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 meeting, hosted by the House of Lords and chaired by the Senior Deputy Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, along with the Acting Chair of the EU Committee, Lord Jay of Ewelme, is the first of what is intended to be series of regular interparliamentary meetings as the Brexit process develops.
The attendees, representing committees scrutinising different aspects of Brexit from the House of Lords, House of Commons, Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales, agreed the following statement.
"Today, we the Chairs, Conveners and representatives of Committees scrutinising Brexit-related issues in the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales, House of Commons and House of Lords, met at the House of Lords for the first meeting of a new Interparliamentary Forum on Brexit, to discuss the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and our collective scrutiny of that process. Officials from the Northern Ireland Assembly were in attendance as observers.
"The Brexit process is unprecedentedly complex and, notwithstanding our different political positions and perspectives on Brexit, as parliamentarians in our respective legislatures we face common challenges: seeking to ensure the best outcome for the people and communities we represent; holding the UK and devolved governments to account for their role in the process; scrutinising the effects of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and related legislation, including the legislative consent process; understanding the implications of Brexit for the future of the devolution settlements; and seeking to determine the nature of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
"Today has been an opportunity to learn about the work that each of our Committees and legislatures is undertaking; to share information and experiences; and to consider how we can best work together in the months to come as the Brexit process moves forward. We met Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Exiting the EU, and have made clear to him the UK Government’s responsibility to ensure that the interests of the whole of the UK, and of each of its constituent parts and nations, are fully taken into account during this process. Therefore it is essential that DExEU Ministers are available to give evidence to all parliamentary committees with a role in scrutinising the Brexit process and the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.
"There remains much uncertainty about how the Brexit process will develop over the coming months. We therefore propose to meet again early in 2018, and at regular intervals thereafter, to work together as parliamentarians to review the progress of both the negotiations and the parallel domestic legislation."