What do we mean by parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit? A view from the House of Commons

Louise Thompson, Ben Yong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union has already resulted in three significant pieces of legislation for the UK Parliament to scrutinize: the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in the 2016-17 session; the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill; and the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill in the 2017-19 session, all three of which went on to receive Royal Assent. We explore here the type and quality of parliamentary scrutiny of the first of these bills. Scrutiny is an ambiguous concept, contingent upon a legislatures’ constitutional and procedural rules, but it is also contingent on the stances of particular actors – including government, opposition, parliamentary committees and outside observers. We explore here the perspectives of key actors during the House of Commons’ scrutiny of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. Our analysis finds that the quality of parliament’s scrutiny of the bill shifts, depending on who is asking the question, their objectives, the object of their scrutiny and the forum in which the question is being asked. In short, the meanings attributed to scrutiny of EU withdrawal in the UK broadly correspond to the various constitutional, procedural and party-political dimensions in play.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrexit and Democracy
Subtitle of host publicationThe Role of Parliaments in the UK and the European Union
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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