be a role of an independent body to select the judicial appointments,” he said.