Submission to the Procedure Committee: Scrutiny of delegated legislation

Unlock Democracy regularly submits responses to consultations and calls for evidence from Westminster Select Committees, as well as devolved ones in Scotland and Wales. You can browse our latest responses below.

For more information contact our Policy and Communications Officer Sarah Clarke on sarah.clarke@unlockdemocracy.org.uk.

It is important to remember that concerns about delegated legislation and its scrutiny is not new, and standards around the acceptable use of delegated legislation have already been established by parliament. The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act (2006) provides clear ‘red lines’.

The act sets out clearly what delegated legislation cannot be used for. While these constraints cannot be copy and pasted into the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, this act provides a model for putting clear constraints on delegated legislation. These established parliamentary standards should not be breached by the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

The bill requires fundamental amendment to ensure there is clarity about how parliament intends for the powers to be used. Otherwise, with even the best intentions, there is the potential for the powers to be used outside of their intended scope, and variances in interpretation across departments, given their current broad and undefined nature.