London - Even before the UK
leaves the European Union, its Parliament may need to pass as many as 15
new bills and thousands of pages of “secondary legislation” covering
immigration, trade and agriculture to name but a few.
These are among
the findings of an 18-page report released on Monday by the Institute of
Government that examined what it called the “huge burden” Brexit will
place on lawmakers and government departments to pull off the biggest
peacetime challenge the country has faced.
“The legislation required for Brexit will leave little parliamentary
time for anything else - and making a success of it will require a
large volume of bills and secondary legislation to be passed by
Parliament against a hard deadline,” Hannah White, IFG’s director of
research, said in a release.
To give a sense of the task at hand, the think tank said that in most
years, about 20 new pieces of government legislation are unveiled
during the Queen’s speech, when
Elizabeth II formally kicks off a new parliamentary session; that’s the
number of bills both houses can typically handle.
So just imagine how pushed for time lawmakers will be when they are
faced with 10 to 15 new Brexit bills “with fewer than two complete
parliamentary sessions in which to do the job,” the report said.
“For government departments, the challenge will not just be getting
this legislation through Parliament, but coping with the impact of
legislating for Brexit on top of ‘business as usual,”’ the London-based
It added that “considerable time and resource will be soaked up and
there will be precious little space left in the legislative programme
for other legislation that departments might have wanted to see pass.”
Great Repeal Act, which would end the EU’s legal supremacy in the UK,
is passed and receives Royal Assent in early 2018, this would allow just
over a year for Parliament to pass the secondary raft of legislation
required when the UK leaves by March 2019.
That timeline is based on Prime Minister
Theresa May triggering
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal mechanism to quit the bloc,
by the end of this month as promised. That gives way to two years of
formal and complex negotiations that could see the UK leave without a
deal on things like trade - a prospect often referred to as a
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