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 second meeting, hosted by the House of Lords and chaired by the Senior Deputy Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, is the latest in a series of regular interparliamentary meetings as the Brexit process develops.
The attendees 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 second meeting of the 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 Interparliamentary Forum was established out of recognition that, 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.
As the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill completes its House of Commons stages, today’s meeting provided a timely opportunity for us to share information on the work that each of our Committees and legislatures is undertaking. We have focused in particular on the implications of Clause 11 of the Bill for the devolution settlements, and discussions on potential future UK-wide frameworks, and we recognise the strong views of members of the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales on these issues. We met Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution, Cabinet Office, and have made clear to her our various perspectives on these important questions. We urge the Government to take all of these points of view into account as the House of Lords begins its scrutiny of the legislation in the coming weeks.
The Forum will meet again in March 2018, when we will again review the progress of the Brexit negotiations and the parallel domestic legislation.”
Image: Parliamentary Copyright