The Committee received a response from the government, in the form of a letter from Chris Heaton-Harris, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, on its 37th Report on ‘Sifting “proposed negative instruments” laid under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018: criteria and working arrangements’. This letter is published below:
Thank you to you and your committee for their consideration of how the new EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA) sifting mechanism for proposed negative SIs should work, and for the open and collaborative approach on the EUWA and the processes that flow from it.
Now the sifting role of your Committee has been agreed by the House, I would like to thank you for your 37th report of this session. It is important the SLSC and Government departments are clear on what to expect and what the process is, and this report very usefully highlights that matters which will be of most interest to the SLSC when carrying out its sifting function.
I note with interest that particular attention will be given to amendments to primary legislation or retained direct principal EU law where these amendments are deemed significant enough to warrant the affirmative procedure being applied. While amendments to primary legislation in themselves do not automatically trigger the affirmative procedure, it was always the Government’s intention that such amendments could mean the affirmative procedure being applied when coupled with other triggers.
I am grateful to you for bringing clarity to this point, and we will expect departments to be very clear in the Explanatory Memorandum on why the negative procedure has been chosen. The Explanatory Memorandum accompanying EUWA SIs will also set out what the law did before, what the changes are and what the law does after the changes.
The Government is committed to ensuring a smooth flow of SIs and will continue to work closely and constructively at official level in order to assist the committee staff. As you may have seen from my letter to the Chair of the Commons Procedure Committee, I will be the point of contact for your committee, the Procedure Committee and the European Statutory Instruments Committee for any issues that you may have.
I am copying this letter to the Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin, chair of the Commons’ European Statutory Instruments Committee, the Leader of the House of Commons, and the Leader of the House of Lords.
16 August 2018
8 , Session 2017–19 (HL Paper 174).
9 Not published.