An MLC wants to give Tynwald members the power to impose cut-off points onto laws that are introduced via parliament’s fast track route.
Kate Lord-Brennan has been granted leave by her colleagues to introduce a private member’s bill introducing the concept of ’sunset clauses’ to be applied to Tynwald orders - laws and rules that can be introduced at a single sitting of parliament, as opposed to requiring a fresh piece of ’primary’ legislation, that that would have to go through close scrutiny in both branches of Tynwald.
Such ’secondary’ legislation is brought in by a single order under an already proved act of Tynwald and is used for many rule changes and updates.
However, the role of secondary legislation is likely to increase dramatically after Brexit, as Chief Minister Howard Quayle has already signalled that the government plans to make most of the required law changes and updates via secondary legislation.
He has already said he plans to amend his Brexit Bill to incorporate provision for ’sunset clauses’ to be orders - in which a date will be included on the order, by which point the new law would have to be reviewed and subject to further approval.
This came in response to fears raised at the second reading of the Brexit Bill that it would hand too much power to the Council of Ministers, bypassing the normal legislative route for major laws.
Mrs Lord-Brennan’s proposal would allow Tynwald members themselves to amend orders without a sunset clause to add one in.
She pointed out that Tynwald members get two weeks to consider secondary legislation before voting on it. At present, members can only vote in favour or against secondary legislation. They cannot amend it.
’It is, in some ways, an all-or-nothing affair unless a delay is caused, and I feel that in some instances the perceived pressures will be such that to delay may seem problematic, because there will be an urgency to put the island in the best position we can to ensure that we are ready for the challenges ahead,’ she said.
’This will mean we will be asked to legislate quickly, and it is something that will be very important to do.
’At the very least, we might need a third option.’
She outlined her idea: ’When a piece of secondary legislation is moved in Tynwald, instead of only being able to vote "yes" or "no", any Tynwald member could move that some conditionality be attached, and that the secondary piece of legislation be approved for a time period before it will need to be brought back for parliamentary approval.
’The method for ensuring this is that it would otherwise expire. Effectively a sunset clause.’
She said the process could include committee being tasked with analysing the effectiveness of an order that has been approved initially and reporting back by a certain date.
Her Legislative Council colleagues granted her leave to introduce the private member’s bill and Mrs Lord-Brennan said she would carry out further consultation.
That is likely to include an examination of Mr Quayle’s promised amendments and whether they will make sunset clauses would be mandatory for secondary legislation drawn up under his Brexit Bill - full name the European Union and Trade Bill - which is due back before the House of Keys for further debate next Tuesday.
The Brexit Bill is enabling legislation, designed to allow the Manx Government to act quickly to update hundreds of laws when the UK leaves the European Union.