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Brexit Law excludes Parliament from deliberation

27 March 2019

Brexit Law excludes Parliament from deliberation

With an eye on Britain's departure from the European Union, the Dutch government has been given a mandate by Parliament to take measures, should they see it as necessary, without the approval or involvement of the legislature, even if these measures go against current law. In the view of SP Senator Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, Parliament should not be cooperating in its exclusion in this way, which is why the party voted against the Brexit Law during yesterday's session. “Of course the SP approves of the government making preparations for Brexit and what Brexit will mean for the Netherlands,” says Van Apeldoorn. “This law, however, gives far-reaching emergency powers to the government without giving any decent definition of an 'emergency'.”

The SP argues that the law undermines Parliament's position. “The representatives of the people can scarcely knock back a law that has already been adopted,” Van Appeldoorn points out. “There can be no public discussion beforehand by Parliament, and there'll be no public consideration of the measure. Not a single elected representative of the people will have the opportunity to say that they don't find it such a good idea, that perhaps after all we shouldn't be doing this. It's precisely in times of emergency that we should be preserving our democratic and constitutional state. Democracy is for good times and bad. It's fragile. Let it drop and it will break.”

The SP presented a motion on Article X, which rules on the exclusion of Parliament's lower house, suspending the exclusion until the government defines the emergency situations in which such exclusion would be applicable and submits this definition to both Houses. Only the Green Left and the Animals' Party supported this motion, and so it was rejected. The Brexit Law itself won the support of every party with the exception of the SP, Green Left, the Animals' Party and the far right PVV.

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