Parliamentary Committees engage in inter-parliamentary dialogue on Brexit at Westminster

13.10.2017

Senior representatives of three Scottish Parliament Committees today participated in inter-parliamentary dialogue on Brexit related issues including the implications of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill upon the devolution settlements in the United Kingdom.  The meeting, organised by the House of Lords European Union Select Committee, brought together Chairs, Conveners and representatives of Committees scrutinising Brexit-related issues in the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales, Northern Ireland Assembly, House of Commons and House of Lords.

A joint statement was issued following the meeting.  The statement highlights the common challenges faced by parliamentary committees in scrutinising the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.  The statement also emphasises that it is essential that Ministers from the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) provide evidence to all parliamentary committees with a role in scrutinising the Bill.

Bruce Crawford MSP, Convener of the Finance and Constitution Committee, commented:

“We have held helpful discussions with colleagues from parliaments across the UK over the last two days.  These meetings have emphasised the scale of the challenge that Brexit presents to all legislatures in the UK.  Discussions between committees tasked with scrutinising Brexit provide an opportunity to share knowledge and information on the impact of Brexit. The meeting also provided an opportunity to explain that no majority exists in the Scottish Parliament for the passing of a Legislative Consent Motion in the respect of the EU Withdrawal Bill as it is currently drafted.

It is essential if parliamentary committees are to effectively scrutinise Brexit that the UK Government, and in particular DExEU Ministers, appear before all parliamentary committees tasked with scrutiny of the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Joan McAlpine MSP, Convener of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee, observed:

“The discussions I have participated in today at Westminster have offered an opportunity to share information and experiences on the various approaches being taken in legislatures across the UK to ascertain the state of play with regard to the Article 50 negotiations.  Obtaining an understanding of the future relationship the UK Government is seeking with the EU is a central challenge critical to scrutiny of the Brexit negotiations and inter-parliamentary dialogue of this kind can only assist that process”.

Graham Simpson MSP, Convener of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee, stated:

“The opportunity to meet and discuss the EU Withdrawal Bill with parliamentarians from legislatures across the UK has provided a useful forum for the exchange of views on the Bill.  With scrutiny of the Bill being conducted in legislatures across the UK, inter-parliamentary dialogue of this kind provides an effective means of maximising the impact of that scrutiny.  It’s also essential that UK Government ministers meet the relevant Scottish Parliament committees as soon as possible”.