Brexit: Lords Constitution Committee warns EU withdrawal bill should not set fast-tracking precedent

Lord Lang of Monkton

As it publishes its report on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill today, the House of Lords Constitution Committee has said that while its usual concerns about the fast-tracking of legislation are alleviated by the brevity and simplicity of the bill, this should not be seen as setting a precedent for future constitutional bills.

In particular, the report specifically states that the fast tracking of this bill should not be used “as a precedent in relation to future measures of constitutional significance, such as the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ and other Brexit-related legislation.”

Lord Lang of Monkton, chairman of the House of Lords Constitution Committee said: “The European Union Withdrawal Bill is undeniably of significant constitutional importance. Usually we would be concerned about the fast-tracking of constitutional legislation, particularly when the justification for doing so depends on a political, rather than constitutional, deadline.

“However, we recognise the political imperatives that underlie this Bill. In addition, any concerns we might have about the curtailment of parliamentary scrutiny are mitigated by the fact that the Bill is very short and straight forward.

“We have made clear, however, that this should not set a precedent for future constitutional legislation. The ‘Great Repeal Bill’ and other Brexit-related legislation will be much more complicated, and we would expect that Parliament will have the opportunity fully to scrutinise such important legislation.”

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