At its meeting on 26 February 2019 the Committee considered proposed negative instruments laid by the Government and has recommended that the appropriate procedure for the following instruments is for a draft of them to be laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament before they are made (i.e. the affirmative procedure).
2.1 This instrument seeks to ensure that, in the fields of trade in animals and animal products, production of animal feed, plant health, and the marketing of seed potatoes, unlisted seed vegetable varieties and fruit propagating material, retained direct EU legislation and domestic legislation implementing certain EU Directives will remain operable after the UK has left the EU.
2.2 The Explanatory Memorandum states that the instrument only makes amendments which are “legally necessary” to achieve its objectives and does not represent changes of policy, nor will it “produce any impact on businesses or the public”.
2.3 However, the instrument makes extensive amendments to two EU Exit statutory instruments - the Plant Health (Amendment) (England) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and the Plant Health (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - that were laid in draft under the affirmative procedure.
2.4 The Committee believes that it will usually be appropriate to use the affirmative procedure when amending EU Exit instruments which were themselves originally subject to the affirmative procedure.
2.5 The Committee therefore recommends that the appropriate procedure for the instrument is for a draft of it to be laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament before it is made (i.e. the affirmative procedure) on the ground that it is of political and legal importance.
3.1 This statutory instrument concerns the UK’s participation in the European University Institute (EUI) Convention. It removes any rights, powers, liabilities, obligations, restrictions, remedies and procedures (“rights etc.”) from domestic law, which might derive from the UK’s membership of the EUI Convention. The explanatory memorandum states that the UK will “automatically fall out” of the treaty regulating the EUI, when leaving the EU. However, the EUI is not an EU institution but based on a separate Convention designated in domestic law as an “EU Treaty’.
3.2 The explanatory memorandum states that the Department will explore “options for ongoing engagement with the EUIC”. The Committee is concerned that the explanatory memorandum fails to set out what such options could be. The basis for continued participation of the UK in the EUI is an issue that should be subject to debate in the House.
3.3 The Government estimates that there is “no, or no significant” impact on business, charities, voluntary bodies or the public sector, and further states that it will “work to ensure that UK students currently at the EUI, and any who are successful in their applications for places in the 2019/2020 academic year, will be able to complete their studies”. This statement offers no clarity to current or future students and no guidance has yet been prepared for them.
3.4 The Committee believes that the issues around rights relating to international higher education post-Brexit are important.
3.5 The Committee therefore recommends that the appropriate procedure for the instrument is for a draft of it to be laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament before it is made (i.e. the affirmative procedure) on the ground that it is of political and legal importance.
Published: 28 February 2019