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Committee launch new major inquiry on House of Commons procedure and the territorial constitution

24 September 2020

The Chair of the Procedure Committee, Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, announced a major Procedure Committee inquiry today at an event at the Institute for Government.

The new inquiry will investigate how the House of Commons, in its procedures and practices, engages with the United Kingdom’s territorial constitution.

The extensive inquiry will investigate a number of issues, including:

  • The operation and effect of the standing orders establishing “English votes for English laws” (EVEL) procedures.
  • Procedures for notifying the House of decisions made in devolved legislatures where relevant, including decisions on legislative consent motions.
  • The procedural steps required to facilitate greater joint working between committees of each of the UK’s devolved legislatures and Committees of the House of Commons.

The inquiry will build on recent research undertaken by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, as well as the House of Commons Liaison Committee and the Interparliamentary Forum on Brexit.

As part of the detailed investigation, the Committee will be examining examples of best practice in other parliamentary chambers, with particular reference to constitutional systems which operate on devolved and federal models.

Chair's comments

Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Chair of the Procedure Committee, said:

“I am pleased to be announcing this new inquiry as Chair of the House of Commons Procedure Committee. It is particularly appropriate to do so at the Institute for Government, which has produced a valuable analysis of how the Sewel Convention underpins the relationships between all four legislatures in our territorial constitution.

“This inquiry will take a closer look at how Commons procedures support those relationships. The Institute for Government’s thorough and detailed recommendations provide an excellent starting point to examine how the Commons uses the Sewel Convention.

“It is now five years since the House of Commons adopted procedures for ‘English votes for English laws’: we will look at how these have operated. And, building on work done by colleagues in the previous Parliament, we will examine the scope for greater cooperation between Commons committees and their counterparts in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

“There are clear political differences between the executives in our devolved system. But there ought to be common interest between our legislatures. The Committee expects to shine a light on how each of our chambers can collaborate better on our shared interests, an objective that is crucially important as the nation meets the twin challenges of coronavirus and Brexit.”

The Procedure Committee are now welcoming evidence submissions to this inquiry. Written evidence can be submitted through the Committee’s website. A livestream of the Institute for Government event where the Chair discussed this inquiry can be found here.

Further information

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