Brexit May Cost MPs and Peers the Power to Pass Laws
Lord Judge, the former lord chief justice, has said Brexit will precipitate a “tsunami” of legislation that risks being passed into law without the necessary parliamentary scrutiny at a time when many thousands of items of law were already not being properly read.
He said the UK's departure from the European Union "offers the greatest challenge ever faced by our legislative processes" and has voiced his concern that by the time the Brexit process is completed and the Great Repeal Bill is enacted, MPs and peers will have effectively disposed of their powers to pass laws.
Speaking at the Bingham Centre in London, the crossbench peer and member of the House of Lords constitution committee said Brexit would test to breaking point the way in which both the Houses of Commons and Lords operate. He also underscored a growing reliance on secondary legislation and so-called ‘Henry VIII powers‘ – legislation which enables government ministers to amend primary legislation (government bills) using secondary legislation (orders that proceed in parliament with little or no scrutiny).
“How much of this lawmaking, whether by primary or delegated legislation, has actually been read, just read, let alone scrutinised, by how many of us in parliament in advance of the enactment coming into force? Yet legislative scrutiny is an essential ingredient of our parliamentary democracy,” he said, adding that such an absence of scrutiny was “really rather chilling.”
Lord Judge recommended a parliamentary committee of inquiry should be established to examine and report on how the processes of scrutinising primary and delegated legislation should be restructured. A comprehensive strategy to ensure the re-establishing of effective parliamentary scrutiny of legislation was now a “constitutional necessity,” he said.
Brexit deal without citizens’ rights will be vetoed
Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, has said that MEPs will veto any Brexit deal that fails to uphold the rights of EU citizens living in Britain.
People moving to Britain from other European Union countries up until the day Britain leaves, and those who have lived there previously, should have recourse to European courts to ensure British authorities do not violate their privileges, he told legislators at a special parliamentary session in Brussels. Citizens’ rights would be a critical factor in determining whether parliament gave its consent to any Brexit deal, he said, adding “We will never give consent if the issues of citizens’ rights, on both sides, has not been dealt with in a satisfactory way.”
Mr Verhofstadt will not be part of the formal negotiating team for Brexit but he said that he will put pressure on negotiators throughout the talks to make sure they get the best possible deal for European nationals who relocate to the UK before it leaves, including continued access to British healthcare, education and the labour market. The European parliament's Brexit representative also called on EU leaders to consider special privileges for UK nationals after Brexit as part of the future agreement.
No right for UK citizens to keep EU citizenship after Brexit
The same special session in the parliament also heard a call for MEPs to preserve the EU citizenship rights of all British nationals. However, a recent report for the European parliament’s constitutional affairs committee concluded that UK citizens had no right to keep EU citizenship post-Brexit.
“General international law does not provide protection of the subjective rights and freedoms that may survive withdrawal from the treaty that created them,” was the conclusion of two law professors at the University of Castilla-La Mancha
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