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?
Some backbench MPs are seeking to use House of Commons approval of the government’s Main Estimates for 2019-20 as a vehicle against a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, meaning the process is attracting greater interest than usual. We set out how the Estimates process works, how it has changed over the years, and how it could be improved in the future.
On the 40th anniversary of the creation of departmental select committees, Harriet Harman, the longest continuously-serving woman MP, offers some personal reflections on the growing importance of select committees and their chairs, particularly at a time of considerable political instability.
The focus is on what might happen at the end of the pre-summer Commons sitting period now underway – rightly, given its potential political and constitutional significance. But the dearth of government legislative business means the six weeks before then could present opportunities for the opposition, backbenchers and select committees, including on Brexit.
Coming on top of the controversial introduction of the concept of ‘retained EU law’ in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the provisions for an implementation / transition period in the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement pose challenges for UK law that the promised Withdrawal Agreement Bill will need to address, including through amendments to the 2018 Act.
In our April 2019 submission to the House of Commons Liaison Committee inquiry into the select committee system, we made wide-ranging recommendations including a review of the select committee core tasks, and a restructuring of the system to provide for improved scrutiny of delegated legislation and legislative standards and to accommodate post-Brexit needs.
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