Advertisement

Fighting to ‘Take Back Control’: The House of Lords and Brexit

  • Julie SmithEmail author
Chapter
Part of the European Administrative Governance book series (EAGOV)

Abstract

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.

Keywords

House of Lords Brexit Executive-Parliament relations EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 

References

  1. Bagehot, W. (2001). The English Constitution. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Miles Taylor. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bogdanor, V. (2009). The New British Constitution. Oxford/Portland: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Brusenbauch Meislova, M. (2019). The European Parliament in the Brexit Process: Leading Role, Supporting Role or just a Small Cameo? In T. Christiansen & D. Fromage (Eds.), Brexit and Democracy: The Role of Parliaments in the UK and the European Union. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  4. Daily Mail Comment. (2018, May 10). How Brussels Must Be Chortling as These Traitors in Ermine Betray 17.4 Million Voters. Daily Mail, p. 18.Google Scholar
  5. House of Lords. (2011). Library Note, ‘House of Lords Reform: Chronology 1900–2010’, LLN 2011/025. London: House of Lords.Google Scholar
  6. House of Lords. (2017). Library Note, ‘History of the House of Lords: A Short Introduction’, LLN 2017/020. London: House of Lords.Google Scholar
  7. Huff, A., & Smith, J. (2015). Westminster and the European Union: Ever-Increasing Scepticism? In C. Hefftler et al. (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of National Parliaments and the European Union (pp. 312–331). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Letts, Q. (2018, May 10). The Lords Who Loathe Democracy. Daily Mail, pp. 19, 20.Google Scholar
  9. Lister, S. (2017, March 7). Theresa May Sacks Michael Heseltine as Government Adviser over Brexit Rebellion. Independent. Available at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-lord-heseltine-government-adviser-Brexit-rebellion-house-of-lords-a7617191.htm/. Last accessed 20 Jan 2019.
  10. Lynch, P., Whitaker, R., & Cygan, A. (2019). Brexit and the UK Parliament: Challenges and Opportunities. In T. Christiansen & D. Fromage (Eds.), Brexit and Democracy: The Role of Parliaments in the UK and the European Union. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. New Statesman. (2018, May 10). Tory Brexiteers Are Raging Against the House of Lords – Six Years Ago They Voted to Keep It. Available at www.newstatesman.com/. Last accessed 2 June 2018.
  12. Smith, J. (2015). Europe. In A. Seldon & M. Finn (Eds.), The Coalition Effect (pp. 370–396). Cambridge: CUP.Google Scholar
  13. Smith, J. (2017a). The UK’s Journeys into and Out of the EU: Destinations Unknown. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Smith, J. (2017b). National Parliaments and the European Union – A View from Westminster. In D. Jančič (Ed.), National Parliaments After the Lisbon Treaty and the Euro Crisis – Resilience or Resignation (pp. 77–95). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Stevens, J. (2018, May 10). It’s Time to Pull Plug on the Lords. Daily Mail, p. 1.Google Scholar
  16. Taylor, M. (2001), ‘Introduction’ to Bagehot (2001), pp. vii–xxix.Google Scholar
  17. Thompson, L., & Yong, B. (2019). What Do We Mean by Parliamentary Scrutiny of Brexit? A View from the House of Commons. In T. Christiansen & D. Fromage (Eds.), Brexit and Democracy: The Role of Parliaments in the UK and the European Union. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations