Legislating Brexit. The Great Repeal Bill and the wider legislative challenge

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Series Details March 2017
Publication Date March 2017
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The Institute for Government is an independent charity in the United Kingdom working to increase government effectiveness.

It works with all the main political parties at Westminster and with senior civil servants in Whitehall. It provides evidence based advice that draws on best practice from around the world.

The Institute for Government is a registered charity in England and Wales (Registered Charity No.1123926).

The charitable objectives of the Institute are:

+ The advancement of education in the art and science of government in the UK for the benefit of the public and on a non-party political basis;
+ The promotion of efficient public administration of government and public service in the UK by providing programmes of education, training, research and study for the public benefit and on a non-party political basis.
Up to 15 new bills in addition to the Great Repeal Bill could be required to deliver Brexit, found new research by the Institute for Government (IfG) published in March 2017.

The report Legislating Brexit warned that Brexit will place a huge burden on both Parliament and government departments. It says on average each Queen’s Speech only announces 20 new bills, so 15 new Brexit bills before the UK even exits would leave very little space for non-Brexit related legislation.

Departments would need to ruthlessly prioritise other legislation and indeed find non-legislative approaches to achieve policy aims where possible, particularly in the context of the Government’s narrow Commons majority.

The paper warned the extent of legislative change required would inevitably lead to Government using different routes to make Brexit-related changes – such as using secondary legislation to amend primary legation (so-called Henry VIII powers) – which was subject to less parliamentary scrutiny.

Because of this, the paper argued, the Government should resist the temptation to introduce non-essential changes in the repeal bill. Instead, the priority should be to copy across the acquis, which could be amended after Brexit.

The paper also made several recommendations for how the Government should manage Brexit-related bills, including publishing white papers with full impact assessments and scheduling the legislative programme to allow the timely passage of the secondary legislation needed before exit.

The paper also made several recommendations for parliamentarians. Both the Commons and the Lords must get involved at an early stage, pressing the Government to publish white papers and introduce bills in draft wherever possible. They must also time their evidence sessions and reports carefully to maximise impact on new areas of policy.

Source Link https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/IFGJ5347-Legislating-Brexit-IFG-Analysis-032017-WEB.pdf
Related Links
IfG: Brexit https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/brexit
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union http://www.europeansources.info/record/brexit-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union/
ESO: Background information: Government announces end of European Communities Act http://www.europeansources.info/record/government-announces-end-of-european-communities-act/
ESO: Background information: Legislating for Brexit: the Great Repeal Bill http://www.europeansources.info/record/legislating-for-brexit-the-great-repeal-bill/
IfG: Press Release, 20.03.17: New report lays bare the challenge of Brexit law-making https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/news/latest/new-report-lays-bare-challenge-brexit-law-making
BBC News, 20.03.17: Brexit could place 'huge burden' on Parliament http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39322297

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