Lords EU exit regulations: 14 March

15 March 2019

On Thursday 14 March, the House of Lords examined ten statutory instruments preparing for Brexit.

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:

  1. State aid
  2. European investment funds
  3. Mobile roaming
  4. Food and feed imports and contamination
  5. Animal health and welfare
  6. Validity of EU instruments
  7. Public procurement of electronic devices

The Brexit SIs under examination on Thursday 14 March 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.

All these SIs are made under the draft affirmative procedure, meaning they need to be approved by both Houses of Parliament before they can be made (signed into law) and brought into effect. Draft affirmative SIs can be stopped if either House votes against the government’s motion calling for the SI to be approved.

Motion against the regulations

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Labour), proposed three regret motions against the regulations on state aid, European investment funds and mobile roaming charges.

If agreed to, these motions 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 the lack of:

  • an accompanying strategy or consultation on the use of state aid once the UK has left the European Union
  • published plans for future structural, regional or equivalent financial support for the UK following EU withdrawal
  • a provision for surcharge-free mobile roaming for customers in the UK

Members discussed the regret motions on state aid and mobile roaming, which were then withdrawn without a vote. The regret motion on European investment funds was not discussed.

Following the debates on the floor of the House, all the SIs under consideration were approved. 

Lords scrutiny

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.

SLSC (Sub-Committee A) reported on the regulations making changes to laws on the validity of EU instruments.

SLSC (Sub-Committee B) reported on three SIs making changes to laws on state aid, European investment funds and mobile roaming.

Further information

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