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. Coach and bus services for Northern Ireland.
2. Funding for European transport infrastructure.
The Brexit SIs under examination on Monday 20 May are 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 five other SIs on criminal injuries compensation, rehabilitation of offenders, higher education and structural changes to Buckinghamshire County Council.
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 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 Chakrabarti (Labour) proposed a regret motion against the regulations on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
If agreed to, this motion does not stop the regulations, but provides an opportunity for the House to put on record its regret that it introduces the provision for spent convictions and cautions to be disclosed to all future public enquiries, which risks undermining rehabilitation and a person's private life.
After a short debate members voted on the regret motion, with 172 in favour and 125 against, so the motion was agreed to.
This motion does not stop the regulations, but puts on record the House's opinion.
Motion to take note
Lord Berkeley (Labour) proposed a motion to take note of the regulations regarding funding of European transport infrastructure. This enabled the House to debate the regulations without having to take a specific decision. After a short debate the motion was agreed to without a division (vote).
Following the debates in the House of Lords, all of the SIs under consideration were agreed to without a division (vote).
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.
The SLSC reported on the regulations making changes to laws on coach and bus services for Northern Ireland.
SLSC (Sub-Committee B) reported on the regulations making changes to the laws on funding of European transport infrastructure.
Image: Copyright House of Lords 2019 / Photography by Roger Harris