At the same time as Parliament prepares to ‘take back control’ from Brussels, the executive is in fact accruing to itself further control over the legislative process. In this post I address a number of trends – only some of which are a direct consequence of the unique circumstances of Brexit – which suggest a deeper realignment of institutional power within the constitution and a consequent diminution of Parliament’s legislative power.
In the classic American musical, Guys and Dolls, the cast sang the praises of Nathan Detroit, the man who ran The Oldest Established Floating Crap Game in the City of New York. The game produced winners and losers with one exception: Nathan Detroit was always a winner. As long as, that is, he could keep the crap game going.
Faced with a choice between splitting her Cabinet into winners and losers, Theresa May has sought to keep the Brexit crap game going. She does this by avoiding betting on either a hard or soft Brexit.
The Scottish and Welsh Governments worked together closely during their negotiations with the UK Government over those aspects of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that related to devolution. Despite ultimately choosing different paths, say Hedydd Phylip and Greg Davies, this spirit of cooperation looks set to continue.
The Sewel Convention has historically worked well, says Michael Keating, but Brexit will put it to the test.
A fraught point in the handling of the EU Withdrawal Bill has been the way in which it deals with those competences that are currently both devolved and Europeanized. The UK and devolved governments were initially far apart on this. They have gradually converged in their positions but latest changes are still not enough for the Scottish Government.