Press release

Government publishes Strathclyde Review

The government has published a review on secondary legislation and the relationship between the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

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The government has today published a review by Lord Strathclyde on secondary legislation and the relationship between the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister said:

I am grateful to Lord Strathclyde for the hard work he has put into this report. I will consider his recommendations carefully before responding in the New Year.

Lord Strathclyde was asked in October to consider how to secure the decisive role of the House of Commons in relation to its primacy on financial matters and secondary legislation.

Since then, he has been working with a panel of parliamentary and legal experts to look at options for providing the House of Commons with a decisive role in secondary legislation. The report details 3 possible options:

  • option 1 would remove the House of Lords from the statutory instrument procedure altogether – to take statutory instruments through the House of Commons only
  • option 2 would seek to retain the present role of the House of Lords but clarify the restrictions on how its powers should be exercised, by codifying them passing a resolution
  • option 3 is a compromise option would create a new procedure in primary legislation. The new procedure would allow the House of Lords to ask the House of Commons to think again when a disagreement exists but gives the final say to the elected House of Commons

His report has recommended option 3.

Lord Strathclyde said:

In my review, I have looked carefully at the history and current practice of the House of Lords as it regards secondary legislation and financial matters and I have spoken to a wide range of parliamentarians. I believe that my recommendations strike the right balance between preserving the vital role of the House of Lords in scrutinising legislation, and enabling the elected House of Commons to have a decisive role on statutory instruments.

Notes to editors

  • The review is published on GOV.UK
  • The report suggests 3 options to provide the House of Commons with a decisive role on statutory instruments and recommends the third option of creating a new process, set out in statute, for the Lords to ask the Commons to think again about a statutory instrument while giving the Commons a final say
  • Lord Strathclyde appointed an unpaid expert panel to produce the report with him. The members of the panel were:
    • Jacqy Sharpe, former Clerk of Legislation in the House of Commons and Commons Clerk to the Joint Committee on Conventions in 2006
    • Sir Stephen Laws, former First Parliamentary Counsel
    • Sir Michael Pownall, former Clerk of the Parliaments
Published 17 December 2015