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EU (Withdrawal) Bill needs amending to make it constitutionally acceptable

29 January 2018

Ahead of the second reading of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in the Upper House, the House of Lords Constitution Committee calls on the Government to amend the Bill.


The Committee's report states that legislation is necessary to ensure legal continuity and certainty when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. The Committee does not comment on the merits of Brexit, but concludes that the Bill, as drafted, has fundamental flaws of a constitutional nature. The Committee find that the Bill risks undermining the legal certainty it seeks to provide, gives overly-broad powers to ministers, and has significant consequences for the relationship between the UK Government and the devolved administrations. The Committee propose a number of recommendations to improve the Bill to make it more constitutionally appropriate and fit for purpose, while still meeting the Government's objectives.

Chairman's comments

Chairman of the House of Lords Constitution Committee, Baroness Taylor of Bolton said:

"We acknowledge the scale, challenge and unprecedented nature of the task of converting existing EU law into UK law, but as it stands this Bill is constitutionally unacceptable. In our two previous reports we highlighted the issues this raised and we are disappointed that the Government has not acted on a number of our recommendations.

"However, we identify a number of practical ways in which the flaws in the Bill can be addressed in line with existing constitutional principles and without compromising the Government's aims. We look forward to constructive engagement with the Government on our recommendations."

Further information

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