The House of Lords EU Select Committee has written to Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab urging him not to stand in the way of Parliamentary scrutiny, and to honour his previous commitment to give evidence to Committees “on a regular basis”.
The Committee was told on Tuesday that the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU will be unable to attend or give evidence to the Committee until after a deal with the EU has been finalised. The Committee describes this as “unacceptable…[it] inhibits the Committee in fulfilling its obligations in scrutinising Brexit”.
Chair of the House of Lords EU Select Committee, Lord Boswell of Aynho, said: “Select Committees have a job to do. Lack of engagement from the Government, keeping us in the dark, means we can’t do that job. Brexit was supposed to be about enhancing the role of Parliament, not diminishing it – but that message doesn’t seem to have got through to Ministers.”
The Committee’s letter also calls on the Government to ensure that enough time is allowed between an agreement being reached, and any ‘Meaningful vote’, so that committees can make recommendations to the two Houses.
Recent media reports suggest that the time allowed for committees to report on the agreement and the ‘political declaration’ on future UK-EU relations could be a little as ten days.
Effective Parliamentary scrutiny is only possible if committees have access to the documentation, the House of Lords explained in a statement.
The House of Lords EU Select Committee is also requesting that the Government share with it the latest draft text of the agreement – of which 95 per cent has reportedly been agreed.