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 made changes to laws on:
1. Product safety and metrology
2. Business competition
3. Trade in animals and animal products and veterinary surgeons
4. Animal health and genetically modified organisms
5. Financial services
6. Customs safety and security procedures
7. Air services
The Brexit SIs under examination on Monday 7 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 also debated two other SIs on the traffic management of cross-channel heavy goods vehicles in Kent.
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 the debates on the floor of the House, all the SIs under consideration were approved.
Motion against the regulations
Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Labour) proposed a regret motion against the SI on trade in animals and animal products and veterinary surgeons, on the grounds that the regulations:
- will come into effect on 17 October to support the UK's application to the EU as a third country for the export of live animals and products, despite the passing of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 which requires the Prime Minister to seek an extension to EU membership if a deal is not approved by 19 October
- infer therefore the government intends to leave the EU without a deal on 31 October in opposition to the provisions of the Act
- leave grave concerns of the food and farming sectors in the event of a no-deal Brexit
Following discussion by members of the Lords, the motion was withdrawn.
If agreed to, the regret motion would not have stopped the regulations, but would have provided an opportunity for the House to put on record its regret for the specified reasons.
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 the following SIs: