The European Union Committee launches a new inquiry into Brexit: devolution.
Scope of the inquiry
The inquiry will consider the political and economic implications of Brexit for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and on the devolution settlement as a whole. It will consider the process by which responsibility for current EU competences that cover devolved matters will be transferred to the devolved institutions; the extent to which the devolved institutions have the capacity and resources to cope with these additional responsibilities; and what the repatriation of powers from the EU to the devolved institutions will mean for the balance of power between the UK Government and Parliament and the devolved bodies.
In addition, the Committee will assess how the UK Government should seek to reflect the interests of each of the devolved jurisdictions in the forthcoming negotiations, and whether existing mechanisms for intergovernmental and interparliamentary dialogue between Whitehall, Westminster and the devolved jurisdictions are sufficient to deal with the challenge of Brexit.
The inquiry will begin with a Committee visit to Edinburgh on 1 February, when it will hear evidence on the situation in Scotland. It will then visit Cardiff on 7 February. In light of the forthcoming Assembly election, the Committee is not able to visit Northern Ireland at the present time. However, the inquiry will take account of the evidence heard in Belfast in October in relation to the Committee’s previous inquiry into Brexit: UK-Irish relations, and will also hear from experts on the situation in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland in further sessions in London, to be announced shortly.
The Committee welcomes the views of stakeholders on the issues outlined below. Any submissions should be sent to the Committee, at email@example.com, no later than 3 March 2017.
- What are the political, economic and legal implications for the devolved nations and regions of the UK of the Brexit model the UK Government is pursuing?
- Is it possible to respect the referendum result while at the same taking into account the divergent views of voters across the constituent parts of the UK?
- Both from the point of view of the UK and other EU Member States, is it possible for the nations and regions of the UK to have a differentiated future relationship with the EU, or is a consistent approach across the UK the only viable solution?
- Which EU competences should be transferred to the devolved administrations after Brexit, and how and when should such powers be transferred? Should any powers currently reserved to the UK Government be devolved as a consequence of Brexit?
- What steps need to be taken to ensure that the devolved institutions have sufficient capacity and resource to take on such additional responsibilities?
- How should the UK Government take into account and reflect the interests of the devolved institutions, including through the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations?
- Are existing mechanisms for interparliamentary dialogue between Westminster and the devolved legislatures sufficient to deal with the challenge of Brexit? If not, what new structures are needed?
- What are the current mechanisms for direct engagement between the devolved administrations and the EU? How these will be affected by Brexit?