Over 70 civil society organisations unite to fight for scrutiny of Brexit legislation

Written by Matt Ritchie

More than 70 civil society organisations are calling on the Government to ensure Brexit legislation does not represent a power grab by Ministers, and sidelining of the devolved nations.

The second reading of The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, commonly known as the Repeal Bill, debate starts next Thursday. The Bill will convert existing EU rules into UK law and formalise the withdrawal deal.

Charities, NGOs, and other civil society organisations have formed an alliance coordinated by Unlock Democracy to put forward their views on the legislation. Alliance members include Greenpeace, NCVO, Amnesty International, Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

In a blog post on Unlock Democracy’s website, the campaigning group said civil society organisations are concerned at the scope of delegated powers in the Repeal Bill. The campaign is calling for clear definitions around when Ministers can edit laws without normal parliamentary scrutiny, and introduction of a system providing for parliamentary scrutiny of any changes to laws.

The alliance takes no position on the result of the referendum, and is concerned with getting the best possible deal for members and wider civil society as the UK leaves the European Union.

“What is currently being proposed by the government could amount to a worrying transfer of unaccountable power to ministers,” Unlock Democracy said. “With so many sectors affected - from human rights, environment, consumer rights, workers’ rights, and equality, all the way through to democracy, transparency, food, farming, education, and trade - there is both a need and appetite to collaborate on the bill.”

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