Procedure Committee (Commons)

Exiting the European Union: scrutiny of delegated legislation inquiry

Inquiry status: open - accepting written submissions

Interim report published

Scope of the inquiry

Issues of interest to the Committee arising from the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill:

Provisions of the Bill:

  • The scope of the delegated powers claimed in Clauses 7, 8 and 9 of the Bill, and the appropriateness or otherwise of the Ministerial discretion afforded in the exercise of such powers.
  • The adequacy of the mechanism for determining whether any proposed secondary legislation should be handled under the affirmative procedure or the negative procedure (paragraphs 1 (1)-(3) of Schedule 7 to the Bill, and cognate provisions in that Schedule).
  • The breadth of the discretion afforded to Ministers in determining the procedure to apply (paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 7), and the present practice of Ministers in determining the procedure applicable to secondary legislation transposing EU Directives under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972
  • Requirements on Ministers to provide information to Parliament on the nature and effect of all proposals for amendment of primary and secondary legislation under the delegated powers in the Bill.
  • The adequacy of requirements in the Bill for Ministers to demonstrate the appropriateness and necessity of each exercise of the powers claimed.
  • The adequacy of the statutory procedures set out in the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 to handle the anticipated scope and volume of delegated legislation proposed, and whether a revised or enhanced procedure would be more appropriate.
  • The appropriateness of the time limits on the powers claimed in Clauses 7, 8 and 9 respectively.
  • The Government’s approach to establishing the balance between sufficient scrutiny of delegated legislation and efficient management of the legislative change required.
  • The appropriateness of the provision of scrutiny procedures for urgent legislative change in connection with the implementation of any withdrawal agreement.
  • The prospects for any continued delegated powers required to ensure that UK legislation continues to operate in line with EU legislation, in circumstances where this meets the Government’s policy objectives

Arrangements for scrutiny of delegated legislation in the House of Commons:

  • The merits and possible mode of operation of a ‘sifting committee’ to determine the level of scrutiny appropriate to each instrument proposed under delegated powers.
  • Whether it is necessary to provide for a procedure which allows formal consideration and amendment of proposed legislative changes before they are presented to both Houses for approval.
  • Whether Commons procedures for consideration of instruments subject to affirmative resolution is appropriate and adequate for examining proposed legislative changes of the nature described in paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 7 to the Bill.
  • Whether Commons procedures and conventions for consideration of instruments subject to negative resolution are appropriate to the potential scope of legislative change proposed to be made by negative instruments under the Bill.
  • What implications there are for the scrutiny capacity and resource of the House of any net increase in the volume and scope of delegated legislation for approval.
Terms of reference Send a written submission


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