The government has made a major concession in the EU Withdrawal Bill, accepting the Procedure Committee’s proposal to set up a new committee charged with checking the so-called Henry VIII clauses of secondary legislation.
Under the proposal tabled by Charles Walker OBE MP on behalf of the cross-party Procedure Committee last week, a new “Sifting Committee” is to decide whether statutory instruments proposed by ministers require a vote in the Commons.
This is a most welcome development, addressing some of the concerns that have arisen over ministers’ power to change laws without the agreement of parliament. However, for many MPs it does not go far enough as minister’s will still be able to disregard the new committee’s recommendations.
The announcement comes 2 days before it was due to be voted on by parliament on Wednesday 13 December, alongside other important amendments, that most notably also include amendment 7 tabled by Dominic Grieve MP, which demands that parliament has the final say on any deal with Brussels.