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Fast-tracking of Brexit Bill should not set a precedent

23 February 2017

The House of Lords Constitution Committee today publishes a report on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.


The Committee says that while its usual concerns about the fast-tracking of legislation are alleviated by the brevity and simplicity of the Bill, this should not be seen as setting a precedent for future constitutional bills. In particular, the report specifically states that the fast tracking of this Bill should not be used "as a precedent in relation to future measures of constitutional significance, such as the 'Great Repeal Bill' and other Brexit-related legislation."

Chairman's comments

Commenting Lord Lang of Monkton, Chairman of the Committee, said:

"The European Union Withdrawal Bill is undeniably of significant constitutional importance. Usually we would be concerned about the fast-tracking of constitutional legislation, particularly when the justification for doing so depends on a political, rather than constitutional, deadline. 

"However, we recognise the political imperatives that underlie this Bill. In addition, any concerns we might have about the curtailment of parliamentary scrutiny are mitigated by the fact that the Bill is very short and straight forward.

"We have made clear, however, that this should not set a precedent for future constitutional legislation. The ‘Great Repeal Bill' and other Brexit-related legislation will be much more complicated, and we would expect that Parliament will have the opportunity fully to scrutinise such important legislation."

The Committee stage of the bill is due to start on 27 February.

Further information

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