The Interparliamentary forum on Brexit, bringing together parliamentarians from Westminster and the devolved legislatures, held its eighth meeting at the House of Commons on 5 September 2019.
The House of Lords European Union Committee, in its report on Brexit: devolution, recommended that the structures for interparliamentary dialogue within the United Kingdom should be strengthened, to support more effective scrutiny of the Government's handling of Brexit. This led to the formation of the Interparliamentary Forum on Brexit, comprising the Chairs and Convenors of Committees scrutinising Brexit-related issues in the House of Commons, House of Lords, Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and, as and when the power-sharing institutions are restored, the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Forum held its first meeting in October 2017.
This eighth meeting was hosted by the House of Commons and chaired by Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. The European Union Committee was represented by the Earl of Kinnoull and Lord Jay of Ewelme.
Participants agreed the following statement after the forum:
There remains great uncertainty about how the Brexit process will develop. The Forum’s strength is in its ability to bring together Members of differing political backgrounds from across the UK to discuss important questions relating to Brexit and devolution. The Forum has written to the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove, to reiterate its recommendations for the UK and devolved parliaments to have a role in scrutinising intergovernmental relations as part of the JMC review.
We had a productive discussion on the importance of developing mechanisms for greater parliamentary scrutiny of governments in their negotiation of future international treaties and other agreements including the importance of timely and regular information sharing with regards to the UK governments’ negotiating mandate.
The Forum agreed that parliamentary scrutiny of international treaties is a matter for all of the legislatures of the UK and have asked officials to consider models for scrutiny across the legislatures.
We intend to meet again in Cardiff in November 2019.