Call for Evidence
Regulating after Brexit
On 13 June 2022, the European Scrutiny Committee launched an inquiry into ‘Regulating after Brexit’. The inquiry will look at the opportunities for, and the challenges of, policy and law-making after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
The Government has made post-Brexit regulatory reform a priority and has stated that the UK’s EU exit creates a “unique opportunity” to regulate differently to support “the best interests” of UK businesses and citizens.
In February 2022, Rt Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP was appointed Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency. Mr Rees-Mogg’s appointment followed various Government initiatives and policy papers focussed on post-Brexit regulatory reform (including the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform; the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy department’s public consultation on reforming the UK’s ‘Better Regulation Framework’; and the Government’s ‘Benefits of Brexit’ position paper).
To date, however, little attention has been paid to the regulatory environment against which the Government intends to pursue policy reforms and legislate. The UK’s post-Brexit statute book includes ‘retained EU law’ (EU law kept after the UK’s EU withdrawal), the Internal Market Act 2020 and various provisions relating to the devolution settlements. Commitments under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, the Northern Ireland Protocol, and the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement also overlay this complex legal and policy landscape.
At the same time, the policy areas hinted at by the Government for reform are critical to the success of the UK economy, and therefore its plans demand close scrutiny and careful consideration.
Alongside the Brexit Freedoms Bill, the 2022 Queen’s Speech announced forthcoming legislation in the areas of agriculture, financial services and data. It is also likely that other important sectors of the economy will be impacted by the Government’s plans. Understanding the views of affected stakeholders—e.g. on where and how the UK should diverge from EU rules—is vital if the most is to be made of the UK’s newfound regulatory autonomy.
The Committee is therefore inquiring into the following and related issues.
- How was the UK’s regulatory autonomy constrained when it was an EU Member State?
- After Brexit, how can the UK now regulate differently?
- How is the Government regulating differently since EU exit and how could the process of doing so be most effectively undertaken?
- What restrictions are there on the UK’s regulatory autonomy as a result of commitments in the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement and the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement?
- How might divergence in certain policy areas have practical consequences for the UK’s wider relationship with the EU?
- How might Common Frameworks—introduced by the Government to ensure a common UK approach is taken where powers have returned from the EU which intersect with policy areas of devolved competence—affect the Government’s ability to regulate differently after EU exit?
- What wider obligations—flowing from new UK free trade agreements—might affect the Government’s ability to regulate differently after EU exit?
- In which sectors is the UK well placed to maximise the opportunities afforded by its newfound regulatory autonomy and, conversely, in which areas might diverging from the EU prove more challenging?
- Of the priority sectors highlighted by the Committee (agriculture, data and financial services), where and how should the UK diverge from EU rules?
- Are there any specific examples of retained EU law that should be kept or revoked and/or replaced?
- What are the likely cost and resource implications of divergence and how can these be effectively managed?
- Should the Government adopt a particular approach to regulating in areas previously governed by EU rules?
- Should priority be given to forms of governance like legislation or should other methods like self-regulation be pursued?
The Committee is inviting interested parties to submit written evidence relevant to the above by 22 July 2022. The Committee intends to hold oral evidence sessions with experts and stakeholders. Oral evidence sessions and other inquiry-related activities will be announced in due course.
This call for written evidence has now closed.Go back to Regulating after Brexit Inquiry