The future of British Law lies in a quiet back street of MK

editorial image

A 150-year-old company in a back street of Newport Pagnell is set to spark a worldwide protest against the House of Lords.

A 150-year-old company in a back street of Newport Pagnell is set to spark a worldwide protest against the House of Lords.

Parchment makers William Cowley supply the special calfskin vellum upon which every important Act of Parliament is printed.

But now penny-saving peers have voted to scrap the use of vellum and substitute plain paper.

This changing face of the law would not only be a disaster for British history, but a false economy in the long-term, says city MP Mark Lancaster.

He is lobbying the House of Lords to continue the £47,000 a year contract with Cowley’s, which is the only parchment and vellum manufacturer in the UK.

And he is demanding that the issue, which has caused outrage as far afield as America, be put to the vote in the House of Commons.

“I think the House of Lords is being incredibly short-sighted,” he told the Citizen.

The savings involved in the switch from animal skin to paper would be around £27,000.

But the storage cost of paper is significantly higher than virtually indestructible vellum, which was used to make the Magna Carta.

Said Mark: “Without vellum people would not be able to see and touch historic documents.”