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:
- European qualifications for health, social care and pharmacy
- Medicines and clinical trials
- Medical devices
The Brexit SIs under examination on Thursday 7 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 were made under the draft affirmative procedure, meaning they needed to be approved by Parliament before they can 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.
Motion against the regulations
Baroness Thornton (Labour), proposed a regret motion against the regulations on European qualifications for the health and social care professions.
Members discussed the regret motion, which was then withdrawn without a vote.
If agreed to, this motion would not have stopped the regulations, but would have provided an opportunity for the House to put on record its regret that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, these regulations would be detrimental to the NHS due to the increased administrative burdens and the prohibition of European Economic Area healthcare professionals.
Following the debates on the floor of the House, all the SIs under consideration were agreed to.
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 B) reported on the regulations making changes to laws on European qualifications for health, social care professions, medicines, clinical trials and medical devices.