The independent London newspaper

Brexit: MPs must have a role

06 October, 2017

• YOUR article (Emily: leave Brexit solution to us, September 29) was right to make the point that, though Conservative and Labour policies on Brexit look very alike, the actual outcome of negotiations will depend heavily on the negotiating stance and skills of the government of the day.

But the practical consequences for ordinary people will depend quite as much on how, after Brexit, future governments handle their new-found freedoms as on the deal itself.

This is not something we can leave to governments in Whitehall, whatever their hue. Parliament must have the final say, or we make a mockery of the claim to be restoring power to Westminster.

As matters stand, a hard-right government of the future would face little impediment to a bonfire of regulations, dismantling so many of the rights, protections and obligations (in the workplace, the environment, our food, water, medicines and much more) that we’ve enjoyed across our lifetimes.

The all-important detail will be in regulations, over which, as matters stand, Parliament will have very little say. The content of regulations is currently almost entirely in the hands of government, unfettered in practical terms by Parliament.

So, yes, the way Brexit negotiations are handled is vitally important. But we must also look beyond the negotiations and make sure Parliament is properly equipped for an uncertain future.

The independent thinktank, the Hansard Society (, offers a constructive and pragmatic set of proposals: see their blog for September 5. MPs need to be pressed to commit to something like this to ensure that Parliament has a proper degree of control.

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