Interparliamentary Forum - 25 February 2022
On Friday 25 February the first meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum (IPF) took place in the House of Lords.
At the Meeting Members of the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Parliament / Senedd, House of Commons, and House of Lords agreed the Terms of Reference for the IPF. The House of Commons was represented by Liaison Committee Chair Sir Bernard Jenkin and Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Member Lloyd Russell-Moyle.
The aim of the IPF is to provide a mechanism for dialogue and cooperation between the legislatures of the devolved nations and Westminster in meeting common scrutiny challenges.
Lord Speaker's comments
The IPF was opened by the Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, who commented:
'My engagement with the Speakers and Presiding officers from devolved Parliaments has been hugely positive and I have been impressed by their commitment and desire to work together on an equal footing in the best interest of our citizens.
'The IPF should be an important forum to support such work. By meeting together today, the parliamentarians have shown leadership and unity of purpose, and I look forward to supporting them in their future work.'
At the meeting the IPF held a discussion with Neil O’Brien MP, Minister for Levelling Up, The Union and Constitution, on a range of issues including intergovernmental relations and the UK Governments Levelling proposals.
Alongside the new Terms of Reference that the IPF also agreed a joint statement.
On 25 February 2022, we as the Chairs, Conveners and Members of the relevant committees in the Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru, Northern Ireland Assembly, House of Commons and House of Lords, met at the House of Lords for the first meeting of the Interparliamentary Forum, following an invitation from the Lord Speaker. This forum is the successor to the Interparliamentary Forum on Brexit which provided a forum for collective scrutiny of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The continuation of a forum underlines the value and importance of continued exchanges of views and best practice between our legislatures in the new frameworks beyond Brexit.
Following updates from each legislature, we discussed the purpose and future work of the Interparliamentary Forum and agreed that the Forum provides an important start for vital dialogue and cooperation between parliamentarians. The Forum will aim to improve scrutiny through the mutual exchange of information and by seeking a consistent approach to improving transparency and accountability at both a Ministerial and inter-governmental level in our respective jurisdictions. We also held an exchange of views on intergovernmental relations with Neil O’Brien MP, Minister for Levelling Up, The Union and Constitution.
We intend to build on this positive start with another meeting in the latter part of 2022.
The primary purpose of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum is to provide a mechanism for dialogue and cooperation between parliamentarians from the Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru / Welsh Parliament, House of Commons and House of Lords in meeting common scrutiny challenges arising from the new constitutional arrangements following the UK’s departure from the EU and to co-operate in finding solutions to overcome them. This will involve developing an inter-parliamentary approach aimed at ensuring appropriate levels of Ministerial accountability and transparency in a range of areas which in many cases may require new scrutiny processes. Initial priorities for the forum will include oversight of –
- Inter-governmental relations including agreeing a joint annual report on addressing common scrutiny challenges;
- The operation of international agreements including the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, the Withdrawal Agreement and the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol;
- The UK internal market including the UK Internal Market Act and Common Frameworks;
- The impact of the new constitutional arrangements on the legislative process including the use of secondary powers and the legislative consent process.
The Inter-Parliamentary Forum will aim to improve scrutiny in these areas through both a mutual exchange of information and best practice at a parliamentary level and in seeking a consistent approach to improving accountability at both a Ministerial and inter-governmental level.
- Sinéad McLaughlin MLA, Chair, Committee for the Executive Office, Northern Ireland Assembly
- Dr Caoimhe Archibald MLA, Chair, Committee for the Economy, Northern Ireland Assembly
- Huw Irranca-Davies MS, Chair, Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee, Senedd Cymru
- Clare Adamson MSP, Convener, Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee, Scottish Parliament
- Donald Cameron MSP, Deputy Convener, Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee, Scottish Parliament
- Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair, Liaison Committee, House of Commons
- Lloyd-Russell-Moyle MP, Member, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, House of Commons
- Baroness Drake, Chair, Constitution Committee, House of Lords
- Lord Kinnoull, Chair, European Affairs Committee, House of Lords