The Constitution Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry exploring how Parliament should scrutinise treaties after the UK leaves the European Union. I have attached a copy of the call for evidence for the inquiry to this letter for reference.
The prospect of negotiating and agreeing a large number of new treaties post-Brexit presents an opportunity for Parliament to have a greater say in the policy approach the Government takes in future international agreements. On this subject, we are aware of the interest of the Joint Committee on Human Rights on human rights clauses in trade agreements, as noted in your report on ‘Human Rights and Business 2017: Promoting responsibility and ensuring accountability’.
I would be grateful to know whether, subsequent to that report, the JCHR has a view on the scope for including human rights protections in future treaty texts. It would also be valuable to know whether your committee has a view on how international agreements negotiated by the Government should be scrutinised for the inclusion and implementation of such provisions. The JCHR might wish to undertake that task itself. Alternatively, a new treaties scrutiny committee might undertake the task or sift treaties for referral to JCHR where relevant.
We would of course welcome the JCHR’s view on any other aspects of the Constitution Committee’s inquiry that are of interest to your members.
Baroness Taylor of Bolton
Chairman of the Constitution Committee
Published: 6 March 2019