Lords EU exit regulations: 23 October

24 October 2019

On Wednesday 23 October, the House of Lords examined four 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. Freedom of establishment and movement of services
  2. Waste and environmental protection
  3. Plant health
  4. European Parliamentary Elections

The Brexit SIs under examination on Wednesday 23 October 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 is also debated one other SI on electricity supplier obligations.

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.

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

Motion against the regulations

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Labour) proposed a motion to regret against the regulations on the freedom of establishment and movement of services.

This motion cannot stop the regulations, but provides an opportunity for the House to put on record its regret that this SI:

  • removes certain rights for EU, EEA, Swiss and Turkish nationals to be self-employed, own and manage a company and provide services in the UK without facing additional restrictions.

The regret motion further declared the regulations may, as a consequence:

  • impact consequently on long-residing individuals and families and the UK economy and employment
  • result in the loss of rights for UK citizens resident elsewhere in the EU, EAA, Switzerland or Turkey

The regret motion therefore called on the government to guarantee the continuation of the relevant rights of EU, EAA, Swiss and Turkish nationals in the UK beyond EU withdrawal.

Members voted, with 204 in favour of the regret motion and 132 against, and so the motion was agreed to.

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.

The SLSC reported on the regulations making changes to laws on freedom of establishment and movement of services and waste and environmental protection:

The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments (JCSI) is comprised of members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons and assesses the technical qualities of SIs and decides whether to draw the special attention of any SI to members:

The JCSI reported on the regulations making changes to laws on European parliamentary elections:

Further information

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