Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
Vital national interests are at stake in future relationship negotiations with the EU
- Read the full report: The EU’s mandate for negotiating a new partnership with the UK: outcome of Select Committee consultation
The European Scrutiny Committee (ESC) today calls on the Government to:
- Schedule a debate and vote in Parliament on the EU’s mandate for negotiating a future relationship with the UK
- Address the issues identified in the European Scrutiny Committee’s Report as matters of vital national interest to the UK
- Facilitate essential parliamentary scrutiny throughout the negotiating process
- Provide regular progress reports on the negotiations, and feedback received from stakeholder consultation
The ESC has consulted Select Committees on the implications of the EU’s negotiating mandate for the UK’s vital national interests in their policy areas. Today’s Report also highlights their concerns.
Under section 13A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, if the ESC considers that EU legislation (or proposed EU legislation) – in this case the Council Decision establishing the EU’s negotiating position – “raises a matter of vital national interest”, it can require Ministers to arrange a debate and vote in the Commons within 14 sitting days of the publication of the ESC’s Report, on Wednesday 6 May.
Having examined the EU’s negotiating position, as well as the Prime Minister’s February statement and UK Government’s Command Paper setting out its objectives, the Committee has consulted the Select Committees which it considers have an interest in the UK’s negotiations with the EU and decided to put forward a motion for debate.
Its reasons for doing so are set out in today’s report, along with an overview of the key issues highlighted by the Committees in their respective policy areas, and a recommended motion for debate and vote in the Commons. The motion:
“...urges the Government to conduct its negotiations with the European Union with the fullest possible transparency to facilitate essential parliamentary scrutiny; also urges the Government to make regular progress reports on the negotiations, including on stakeholder contributions to the consultation on The Future Relationship with the EU: the UK’s Approach to Negotiations, and to address the issues identified by the European Scrutiny Committee in its report…as matters of vital national interest.”
Commenting on the report, ESC Chairman Sir William Cash said:
“Parliamentary scrutiny and debate are the lifeblood of our democracy, and this Committee has throughout its existence since 1973 insisted on transparency both from national Governments and the European Union. We have also consistently warned of the consequences of decisions being taken by the EU’s Council of Ministers, behind closed doors, without any transcript of the proceedings. This is of very specific concern to the United Kingdom, now that we are in a transition period until 31 December 2020, having left the European Union on 31 January.
“Whilst we acknowledge the sensitive nature of the negotiations between the UK and EU regarding the future relationship, we reaffirm that Parliament must maintain its continuing pivotal role in safeguarding the UK’s vital national interests throughout the negotiations, both in the House of Commons itself and through its Select Committees.
Latest News from
Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
Time to act to reduce gambling-related harm, says Lords report02/07/2020 15:33:00
The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry today warns that more needs to be done to prevent gambling-related harm.
Report on international agreements with Morocco and Poland published29/06/2020 15:33:00
The International Agreements Sub-Committee has published a report on Brexit-related international agreements.
Democracy under threat from ‘pandemic of misinformation’ online, say Lords Committee29/06/2020 14:25:00
The UK Government should act immediately to deal with a ‘pandemic of misinformation’ that poses an existential threat to our democracy and way of life.
Name and shame betting companies for poor behaviour29/06/2020 11:38:00
“Complacent” DCMS and “slow, weak” regulator it oversees lagging behind industry moves and public attitudes to gambling harm; both have “failed to adequately protect consumers”; whole system of regulation needs a “radical overhaul”.
Committee writes to platforms on balance of power with news publishers26/06/2020 15:33:00
Following an oral evidence session on 23 June, the Communications and Digital Committee writes to Facebook and Google asking for clarity on unresolved questions.
Call for evidence on UK-Japan trade negotiations launched25/06/2020 15:33:00
The House of Lords International Agreements Sub-Committee has today launched a further inquiry, seeking evidence on the ongoing UK-Japan trade negotiations.
MPs launch inquiry into fairness of private prosecutions24/06/2020 15:33:00
A House of Commons scrutiny committee is to ask whether there are enough safeguards in place to prevent miscarriages of justice in private prosecutions.
Post-Brexit devolution challenges highlighted by Agriculture Bill23/06/2020 15:33:00
The Constitution Committee publishes a report on the constitutional implications of the Agriculture Bill.
Raise the rates of legacy benefits to support people hit hard by coronavirus pandemic, not just Universal Credit, say MPs22/06/2020 15:33:00
Rates of older benefits must be raised to provide help for millions of people who have not yet moved to Universal Credit and who are struggling to meet the extra inescapable costs imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Work and Pensions Committee says today.