Third Report Contents

Clause 14: interpretation of exit day

(i) Effect

61.Clause 1 of the Bill repeals the European Communities Act 1972 on exit day. Exit day is defined in clause 14(1) to mean any day appointed by Ministers in regulations. The regulations are subject to no parliamentary procedure. That is to say, Ministers can decide on exit day and set it out in law without recourse to Parliament. This becomes the day on which the 1972 Act is repealed and the supremacy of EU law ceases to apply in the UK.

62.Exit day may be one date for some purposes and a different date for other purposes.27 Accordingly, some sectors might be governed by unchanged EU law for a longer period than others. One can therefore talk about exit days, given that there can be more than one.

(ii) Concerns

63.We are concerned that no parliamentary procedure attaches to the setting of exit day(s). There are good reasons why the setting of exit days should require the affirmative procedure, meaning that both Houses are able to debate the regulations before they are made. These reasons include:

64.Paragraph 73 of the delegated powers memorandum justifies the lack of a parliamentary procedure because “the power is limited to only specifying a date and time which will itself be subject to negotiations between the UK and the EU”. However, considerable significance attaches to these dates.

(iii) Recommendation

65.Regulations stipulating exit day(s) should be subject to the affirmative procedure.

27 Para. 13(a)(ii) of Schedule 7 to the Bill.

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