Fighting to ‘Take Back Control’: The House of Lords and Brexit
A key aspect of the campaign to leave the European Union (EU) was the chance to ‘take back control of our laws’. No longer would ‘Brussels’ tell the United Kingdom what to do, or so the narrative developed. The logic was that Parliament would regain powers that had been transferred to the EU over the course of half a century. Yet, when she sought to trigger Article 50, Prime Minister Theresa May initially tried to circumvent Parliament in an early sign that Brexit could mark an executive power grab. Only thanks to a court ruling was Parliament enabled to vote on the matter, prompting the first in a series of pieces of legislation on Brexit: the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017. Complementing the chapters by Thompson and Yong and by Whitaker et al. in this volume, this chapter will explore the changing dynamics of Parliament-Executive relations in light of Brexit, focusing primarily on the role of the upper chamber—the House of Lords—where the Government does not have majority, thanks to the unusual methods of appointing peers, many of whom sit as Cross-benchers, outside the normal party system. It will look at the Government’s ability to get legislation through the Lords, with particular reference to the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 and the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
KeywordsHouse of Lords Brexit Executive-Parliament relations EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018
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