A statutory instrument (SI), a type of secondary legislation, is a law created under powers given by an Act of Parliament. It is used to fill in the details of Acts (primary legislation).
The proposed SIs make changes to laws on:
- Investment schemes and long-term funds
- Financial markets and insolvency
- Over-the-counter derivatives, counterparties and trade repositories
- Data protection and electronic communication
- Listings of securities, prospectus and transparency
- Benchmarking amendments and transitional provisions
- Disclosure of information on public records
The Brexit SIs under examination on Monday 18 February were all made under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and are changes to the law to be made in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
In addition to the EU exit regulations, the House also debated three other SIs on retail and insurance-based investment products, data protection (charges and information) and appointment of Northern Ireland ministers.
All these SIs were made under the draft affirmative procedure, meaning they needed to be approved by Parliament before they could be made (signed into law) and brought into effect as law. Draft affirmative SIs can be stopped if either House votes against the government’s motion calling for the SI to be approved.
Motions against the regulations
Lord Adonis (Labour), proposed two regret motions against the regulations on security listings and the disclosure of public information.
Members of the Lords voted on the regret motion against the security listing regulations, with 21 in favour and 121 against, and so the motion was not agreed to.
The regret motion against the SI on the disclosure of public information was withdrawn without a vote.
If members had agreed to the motions, they would not have stopped the regulations, but would have provided an opportunity for the House to put on record its regret that the government is making these changes despite a lack of appropriate consultation.
Lord Adonis also proposed motions to decline the approval of the regulations on benchmarking and the non-Brexit SI regarding retail and insurance-based products.
Both motions were withdrawn without a vote. If agreed to, these motions would have stopped these two regulations from passing.
Following the debates in the House of Lords, all the SIs under consideration were approved.
The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) examines every SI, including all EU Exit SIs. It publishes reports drawing members' attention to SIs.