Thursday 20 October 2016

Parliament ~ Brexit should be scrutinised as it happens ~ new House of Lords report

The House of Lords EU Select Committee has issued a report - Brexit: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Noting that "The forthcoming negotiations on Brexit will be unprecedented in their complexity and their impact upon domestic policy" the committee says that "it seems to us inconceivable that it should take the many far-reaching policy decisions that will arise in the course of Brexit without active parliamentary scrutiny."

Parliament should not "micromanage" the negotiations but accountability after the fact is insufficient.  The report calls on the government to "recognise a middle ground between the extremes of micromanagement and mere accountability after the fact."

"Within this middle ground, Parliament, while respecting the Government’s need to retain room for manoeuvre, should be able both to monitor the Government’s conduct of the negotiations, and to comment on the substance of the Government’s negotiating objectives as they develop. Only if these principles are accepted will Parliament be able to play a constructive part in helping the Government to secure the best outcome for the United Kingdom. Such scrutiny will also contribute to a greater sense of parliamentary ownership of the process, strengthening the Government’s negotiating position and increasing the likelihood that the final agreement will enjoy parliamentary and public support."

The government would do well to heed the report.

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