Brexit could strengthen Parliament or weaken it. This applies to its standing in relation to both the government and the public. Given the promise that leaving the EU means ‘taking back control’, the way in which Parliament manages the Brexit process and its post-Brexit role will be among the criteria for judging whether the UK ‘makes a success of it’.
In one scenario, the UK emerges into a post-Brexit political landscape with the executive empowered, not Parliament. Parliament is not seen by either the government or the public to have made much positive difference to the nature of Brexit or the public’s understanding of or engagement with the process. In the other scenario, Parliament seizes the opportunity - arguably, the mandate - arising from the EU referendum to assert its role as a key site for information-gathering and dissemination, policy generation, consensus-building and decision-making.
What we are doing
We will be researching and reporting on Parliament’s handling of Brexit - across its scrutiny of government, its legislative work, and its role in the international treaty-making and -unmaking that will be involved. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill and associated legislation will be a particular focus of our work, building on our track record of detailed research on delegated legislation and its scrutiny.
We will also be looking ahead to Parliament in the post-Brexit era, identifying structures and procedures that will need to change, and capabilities and resources that may need to be different. Among other issues, we will be looking at the role Parliament might play in the UK’s post-Brexit international trade agreements.
On the impact of Brexit on public views of Parliament, we will be able to draw on the indicators of public engagement and satisfaction with Parliament that we track each year in our long-running Audit of Political Engagement.