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Post-Brexit devolution challenges highlighted by Agriculture Bill

23 June 2020

The Constitution Committee publishes a report on the constitutional implications of the Agriculture Bill.


The Bill addresses a range of matters arising from the United Kingdom's forthcoming  departure from the European Union, in particular the UK's withdrawal from the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its replacement with new arrangements.

Key findings

  • The committee believes that disputes between the UK and devolved governments are “increasingly likely” especially in relation to future international trade agreements. 
  • If the UK Government had to exercise its ultimate ‘backstop' to ensure that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland complied with international obligations, this would “indicate that inter-governmental relations had reached a low ebb”. 
  • Peers want the Government to update Parliament on how the issue of overlapping competences within the Agriculture Bill is being managed in negotiation with the devolved administrations.
  • Overall the committee welcomed changes to the Bill, due to reach its next stage of scrutiny in the House of Lords early next month, as “evidence of the valuable effect that parliamentary scrutiny has on legislation and how constructive engagement by the Government can result in better law.