Because of leaks coming out of the UK Government, we have known for some time what the broad lines of their negotiating offer to the EU would be. Yet the White Paper is still striking for the depth, breadth and detail about the UK’s future dependence on the European Union. It covers almost everything, from customs, to regulations in industrial and agricultural products, competition policy, regulatory institutions, security, broadcasting, justice, social and environmental protection, health insurance, research, energy, refugees, data exchange and overseas development.
Last week the government released its fisheries white paper. While most of the fisheries and Brexit debate centres on quotas and access to waters, there is also an important devolution dimension. Brexit already has profound consequences for the UK’s devolution settlement and fisheries policy is one example of this.
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.