Matters for the Procedure Committee in the 2017 Parliament Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Unfinished business from the 2015 Parliament

1.We recommend that the Procedure Committee in the 2017 Parliament examine, as a matter of urgency, the implications for the House’s procedures of the Government’s proposals for a bill to repeal and replace the European Communities Act 1972 and to establish a basis in UK law for

a)the direct application, and eventual revision or repeal, of EU regulations which have direct effect in the UK, and

b)the amendment of existing UK primary and secondary legislation which currently implements the UK’s existing obligations under EU directives. (Paragraph 11)

2.We recognise the need to establish procedures for scrutiny of secondary legislation under the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ which will ensure that the time of Members is directed to the scrutiny of legislation of the greatest legal and political importance. Arguably, this balance is not achieved in respect of existing procedures for parliamentary approval of secondary legislation under the Statutory Instruments Act 1946. We therefore welcome the Government’s intention to discuss with Parliament “the most pragmatic and effective approach” to achieving a balance which ensures the effectiveness of the House in scrutinising this secondary legislation. (Paragraph 13)

3.In our view, if the Government wishes to proceed swiftly with the Bill, then it should not delay in arranging for the establishment in the new Parliament of the select committees of this House with an interest in the issues. Those committees should be part of the “meaningful discussion” the Government envisages: without the full participation of such committees, the Government will struggle to achieve agreement on an approach to scrutiny of secondary legislation which will command widespread support. (Paragraph 15)

4.It is axiomatic that the committees most interested in the matter—the Procedure Committee, the European Scrutiny Committee, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and the Committee on Exiting the European Union—should be established as quickly as possible in the new Parliament, to examine any ‘Great Repeal Bill’ which may be introduced, together with associated proposals for handling of ensuing delegated legislation. (Paragraph 16)

5.We recommend that, should a ‘Great Repeal Bill’ be announced in the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of the first session of the 2017 Parliament, the chairs and members of the select committees named above should be in place before the Bill starts its legislative journey. (Paragraph 17)

6.We recommend that the Procedure Committee in the 2017 Parliament take forward the proposals for revision of Standing Orders contained in the Annex to the Sixth Report from the Procedure Committee, Session 2014–15, HC 649, with a view to securing the support of the House for a wholesale revision based on those proposals. (Paragraph 21)

7.We recommend that the Backbench Business Committee and the Liaison Committee in the new Parliament take forward work to implement the recommendations in our Fifth Report of Session 2016–17 on allocation of debates on Estimates days. (Paragraph 23)

8.We draw the attention of our successor Committee to the further recommendations in our report on scrutiny of Estimates, and the indications of further work we had planned to undertake later in this Parliament. We also expect the Government to provide the new Committee with a full response to the recommendations contained in that report which concern the Government. (Paragraph 24)

Matters which the new Committee may wish to take up

9.We recommend that the Committee in the 2017 Parliament continue to keep the operation of ‘English votes for English laws’ procedures, insofar as they are continued by the present or any future administration, under regular review. (Paragraph 28)

10.We recommend that the Procedure Committee established in the 2017 Parliament consider, as a matter of urgency, the present operation of Standing Order No. 122A, on term limits for chairs of select committees, and make recommendations for change which are compatible with the expectations of the House and the present arrangements for election of chairs of select committees. We recognise that it will not be practicable to report on this matter before select committee chairs are elected at the start of the next Parliament. The next Committee should therefore aim to report its recommendations to the House in order for the House to take a decision on any proposed changes as soon as possible before the end of the calendar year 2017. (Paragraph 38)

28 April 2017