This report presents original research data on delegated legislation in the 2015-16 parliamentary session. In doing so, it seeks to plug the statistical hole that exists in the understanding of the delegated legislation process, for parliamentarians, officials and observers alike.
This 2017 research report in our Westminster Lens data series builds on our 2014 study The Devil is in the Detail: Parliament and Delegated Legislation. That study laid bare the complexities, weaknesses and contradictions in the delegated legislation scrutiny process, in the first comprehensive study of this process in decades.
This report on delegated legislation in the 2015-16 parliamentary session shines further light on the process by providing detailed original data on the types of delegated powers used, the types, volume and flow of delegated legislation, the amount of parliamentary scrutiny to which Statutory Instruments were subject during the session, and the results of the parliamentary scrutiny process. The report thus furnishes essential data to improve the quality of the political debate around the rights and wrongs of delegated legislation and its scrutiny.
Table of contents
- Henry VIII powers
- Number of pages
- By department
- EU-related instruments
- Type of instrument
- House of Commons-only instruments
- English votes for English laws (EVEL)
- The scrutiny process
- Scrutiny time
- Scrutiny of negative instruments
- The 21-day rule
- Scrutiny of affirmative instruments 19
- Rejecting instruments
- Withdrawn and correcting instruments
Enjoy reading this? Please consider sharing it
The end of the transition period is likely to expose even more fully the scope of the policy-making that the government can carry out via Statutory Instruments, as it uses its new powers to develop post-Brexit law. However, there are few signs yet of a wish to reform delegated legislation scrutiny, on the part of government or the necessary coalition of MPs.
Parliament’s role around the end of the Brexit transition and conclusion of the EU future relationship treaty is a constitutional failure to properly scrutinise the executive and the law. As the UK moves to do things differently after 1 January, MPs must do more to ensure they can better discharge their responsibilities regarding the making of UK treaties.
The EU (Future Relationship) Bill is to be considered by both Houses in just one sitting day. How unusual is such an expedited timetable and how much time will parliamentarians really have to look at the Bill? How will MPs participate in proceedings given Covid-19 restrictions? And how will proceedings, particularly the amendment process, work on the day?
The Coronavirus pandemic has added to the questions surrounding the nature of the Parliament that should emerge from the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal programme. But, with concerns over the programme’s governance and public engagement rising, the report arising from the current review of the programme will not now be published this year.
The debate about remote participation in House of Commons proceedings raises critical questions about what constitutes a ‘good parliamentarian’, what ‘fair’ participation looks like, and who gets to decide. As things stand, the exclusion from much parliamentary business of pregnant women, among others, undermines equality of political representation.
Disputed parliamentary election results – often taking months to resolve – were a frequent feature of English political culture before the reforms of the 19th century. But how could defeated candidates protest the result of an election, and how were such disputes resolved?