Parliament is critical to the outcome of Brexit but the process will in turn affect Parliament’s position, in relation to both government and the public. How is Parliament responding to the Brexit challenge, across its scrutiny, legislative and treaty-making roles? How will (and should) Parliament’s procedures and institutions change for the post-Brexit era?
With respect to the importance of delegated legislation, the next stage of the Brexit process is unlikely to be much different from the last. Without urgent, substantial reform of delegated legislation scrutiny in the House of Commons, much of the detailed implementation of Brexit will be done by the executive with limited parliamentary oversight.
The 2017-19 Parliament was, famously, ‘not normal’. Following the 2019 general election, some around Westminster welcome, and want to encourage, a return to normality. But what’s ‘normal’? And will the demands of Brexit, plus a constitutional and procedural reaction against the 2017-19 experience, mean the new parliamentary normal is different from the old?
The process for getting House of Commons select committees re-established after the general election is so far broadly on track. However, government reorganisation and the Labour leadership contest could yet cause delays and disruption. And this time, there are particular reasons to get committees into place urgently.
Articles in this latest edition cover topics as diverse as political finance regulation, devolution, young people and the EU referendum, candidate campaigning in general elections, the policisation of abortion and the electoral success of women candidates, as well as reflections on the Turkish, Australian, Irish and EU Parliaments.
Holding a general election only six weeks before the new end-January Brexit deadline, and with a recess to fit in too, could mean the new Parliament facing a tight timetable. The challenge will be especially great for MPs elected for the first time on 12 December.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the creation of departmental select committees, this special issue of Parliamentary Affairs draws together contibutions from House of Commons officials and leading academics on the past, present and future of one of the most significant reforms to the UK Parliament.