I wrote here about how the Government was forced to drop proposals for registration and monitoring of home education on April 7th 2010.
People tell me this was “only because it ran out of time” or “if it hadn’t been for the wash-up, all this would have become law”. In this scenario, all that a future government has to do is to get things started earlier.
I don’t believe it was just because the government ran out of time.
Lord Lucas made public reference to the wash up in his blog for November 2009 where he said “I look to my front bench to confirm that they will kill Schedule 1 in the washup.”
You can read more about the wash up process here
Until recently, the timing of the General Election was dependent on the Prime Minister. It could be sprung early as a surprise, or delayed till the last possible moment. This arrangement brings uncertainty over which legislation will have time to finish going through parliament. Once the election is called, there is a scramble to get as much finished as possible. There might only be a few days between an election being announced and parliament being dissolved. The Government has to negotiate much more with the Opposition and give up some elements of a Bill in order to get other parts through.
Some Bills are dropped altogether, for example one of the items lost in the wash up of 2005 was the School Transport Bill which was being handled by Penny Jones, the same civil servant who was piloting the Badman proposals.
I commented on a blog March 1st 2010 [now deleted] about Ed Balls that “it makes sense for the Secretary of State to hang on to the home education clauses in the Bill right up to the wash-up and only give them up at that point in return for being allowed to keep other stuff.”
It turns out the wash up is still set to take place at the end of this parliament, but it will be much less of a carve up because of the new fixed term parliament. Read more here