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European Scrutiny Committee launches inquiry examining post-Brexit scrutiny of EU law and policy

02 July 2019

Background

The UK will leave the EU on 31 October, unless a further extension to Article 50 is agreed or the Article 50 notification is revoked before then. When the UK leaves the EU, it will no longer participate in EU institutions and decision-making structures. The EU Treaties and laws made under them will no longer apply directly in the UK as a matter of EU law, but this does not mean they will have no effect in the UK.

Purpose of the inquiry

Ahead of the UK’s departure, the European Scrutiny Committee today launches an inquiry examining post-Brexit parliamentary scrutiny of EU laws and policies. The inquiry will explore how EU laws and policies may continue to affect the UK after it has left the EU—with or without a deal—and what changes may be needed to the current system of scrutiny.

The former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab MP committed in writing to “support and facilitate a strong parliamentary scrutiny process for as long as EU legislation will continue to affect the UK”, but exactly what this will look like remains unclear. The inquiry will consider how the existing mechanisms for scrutinising EU law and policy—which have remained largely unchanged since the 1970s—might need to be adapted to best reflect the UK’s new status outside the bloc.

Terms of reference

The Committee’s inquiry will examine the following areas:

  • How the UK’s exit from the EU will affect the current system for scrutinising EU law and policy and what changes might be needed
  • Whether and how EU laws and policies might affect the UK after Brexit
  • What the purpose of scrutiny of EU law and policy should be in a post-exit world
  • What action the Government should take to “support and facilitate a strong parliamentary scrutiny process” post-exit
  • What form scrutiny should take to maximise its effectiveness.

The Committee would welcome written submissions on any of the inquiry’s key areas, particularly case studies that shine a light on how EU laws and polices might affect the UK under the range of possible Brexit outcomes. A detailed Call for Evidence can be found on the European Scrutiny Committee website.

Chair's comments

Launching the inquiry, Committee Chairman Sir William Cash MP said:

“Brexit represents a watershed moment not only in the history of the United Kingdom, but in the relationship between Parliament and Government.

“For four decades, this Committee and its predecessors have scrutinised the role that EU legislation plays in UK law, as well as the Government’s role in shaping it.

“My Committee’s inquiry will examine how Brexit will affect the current scrutiny system, whether and how EU laws and policies will continue to affect the UK, and how best to enable Parliament to continue to carry out this essential task.”

Details of public evidence sessions will be announced in due course. 

Further information

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