Beyond Brexit: the institutional framework Contents

Chapter 3: The institutional framework

The Partnership Council, its committees and working groups

The governance structure

48.The institutional framework underpinning the TCA is provided for in Title III of Part One. The structure is, in summary, as follows:

49.The structure just outlined is not yet operational (see paragraph 59) but will, when the TCA is ratified, sit alongside the existing governance structure established under the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement, made up of a Joint Committee and six Specialised Committees on withdrawal-related issues, including one on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland that is supported by a Joint Consultative Working Group.34 The complete architecture is illustrated in Figure 2, also based on a graphic prepared by Professor Simon Usherwood, and reproduced with his permission.

50.In summary, therefore, oversight of the post-Brexit UK-EU relationship will rest initially with a total of 32 governance bodies, though this number could rise or fall over time:

51.This is an elaborate double-headed structure, with two leadership bodies, into which a further 15 bodies report directly. Perhaps in acknowledgement of this complexity, both Parties have taken steps since 1 January to consolidate their input into the governance structure. On 19 January the Commission announced that the Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, which conducted the negotiations, would be dissolved with effect from 1 March, and a new Service for the EU-UK Agreements established from the same date. It also announced that Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, the Commission Vice-President in charge of inter-institutional relations, and already co-chair of the Joint Committee, would also be the EU co-chair of the Partnership Council.36

Figure 2: The governance architecture of the EU-UK relationship

Flow diagram of governance architecture of the EU-UK relationship

Source: Professor Simon Usherwood, ‘The governance architecture of the EU-UK relationship’ (28 January 2021)

52.The Government was slightly slower out of the blocks. On 9 February we asked Mr Gove when the UK co-chair of the Partnership Council would be named. He responded: “The Prime Minister will make that announcement in due course.” Almost a week later, on 15 February, it was reported that Mr Gove himself had been nominated as UK co-chair “on an interim basis”,37 but on 23 February, a few days after the announcement that Lord Frost would be appointed as Minister of State in the Cabinet Office and a full member of the Cabinet with effect from 1 March,38 Mr Gove wrote to confirm that Lord Frost would act both as UK co-Chair of the Partnership Council and (in succession to Mr Gove himself) as UK co-Chair of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee.39

53.As for the inherent complexity of the governance structure, Marie Demetriou QC described it as “sensible”, on the basis that the intention was “to set up an infrastructure that is capable of being used for deeper cooperation, should that take place”. Professor Hestermeyer suggested that it was not “set in stone”, noting that new committees could be established, and warning that “we do not really know how complex it will end up being in reality”.40

54.Asked how this complex structure would be supported across Whitehall, Lord Frost told us:

“[The TCA] is the broadest international agreement I am aware of, certainly in this field, in the number of subjects it covers. Inevitably, it has a large number of committees and a committee structure that reflects that complexity. We are working through at the moment how these committees will be staffed out, which departments will sit on which and how the reporting mechanisms will work. Although it is complex, it is not unusual. All these committees have their parallels in other international agreements. What is unusual is simply that they are all in one place because of the nature of this agreement.”41

55.If UK influence is to be maximised, investment will be required not just in Whitehall, but in Brussels. As we concluded in 2019, “The experience of other third countries suggests that the UK Government will, paradoxically, need to enhance its diplomatic presence in Brussels post-Brexit, and ensure that its officials are equipped with a different set of skills”. We also reflected on the experience of other third countries to whom the EU relationship is vital, noting that “the Swiss and Norwegian missions in Brussels are among the largest of their diplomatic representations”.42In that same report we also emphasised the need to increase the resources available to diplomatic missions across Member State capitals,43 and Mr Gove brought the two strands together in underlining the crucial role of the FCDO: “The Foreign Office and its excellent team will ensure that our mission in Brussels and our posts across the EU are well staffed.”44

56.But as well as resources, effective coordination demands high-level political leadership. Mr Gove highlighted Lord Frost’s recent appointment as the Prime Minister’s ‘Representative for Brexit and International Policy’,45 and the key role of the Cabinet Office: “Through the leadership that Lord Frost will have from No. 10, there will be effective co-ordination of that work across government. The Cabinet Office, through its secretariat structure, will support that.” Lord Frost’s leadership role was reinforced on 17 February with the announcement that he would be appointed to a Cabinet-level ministerial role based in the Cabinet Office.

57.A striking feature of the TCA’s institutional structure is that on the EU side only the Commission is represented. There is no provision for direct involvement of the Member States and, unlike some UK agreements with third countries, such as Chile,46 no provision for summit-level meetings. Asked about this, Lord Frost responded:

“We took the view on this, and on certain other similar issues, that there was no need for a treaty provision, that the depth of contacts and the nature of the relationship was likely to make this happen naturally … It is absolutely not that we do not wish to see summits happen. It is just that we think they will happen naturally and organically, as part of the very rich quality of the relationship we will have.”47

58.Professor Usherwood gave a less sanguine take on the lack of provision for regular summit-level dialogue:

“This is an agreement that manages divergence rather than convergence. It does not sit within a broader convergent relationship. That absence particularly of summit-level meetings reflects a question of what those summit meetings would deal with. The architecture of this agreement provides for dispute settlement. Absent a clear programme of future additions, at this stage there is not an immediate need for those summit-level meetings.”48

All very well in theory …

59.Whatever the merits or the shortcomings of the complex governance structure just described, there is a more pressing problem: so far it exists only on paper. This issue was exposed after the Partnership Council agreed to extend provisional application of the TCA from 28 February to 30 April, to allow time for the EU to complete its internal procedures in all 24 official languages.49 We then received a letter from Mr Gove, at that point still the UK co-chair of the Partnership Council, stating that given the “uncertainty” arising as a result of the continued provisional application of the TCA, “we do not consider that the Partnership Council and other bodies established under Title III of the Agreement should begin their work formally during the period of provisional application, except where there are essential decisions which cannot be deferred”.50 It now appears that, following recent tensions over the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, much of the governance structure established under the Withdrawal Agreement is also not currently operational.

60.In other words, while both the Withdrawal Agreement and the TCA are fully operational, and while the implementation of the TCA is at an early and critical stage, the entire governance structure for the UK-EU relationship appears to be in abeyance.

Powers and procedures

61.Within the institutional framework, the Partnership Council will be pre-eminent. Its powers are listed in Article INST.1(4) of the TCA, and are closely analogous to those of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Agreement.51 The powers conferred upon the Partnership Council include making decisions provided for in the TCA itself, making recommendations to the Parties, and, within certain limits, adopting amendments either to the TCA or to any further agreement supplementing the TCA.52 It can set up and abolish specialised committees, and is a forum for discussion between the Parties on any matter covered by the TCA.

62.The decision-making powers of the other governance bodies are more constrained, and at least initially will be limited to those areas where the TCA itself so provides—though the Partnership Council may delegate additional powers to the Trade Partnership Committee or to Specialised Committees.53 Nonetheless, they too have a broad remit, including appointing working groups, as well as providing a forum for exploring technical issues, or exchanging information and best practice.

63.The manner in which these powers will be exercised is set out in the Rules of Procedure, contained in an annex to the TCA. These are closely modelled upon the Rules of Procedure of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee.54 They state that the decisions and recommendations of the Partnership Council will be adopted by mutual consent (Rule 1). They also provide for a small secretariat, made up of one official from each Party (Rule 2). The secretariat will organise meetings, circulate papers, draw up draft agendas (to be finalised by the co-chairs), and prepare minutes (Rules 7 and 8). Meetings (which, as we have noted, will take place at least once a year) will normally alternate between Brussels and London, though virtual meetings are also permitted (Rule 3). In all these respects the rules governing the two main governance bodies are essentially the same.

64.It is all the more notable, therefore, that whereas the Government introduced a statutory provision ensuring that Ministers are prohibited from making use of the written procedure to take decisions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee,55 no equivalent prohibition covering the Partnership Council was included in the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020.

65.Rule 10 of the Rules of Procedure, entitled ‘Transparency’, largely replicates the provisions of Rule 10 of the Joint Committee Rules of Procedure, entitled ‘Publicity and Confidentiality’. But there is a change of emphasis, as implied by the new title: whereas there was a clear presumption in favour of confidentiality for the Joint Committee (“Unless otherwise decided by the co-chairs, the meetings of the Joint Committee shall be confidential”), the presumption for the Partnership Council appears to have swung towards openness (“The co-chairs may agree that the Partnership Council shall meet in public”).

66.Despite this change of emphasis, Rule 10 places few formal requirements upon the Parties to publicise the work of the Partnership Council and, by extension, the wider governance structure—its provisions are largely voluntary, and if either Party submits information to the Partnership Council that it deems confidential, the other Party must respect that confidentiality. Professor Catherine Barnard, drawing on experience of the Withdrawal Agreement governance structures, highlighted this lack of transparency as a key challenge:

“It is almost impossible to find out what was on the agenda and what the minutes were of these meetings … One of the major issues for this House and the devolved Administrations is how they are going to scrutinise what is going on in these committees and monitor the follow-up from these committees.”56

Conclusions

67.The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishes a complex but flat governance structure, which will sit alongside the structure already put in place by the Withdrawal Agreement. Such breadth and complexity are, in our view, likely to prove challenging. We also note the possibility that further agreements could in due course be brought under the same governance umbrella, adding still more breadth to governance. While initially we expect both sides will respect and adhere to the newly established structures, we recommend that the Government keep them under review—there may well be a case for simplifying and rationalising them in due course.

68.One area of difference between the two structures is in the use of written procedure, which is prohibited in respect of the Joint Committee, by virtue of section 35 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, but is permitted in respect of the Partnership Council. We call on the Government to explain the reasoning behind this difference of approach.

69.The Government will need to commit significant resource to support the governance structure. This resource should primarily be focused in Brussels and in Whitehall: the extent of EU competence is such that Brussels will remain the key forum for developing UK relations with the EU-27. We therefore urge the Government to ensure not only that dedicated resource is available across Departments, but, as we recommended in our 2019 report Beyond Brexit, that the UK Mission to the EU in Brussels is able to drawn on additional resource to support it in monitoring and influencing developments in Brussels.

70.Although the Member States are excluded from the governance structure established under the TCA, they will have a major say on the policy positions adopted by the EU. It will therefore be important also to provide the resource needed to develop the UK’s bilateral relationships with the Member States.

71.There will also be a critical need to coordinate the Government’s contribution to the governance structures of both the TCA and the Withdrawal Agreement. The close symmetry between these structures, and the overlap of personnel, is helpful, given the synergies between the two Agreements, particularly in respect of Northern Ireland: it should assist in coordination and may ultimately pave the way for a formal rationalisation of the current two-headed structure. We welcome the fact that, at a time when the crucial UK-EU relationship is developing rapidly, there will be a designated Cabinet-level Minister charged with coordinating the Government’s engagement with the EU and leading the UK’s input into the governance of both Agreements.

72.But this new ministerial role will bring with it increased accountability to Parliament. We welcome the recent decision that Lord Frost should answer questions in the House of Lords on a regular basis, and we underline the urgent need for effective mechanisms to allow the House of Commons to hold him to account. We also invite the Government to agree that any holder of the role to which Lord Frost has been appointed should appear at regular and predictable intervals before designated Select Committees of the two Houses.

73.We note the absence of any provision in the TCA for regular summit-level meetings between the Parties. We note Lord Frost’s confidence that such meetings will occur naturally and organically, but given the number of bilateral relationships that are subsumed within the UK-EU relationship, we regret this omission, and believe there would be huge benefit to the UK in adopting a more structured approach. We invite the Government therefore to set out its plans for ensuring regular ministerial and Head of Government-level dialogue with the EU-27 and the Commission.

74.The complexity of the governance structure underlines the need for both sides to commit to transparency. Although the TCA appears to establish a presumption in favour of transparency, its substantive provisions are weak, and unless further commitments to transparency are made it may be impossible for Parliament, the devolved legislatures, or wider civil society, to contribute effectively to the developing UK-EU relationship. Formal ministerial statements after meetings are not enough: we call on the Government to draw up a comprehensive mechanism to support document-based scrutiny by designated select committees, and more generally to promote the transparent operation of the governance bodies established by the TCA.

75.Finally, we note with concern the Government’s decision not to allow the governance structure established under the TCA to meet. We acknowledge that the agreement has yet to be ratified, and is currently only provisionally applied. But it is fully operational, and it is now, when the new arrangements are still unfamiliar, that problems are most likely to be encountered. We see no justification, particularly given the agreed extension of provisional application, for allowing such a complex and important relationship, affecting the security and livelihoods of over 500 million citizens in the UK and in the EU, to drift without the formal governance arrangements having been activated.

Parliamentary and civil society structures

The Parliamentary Partnership Assembly

76.Article INST.5 of the TCA states that the European Parliament and the UK Parliament “may establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly consisting of Members of the European Parliament and of Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, as a forum to exchange views on the partnership”. The creation of such a body, originally proposed in the Political Declaration on Future Relations that accompanied the Withdrawal Agreement, was an early negotiating objective for the EU,57 though only after repeated questioning by this Committee and a joint letter from our Chair and the Chair of the Commons Future Relationship with the EU Committee58 did the Government agree to include such a provision in the TCA.59

77.The powers of the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly (PPA), as set out in the TCA, are broad, but ill-defined. It “may request relevant information” from the Partnership Council, which “shall then supply … the requested information”; it “shall be informed of the decisions and recommendations” of the Partnership Council; and it “may make recommendations” to the Partnership Council. Our academic witnesses emphasised the PPA’s importance as, in Professor Usherwood’s words, “another line of communication”. Professor Barnard warned of the risk that the PPA would become a ‘talking shop’, but also spoke of its role in “the rebuilding of trust”, adding that it would also “have some role in triggering alerts to what is coming through and down the system”.60 Similarly, Mr Gove, while emphasising that he had no wish to prescribe how the PPA might work, was clear that it could “facilitate strong relationships”. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article INST.5, he did not think that it would have “a scrutiny role” with regard to the Partnership Council.61

78.It therefore appears that there is consensus on the benefits of establishing the PPA to help rebuilding relationships and opening channels of communication between the European and UK Parliaments; there is less clarity on whether and how the PPA should exercise other powers, such as the right to request information, which could amount to a scrutiny function. There is also a more immediate uncertainty in the wording of Article INST.5, which is not mandatory, but simply says that the Parliaments “may” establish an assembly. This wording may be compared with that found in comparable third-country agreements rolled over as part of the Brexit process. For instance, an “Association Parliamentary Committee” was “hereby established” by the EU-Chile Association Agreement, bringing together members of the European Parliament and the Chilean National Congress “to meet and exchange views”.62 But the UK’s rollover agreement with Chile, in one of the few deliberate changes made to the precursor EU agreement, replaced “is hereby established” with “may be established”.63 At the time, Department for International Trade officials told committee staff that the reason for not automatically re-establishing the Association Parliamentary Committee was to avoid the appearance of binding the UK Parliament without prior consultation.64 But the upshot is that no steps have since been taken, either by the Government or the parliamentary authorities, to bring a UK-Chile interparliamentary body into being.

79.Thus even if the non-mandatory wording was adopted simply out of respect for the autonomy of the Westminster Parliament, the absence of a clear duty to set up the PPA, combined with the lack of suitable precedents or obvious decision-makers, gives rise to a risk that the PPA may simply not materialise. Mr Gove placed the onus on committees, telling us that “ultimately it is for the House, but if Lord Kinnoull, Sir Bill Cash and Tom Tugendhat65 were to come forward with proposals as to how that might work, that would be great”. But these three committee Chairs certainly have no delegated authority to establish the PPA, and do not command the resources needed to make it a success. While we understand that informal discussions between the two Houses are now underway, the support of the Government will be vital, particularly in the Commons, where it is difficult to see how a motion establishing the PPA could be moved other than by a Government Minister.

80.The wording of Article INST.5 begs other questions. It contains no reference to the overall size of the body, its pattern of meetings, its procedures, or the balance between Members of the two Houses in the UK delegation. Moreover, the reference to “Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom” appears to exclude direct representation of the devolved legislatures—as Catherine Barnard pointed out, “If you were looking at this from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you would say, ‘What about us?’”66 Her comment has since been borne out by correspondence sent to us by committees in the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Senedd and Northern Ireland Assembly, calling for the devolved legislatures to be represented on the PPA as part of the UK delegation.67

Parliamentary scrutiny

81.Whether or not the PPA ultimately develops a joint scrutiny function, the bulk of parliamentary scrutiny of the implementation of the TCA will be conducted independently by the legislatures of the EU and the UK. As Professor Barnard pointed out, this is “not just scrutinising at high level the implementation of the TCA”. The legislative and regulatory frameworks of the UK and the EU are currently closely aligned, but the TCA is designed to allow divergence over time. The effects of such divergence, whether on the EU or the UK side, will be complex and multi-faceted, and tracking them will require a correspondingly agile scrutiny system. As Professor Barnard put it, it will mean “scrutinising domestic UK legislation, which has nothing to do directly with EU law but in fact may ultimately trigger the rebalancing mechanism”.68 Her reference was to Article 9.4, which explicitly recognises the right of each Party “to determine its future policies and priorities with respect to labour and social, environmental or climate protection, or with respect to subsidy control”, but also acknowledges that the exercise of such autonomy may affect trade and investment in “a manner that changes the circumstances that have formed the basis for this Agreement”. In such circumstances the Party affected may take “appropriate rebalancing measures”. We discuss the rebalancing mechanism further in the next chapter.

82.The complexity of such scrutiny, requiring a simultaneous awareness of developments in both UK and EU law, and of the interaction between them, will be added to by the continuing application of much EU legislation in Northern Ireland, thanks to the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, and by the interaction between devolved and reserved competences within the UK itself. Undertaking such scrutiny will be a task not just for the Westminster Parliament, but for all the legislatures of the UK, working together.

83.The House of Lords has already agreed structures to undertake its share of scrutiny. The European Union Committee will cease its work on 31 March, and will be replaced by a European Affairs Committee, with a dedicated Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. But it will be important that other Select Committees, with sectoral expertise, for instance in environmental law or the regulation of financial markets, are also alert to the implications of ostensibly domestic-focused work for the wider UK-EU relationship.

84.The House of Lords has also been instrumental in establishing the Interparliamentary Forum on Brexit, which first met in October 2017, bringing together representatives of committees from Westminster and the devolved legislatures with an interest in Brexit. The Forum has not met since the lockdown began in March 2020 and is unlikely to meet until after the forthcoming elections in Scotland and Wales. When it does meet, it will be essential that it reviews its role and priorities, thereby starting the process of devising new forms of interparliamentary cooperation to support coordinated scrutiny of both intra-UK and UK-EU relations, in all their dimensions.

Civil society engagement

85.Article INST.7 requires each Party, in addressing issues covered in the TCA or in any supplementing agreement, to consult “its newly created or existing domestic advisory group or groups comprising a representation of independent civil society organisations including non-governmental organisations, business and employers’ organisations, as well as trade unions, active in economic, sustainable development, social, human rights, environmental and other matters”. They should aim to do so “at least once a year”, and should take steps “to promote public awareness” of these groups.

86.Article INST.8 mandates the establishment by the Parties of a Civil Society Forum. Although this joint body overlaps with the domestic advisory groups (and members of those groups will be able to participate), its remit is narrower. Its sole function will be to “conduct a dialogue on the implementation of Part Two” of the TCA—that is to say, the economic elements of the Partnership, covering trade, transport, fisheries and other matters. It has no power to make formal recommendations to the Partnership Council, and it has no locus to discuss Part Three, on law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The Partnership Council is charged with adopting “operational guidelines” for the Forum, which will meet “at least once a year, unless otherwise agreed by the Parties”. While Mr Gove told us that “the richer the dialogue we can have with civil society … the better”,69 in effect, it appears, the Forum will meet at the pleasure of the Partnership Council.

Conclusions

87.We welcome the TCA’s provision for a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, bringing together Members of the Westminster and European Parliaments—there should be a presumption that any modern, multi-faceted international agreement of this kind includes an integral parliamentary dimension. In our view, the initial goal of the Assembly should be to help rebuild relationships between the UK and the EU and strengthen channels of communication between the two Parliaments.

88.We note that the PPA will be particularly important, given that the European Parliament remains co-legislator in respect of all legislation affecting the EU Single Market in goods that applies in Northern Ireland under the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. MEPs will shape the laws that apply to the people of Northern Ireland: it is therefore vital that there should be a structure to enable parliamentarians in Westminster and Stormont to engage with MEPs throughout the EU’s legislative processes.

89.We note that the TCA does not mandate the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, placing the onus for establishing it upon the two Parliaments. A similar provision in the UK-Chile Agreement has yet to be implemented, and we note with concern the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster’s view that this would be a matter purely for the two Houses, not the Government. The Government has extensive power of initiative in both Houses, and also has the power to frustrate committee-driven initiatives if it so chooses, simply through inaction. The Government should give impetus to the Assembly, by supporting Members and committees in bringing forward proposals, and by committing to table the relevant motions in both Houses.

90.We note with regret that the wording of the relevant Article appears to preclude Members of the devolved legislatures from membership of the PPA. If this is indeed the case, it will be all the more important not only for other forms of direct engagement between the devolved legislatures and the European Parliament to be found, but for the legislatures of the United Kingdom to work together to support coordinated scrutiny of both intra-UK and UK-EU relations, in all their dimensions.

91.The provisions of the TCA on civil society engagement are relatively weak. In particular, we regret that the Civil Society Forum will essentially meet at the pleasure of the Partnership Council, and we therefore call on the Government to explain how it plans to give effect to this provision in facilitating the work of this new body.


34 For more detail, see European Union Committee, Brexit: the revised Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration (1st Report, Session 2019–21, HL Paper 4), paras 22–39 and 178–187

35 The Withdrawal Agreement states that the Joint Committee is to comprise “representatives of the Union and of the United Kingdom”, without specifying that they should be either a Member of the Commission or a Minister of the Crown. In implementing the Withdrawal Agreement, the Government subsequently included a provision requiring that the powers of the UK co-chair “are to be exercised personally by a Minister of the Crown”, and in practice the Joint Committee has always met in a Commissioner/Minister configuration. See European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, section 34. As the TCA itself imposes such a requirement in Trade and Cooperation Agreement, 24 December 2020 (Article INST.1), no comparable provision was made in the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020.

36 European Commission, College meeting: European Commission reorganises the “Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom” into the “Service for the EU-UK Agreements (19 January 2021): https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_21_160 [accessed 15 February 2021]

37 See @Barnes_Joe, tweet on 15 February 2021: https://twitter.com/Barnes_Joe/status/1361329622558859264 [accessed 4 March 2021]

38 Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street, ‘Lord Frost CMG appointed as a Minster of State in the Cabinet Office’, (17 February 2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lord-frost-cmg-appointed-as-a-minister-of-state-in-the-cabinet-office [accessed 4 March 2021]

39 Letter from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP to Lord Kinnoull, Chair, House of Lords European Union Committee, dated 23 February 2021: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/4775/documents/48216/default/

42 European Union Committee, Beyond Brexit: how to win friends and influence people (35th Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 322), paras 79, 75

43 Ibid., paragraph 101

45 Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street, ‘International Affairs Appointments in No.10 and Cabinet Office’, (29 January 2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/international-affairs-appointments-in-no10-and-cabinet-office [accessed 16 February 2021]

46 Q 2 (Professor Hestermeyer). The UK-Chile Association Agreement replicates the provision in the precursor EU-Chile Agreement that mandates (albeit without prescribing their frequency) “regular meetings between Heads of State and Government”. See Council Decision (EC) of 18 November 2002 on the signature and provisional application of certain provisions of an Agreement establishing an association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Chile, of the other part, OJ L 352 (30 December 2002), Article 13

49 See footnote 6 above. See also letter from Vice President Maroš Šefčovič to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP (undated): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963819/Letter_by_VP_Sefcovic_to_CDL_Gove.pdf [accessed 11 March 2021]

50 Letter from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP to Lord Kinnoull, Chair, House of Lords European Union Committee, dated 23 February 2021: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/4775/documents/48216/default/

51 Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, presented to Parliament pursuant to Section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act (No. 2) 2019 and Section 13 of the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 (19 October 2019), Article 164: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/840655/Agreement_on_the_withdrawal_of_the_United_Kingdom_of_Great_Britain_and_Northern_Ireland_from_the_European_Union_and_the_European_Atomic_Energy_Community.pdf [accessed 4 March 2021]

52 Trade and Cooperation Agreement, 24 December 2020 (Articles INST.1(4)(c)–(d)): the Partnership Council will have a lasting power to adopt amendments in cases provided for by the TCA itself (or by any supplementing agreement); it also has the power, until the end of a four-year period, to adopt amendments not so provided for, if they are necessary to correct errors or omissions. We note that this Committee, and the new International Agreements Committee, have repeatedly raised concerns over the extent to which Parliament can effectively scrutinise changes to agreements that are made by governance bodies, and which are not required to be laid under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

54 Withdrawal Agreement (19 October 2019), Annex VIII, Rules of Procedure of the Joint Committee and Specialised Committees

55 European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, section 35

58 Letter from Lord Kinnoull and Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP to the Speaker of the House of Commons and Lord Speaker, dated 21 July 2020: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2494/documents/24775/default/

59 Letter from Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to the Speaker of the House of Commons, dated 14 August 2020: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2476/documents/24633/default/

62 See Council Decision (EC) of 18 November 2002 on the signature and provisional application of certain provisions of an Agreement establishing an association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Chile, of the other part, OJ L 352 (30 December 2002), Article 9

63 Agreement establishing an Association between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Chile, CP 35, 2019, (February 2019) : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cs-chile-no22019-ukchile-agreement-establishing-an-association [accessed 17 February 2021]

64 See European Union Committee, Scrutiny of international agreements: Treaties considered on 26 February 2019, (31st Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 300), para 46

65 The Chairs of the House of Lords European Union Committee and of the House of Commons European Scrutiny and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Select Committees respectively.

67 Letter from David Rees MS, Chair, External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee, Welsh Senedd, dated 21 February 2021: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5069/documents/50248/default/ , Letter from Colin McGrath MLA, Chairperson, Committee for the Executive Office, Northern Ireland Assembly, dated 25 February 2021: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5070/documents/50249/default/ and Letter from Joan McAlpine MSP, Convener, Culture, Tourism, European and External Affairs Committee, Scottish Parliament, dated 4 March 2021: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5071/documents/50251/default/




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