The Parliamentarization of Brexit

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Humanities LT G255 (University of Glasgow)
Kenneth Armstrong , University of Cambridge
As the UK prepares to withdraw from the European Union, parliamentary bodies at national, sub-national and supranational levels are gearing up to engage with the 'Brexit' process. The paper analyses these engagements having in mind the unique nature of the undertaking they seek to influence, namely the withdrawal of a country from membership of an international organisation. The withdrawal process begs important constitutional questions about the role that parliaments should and should not play. However, the argument is made that paradoxically, the over-constitutionalised EU and the under-constitutionalised UK end up producing a similar lack of clarity as to the appropriate role of parliamentary assemblies beyond the legislative process. The paper highlights the role played by litigation and threats of litigation in seeking to enhance parliamentary power. While focused specifically on Brexit, the paper speaks to a wider literature on parliamentarization and de-parliamentarization of European integration. It also draws attention to the complex nature of executive authority at national and EU levels and the challenges that raises from parliamentary oversight.