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Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind to give evidence on parliamentary scrutiny to Lords Constitution Committee

The House of Lords Constitution Committee will hear from former foreign secretaries Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind on Wednesday 9 January as part of its inquiry on Parliamentary Scrutiny of Treaties. 

This inquiry has been launched to look at Parliament's current limited system of treaty scrutiny. The Committee is examining Parliament's role, and whether it is sufficiently robust to deal with potentially many more treaties after the UK leaves the EU. 

Speaking to the Committee at 10:45am will be: 

  • Rt Hon Jack Straw

Speaking to the Committee at 11.30am will be: 

  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Questions to both witnesses are likely to include: 

  • How effective is parliamentary scrutiny of treaties?
  • Is it appropriate that Parliament's role in the treaty-making process is limited to a “take it or leave it” vote after a treaty has been signed by the Government?
  • If Parliament played a more active role in the mandating and negotiating phases of the treaty process, to what extent would this help or hinder the Government? 
  • Has the influence and involvement of Number 10 and other government departments in the making of foreign policy changed how the Government negotiates treaties?
  • Does the loss of EU scrutiny processes post-Brexit require Parliament to create new scrutiny mechanisms of its own to replace them?
  • What role, if any, should the devolved governments and legislatures have in treaty negotiation and approval after Brexit?
  • To what extent is there a case for Parliament to scrutinise treaties post-implementation?

The session will begin at 10.45am in Committee Room 1.

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