Brexit: Powers of EU-UK Joint Committee - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:37 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice) 3:37 pm, 20th March 2019

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will repeat the Answer to an Urgent Question given by my honourable friend the Minister for Exiting the European Union in the other place. The Answer is as follows.

“As is common in international agreements, the withdrawal agreement provides for a joint committee, comprising representatives of the United Kingdom and the European Union, to govern the implementation and application of the withdrawal agreement. The joint committee will have the powers listed in Article 164 to ensure both parties are able to discuss any issues that might arise concerning the management and operation of the withdrawal agreement.

As set out in paragraph 3 of Article 166, the joint committee will make all its decisions and recommendations ‘by mutual consent’ of the parties. In other words, it cannot act if the United Kingdom does not agree. That is an important protection for the United Kingdom, which honourable and right honourable Members should welcome.

Clearly, Parliament will expect that it will be able to undertake scrutiny of the work of the Joint Committee, as indeed will the European Parliament. Quite how that will operate is something which the Government will discuss with Members of this House and the other place, should this House give its support to the withdrawal agreement. But this House should be in no doubt that the Government’s approach at the joint committee will be underpinned by full ministerial accountability to Parliament”.