About the Bill
The UK Government introduced the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (“the Bill”) on 13 July 2017. The Explanatory Notes to the Bill state that it performs four main functions.
- Repeals the European Communities Act 1972;
- Converts EU law as it stands at the moment of exit into domestic law before the UK leaves the EU;
- Creates power to make secondary legislation, including temporary powers to enable corrections to be made to the laws that would no longer operate appropriately once the UK has left the EU and to implement a withdrawal agreement, and
- Maintains the current scope of devolved decision-making powers in areas currently governed by EU law.
The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee’s role in considering the Bill encompasses the following areas:
- The Committee will consider whether it is appropriate for powers to be delegated to the Scottish Ministers in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
- The Committee will consider the breadth of the powers. Are the powers too widely drawn? Could they be expressed in a way that makes it clearer how the powers will be exercised.
- The Committee considers the correlation between the policy intention as expressed in the Delegated Powers Memorandum and what the Bill enables the Scottish Ministers to do in exercise of the power.
- The Committee will consider whether the powers are subject to an appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny.
The Bill and the Delegated Powers Memorandum can be found on the House of Commons web site
Call for Evidence
The Committee issued a call for evidence in relation to the Bill.
The Committee considered the delegated powers in the Bill at introduction that are to be conferred on Scottish Ministers.
The Committee’s call for evidence set out the areas that the Committee is particularly interested in receiving evidence. The Committee was keen to hear views on all aspects of the Bill that are within its remit.
Read the call for written evidence
Read the written evidence received
Legislative Consent Memoranda
A Legislative Consent Memorandum (LCM) was lodged by the Scottish Government on 12 September 2017 and a Supplementary Legislative Consent Memorandum was lodged on 26 April 2018. The Memoranda and details of parliamentary consideration of them can be found here.
Evidence and Timetable
The Committee took oral evidence on the LCM during September and October. The Committee then took evidence on the supplementary LCM in early May. The Official Reports of meetings where evidence was heard can be found on our Meeting Papers and Official Reports page.
The Committee published its report on the Legislative Consent Memorandum relating to the Bill on 17 November 2017. Read the report here
The Scottish Government responded to the Committee's report. That response is below:
The report above refers to the Bill at introduction in the House of Commons. The expectation was that the Committee would produce future reports on legislative consent in relation to the Bill and following the lodging of a Supplementary Legislative Consent Memorandum the Committee's remit was once again engaged. The Committee's report on the supplementary LCM can be read here.
The report makes reference to draft protocols relating to parliamentary scrutiny of statutory instruments that are to be laid as a consequence of exiting the European Union. A letter from the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe which outlines said protocols is below:
The protocol on obtaining the approval of the Scottish Parliament to allow the Scottish Government to consent to the UK Government legislating in devolved areas was subsequently updated in September 2018. These changes were noted by the Committee and the revised protocol was sent by the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, appended to the letter below:
Changes to the draft protocol on the scrutiny
of SSIs made using powers of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019 were
noted by the Committee in December 2018. The main change from the draft was the
establishment of a sifting process to enable the Scottish Parliament to request
that the procedure under which an SSI has been laid can be changed. The revised
protocol was again appended to a letter from the Cabinet Secretary below:
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) produced a briefing on the 'European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Implications for Scotland'. Any subsequent briefings of relevance to the Committee's interest in the Bill will be made available as and when they are published.
The Finance and Constitution Committee led on policy consideration of the Bill. Details of their work on the Bill can be found here.
The Interparliamentary Forum on Brexit met in Westminster on 12 October 2017. The Scottish Parliament issued a press release on 13 October 2017.
Read the Press Release