What does the decision to leave the EU mean for Parliament? What role will MPs and Peers want in relation to the exit negotiations and what will it mean for the legislative and scrutiny process?
Listen to the event in full
Clerk of the Journals, House of Commons
Seema Malhotra MP
Member for Feltham and Heston
Professor the Lord Norton of Louth
Member of the House of Lords Constitution Committee and Professor of Government and Director of the Centre for Legislative Studies, University of Hull
At this event, involving leading parliamentary and constitutional experts, we will be debating the key questions now facing Parliament over the next few years:
- What reforms – in the Chamber and Committees – might be needed to ensure the scrutiny process is fit for purpose to deal with the scale of the challenge ahead?
- Should there be a move towards greater joint working with the House of Lords? What are the pros and cons of this approach?
- Do we need a super-committee, for example modelled on the Banking Commission inquiry?
- Given the volume of legislation and regulation that will need to be sorted out, how might this be done most effectively?
- Does Parliament have sufficient capacity and expertise to support MPs and Peers and if not, what might be needed?
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The recent rearrangement of responsibilities for the government’s handling of EU-related affairs raises questions about future parliamentary scrutiny of these issues. In some respects pre-2016 institutional arrangements are restored, but the post-Brexit landscape presents new scrutiny challenges which thus far MPs have not confronted.
What information and evidence does Parliament need to enable it to oversee government law-making? Is Parliament currently provided with sufficient information and, if not, how can this be improved?
A recent House of Lords debate on a ‘made negative’ Statutory Instrument highlights Peers’ greater appetite and ability to secure such debates compared to MPs. Data on debate lengths suggests parliamentarians are more likely to give more meaningful scrutiny to SIs they wish to debate than those on which they are obliged to spend time by current procedures.
What Covid Regulations will the House of Commons debate on 14 December, and how? Amid backbench unrest, the occasion will be shaped by the interplay between delegated legislation scrutiny, parliamentary procedures, and raw politics. The outcome could have profound consequences for both public health policy and the Prime Minister’s position.
Statutory Instruments (SIs) have been a key tool in the government’s response to shortages of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers. These SIs showcase the usefulness of this type of law-making but also highlight again some of the longstanding problems with its parliamentary scrutiny.
Delegated legislation may not be glamorous but it is essential to how our democracy works. Time to treat it accordingly.