I am writing to request that you put a proposal to the Procedure and Privileges Committee in respect of the scrutiny of certain drafts of statutory instruments (Sis) that are to be laid before the House under section 31 of the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020.
Section 31 contains a new power that is very similar to some of those in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 in that ministers may choose which parliamentary procedure will apply to Sis made under it. Where a minister would like the negative procedure to apply, a draft of the SI must be laid before parliament so that a committee of each House can make a recommendation as to whether that procedure is appropriate.
For instruments made under the similar powers in the 2018 Act, the House tasked the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) with carrying out this role, which came to be known as ‘sifting’. I propose that the SLSC be given the role of sifting the proposed negative Sis laid under the new power as well. I understand that the SLSC has considered this question already and would be happy to take on the role should the Procedure and Privileges Committee agree it should have it.
I have discussed this proposal with the other members of the Usual Channels and it has their full support.
EVANS OF BOWES PARK
[new words in bold, deleted words struck through]
That a Select Committee be appointed to scrutinise secondary legislation.
(1)The Committee shall report on draft instruments and memoranda laid before Parliament under—
(a)sections 8, 9 and 23(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and
(b)ection 31 of the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020.
(2)Paragraph (1) shall lapse upon the expiry of the power to make instruments under sections 8, 9 and 23(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
(3)(2)The Committee shall, with the exception of those instruments in paragraphs (5) and (6), scrutinise—
(a)every instrument (whether or not a statutory instrument), or draft of an instrument, which is laid before each House of Parliament and upon which proceedings may be, or might have been, taken in either House of Parliament under an Act of Parliament;
(b)every proposal which is in the form of a draft of such an instrument and is laid before each House of Parliament under an Act of Parliament, with a view to determining whether or not the special attention of the House should be drawn to it on any of the grounds specified in paragraph (2)(4).
(4)(3)The grounds on which an instrument, draft or proposal may be drawn to the special attention of the House are—
(a)that it is politically or legally important or gives rise to issues of public policy likely to be of interest to the House;
(b)that it may be inappropriate in view of changed circumstances since the enactment of the parent Act;
(c)that it may inappropriately implement European Union legislation;
(d)(c)that it may imperfectly achieve its policy objectives;
(e)(d)that the explanatory material laid in support provides insufficient information to gain a clear understanding about the instrument’s policy objective and intended implementation;
(f)(e)that there appear to be inadequacies in the consultation process which relates to the instrument;
(g)(f)that the instrument appears to deal inappropriately with deficiencies in retained EU law.
(5)(4)The exceptions are—
(a)remedial orders, and draft remedial orders, under section 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998;
(b)draft orders under sections 14 and 18 of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, and subordinate provisions orders made or proposed to be made under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001;
(c)Measures under the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 and instruments made, and drafts of instruments to be made, under them.
(6)(5)The Committee shall report on draft orders and documents laid before Parliament under section 11(1) of the Public Bodies Act 2011 in accordance with the procedures set out in sections 11(5) and (6). The Committee may also consider and report on any material changes in a draft order laid under section 11(8) of the Act.
(7)(6)The Committee shall also consider such other general matters relating to the effective scrutiny of secondary legislation and arising from the performance of its functions under paragraphs (1) to (6) as the Committee considers appropriate, except matters within the orders of reference of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.
That the Committee have power to appoint sub-committees and to refer to them any matters within its terms of reference; that the Committee have power to appoint the Chairsmen of sub-committees; that the quorum of each sub-committee be two;
The Committee’s power to appoint sub-committees shall lapse upon the expiry of the power to make new instruments under sections 8, 9 and section 23(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and shall lapse entirely upon expiry of the last such remaining power;
That the Committee have power to co-opt any member to serve on a sub-committee;
That the Committee and its sub-committees have power to send for persons, papers and records;
That the Committee and its sub-committees have power to appoint specialist advisers;
That the Committee and its sub-committees have leave to report from time to time;
That the reports of the Committee and its sub-committees be printed, regardless of any adjournment of the House;
That the evidence taken by the Committee or its sub-committees in the last session of Parliament be referred to the Committee or its sub-committees;
That the evidence taken by the Committee or its sub-committees be published, if the Committee or its sub-committees so wish.