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David Lidington and Alan Duncan to give evidence on treaty scrutiny after Brexit


The House of Lords Constitution Committee will hear from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, David Lidington MP, and Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, Sir Alan Duncan MP, on Wednesday 30 January as part of its inquiry on Parliamentary Scrutiny of Treaties.

Ministers may be asked about the information Government provides to Parliament about treaties and what powers Parliament should have to approve or reject treaties after Brexit. Following the Prime Minister's statement on 21 January that Parliament will be consulted on the negotiating mandate for a future treaty with the European Union, the Committee may seek to explore how the Government plans to involve MPs and Lords in the process.

Also on 21 January, the House of Lords voted to make the passage of the Trade Bill – one of the important pieces of Brexit-related legislation – conditional on the Government setting out how Parliament and the devolved legislatures would be involved in the negotiation and agreement of future treaties. Ministers may be asked how they will respond to this challenge.

The Committee's inquiry has been launched to look at Parliament's current limited system of treaty scrutiny and explore how it could be strengthened to deal with potentially many more treaties after the UK leaves the EU.  

Questions for David Lidington and Alan Duncan are likely to include:

  • What are the consequences of Brexit for the nature and volume of UK treaty-making in the future?
  • Is it right that treaties receive significantly less parliamentary scrutiny and approval than primary legislation and affirmative statutory instruments?
  • Should some or all treaties require the express approval of the House of Commons?
  • What impact would there be on the Government's treaty-making activity if there was increased parliamentary scrutiny and engagement?
  • The Prime Minister's statement to the House of Commons on Monday 21 January said that there will be consultation with Parliament on the negotiating mandate for the UK's future partnership with the EU. How will this work in practice?
  • How should the devolved executives and legislatures be involved in treaty-making and scrutiny? How do you see the Sewel Convention applying to treaties?

The session will begin at 10.15am in Committee Room 1.

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