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PM to Donald Tusk 19/10/19

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson wrote another letter to Donald Tusk in addition to the one demanded by Parliament requesting an extension.

In this letter, he distances himself from the letter requesting an extension, outlining his and the Government’s position as follows:

While it is open to the European Council to accede to the request mandated by Parliament or to offer an alternative extension period, I have made clear since becoming Prime Minister, and made clear to Parliament again today, my view, and the Government’s position, that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us. We must bring this process to a conclusion so that we can move to the next phase and build our new relationship on the foundations of our long history as neighbours and friends in this continent our people’s share. I am passionately committed to that endeavour.

It is not clear, whether this letter will be interpreted to mean that the PM is attempting to frustrate the “Surrender Law” (EU (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019) and future court action may be taken by his opponents to establish whether this is the case.

The letter in full is here:

PM to Donald Tusk 19 October 2019 (pdf)

European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill

This is a Bill being fast-tracked in the House of Commons, with all its substantive stages taken in a single sitting on one day. It is expected to also be fast-tracked in the House of Lords.

Bill as introduced

The Bill was debated on 3 April 2019 through its Second Reading (Hansard: http://bit.ly/2IcSO1h )

and Committee Stage (Hansard: http://bit.ly/2Un8e9R )

Debate on the Second Reading of the Bill started at 5:54 pm and was put to a vote at 7:00 pm after 1 hour 6 minutes of debate

The voting results were

Ayes: 315 Noes: 310

and the Bill passed (by a majority of 5), its second reading, after 1 hour 6 minutes of debate.

14 “Remain” Tory rebels voted in favour of passing the second reading.

Bebb, Guto
Brine, Steve
Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth
Djanogly, Mr Jonathan
Greening, rh Justine
Grieve, rh Mr Dominic
Gyimah, Mr Sam
Harrington, Richard
Lee, Dr Phillip
Letwin, rh Sir Oliver
Morgan, rh Nicky
Sandbach, Antoinette
Spelman, rh Dame Caroline
Vaizey, rh Mr Edward

The Committee Stage of the Bill began immediately following the result of the vote on the Second Reading.

The debate started at around 7:20 pm

There appeared to be some confusion over the proposed Amendments raised at this Stage. However, here is a complete list of the amendments:

BillNo5Amendments

Selected amendments:

They are amendment 13, amendment 20, amendment 21, Government amendment 22, amendment 1, clause 1 stand part, amendment 14, amendment 6, clause 2 stand part, new clause 4, new clause 5, new clause 7 and Government new clause 13.

Votes on amendments to the Bill started at 9:54 pm after 2 hours 34 minutes of debate.

To cut a long story short, it is difficult for me to determine exactly what was being voted on, so skipping to the end after more than an hour voting on amendments to the Bill …

Voting took place at 11:09 pm with the result

Ayes: 313 Noes: 312

14 “Remain” Tory rebels voted in favour of passing the Third reading.

Bebb, Guto
Brine, Steve
Burt, rh Alistair
Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth
Djanogly, Mr Jonathan
Greening, rh Justine
Grieve, rh Mr Dominic
Gyimah, Mr Sam
Harrington, Richard
Lee, Dr Phillip
Letwin, rh Sir Oliver
Sandbach, Antoinette
Spelman, rh Dame Caroline
Vaizey, rh Mr Edward

The Bill, as amended, passed the Third Reading by a majority of 1.

The Bill has been sent to the House of Lords.

Here is a copy of the Bill as passed to the House of Lords

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2017-2019/0172/18172.pdf

European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill (copy pdf)

Details of all stages of the Bill can be found at

https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2017-19/europeanunionwithdrawalno5.html

The Bill was considered by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution and their report is available at

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201719/ldselect/ldconst/339/33903.htm

The document presents the following conclusions for consideration by members of the House of Lords during their deliberations.

6.The House may wish to consider the implications of the Bill in the following respects:

A motion passed under the terms of the Bill would place a duty on the Prime Minister to “seek an extension” to the Article 50 period, while leaving discretion as to how it should be sought. Such discretion is inevitable as there is a limit to the extent to which it is feasible for legislation to provide direction in matters of this nature.

The Bill requires the Prime Minister to move a motion on the day after it receives Royal Assent. It does not, however, specify the time during which the Prime Minister would be required to act on the motion, should it be passed by the House of Commons.

In the event that a counterproposal is made by the European Council, the Bill does not require the Prime Minister to move a motion containing the date of that counterproposal. If the Prime Minister did move a motion containing that date, it would be open to the House of Commons to amend the motion so that it specified a different date. The provisions of the Bill could be applied repeatedly in the event that departure dates agreed by the House of Commons in subsequent motions did not align with the date or dates offered by the European Council.

The Bill does not provide for how any counterproposal from the European Council should be treated in the event that conditions are attached to it.

If the European Council refuses to offer an extension, or there is otherwise a failure to reach agreement on an extension, the Bill has no further effect and the UK would leave the European Union on 12 April by default.

As the result of a Government amendment in the House of Commons, the process by which a statutory instrument to alter ‘exit day’ in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 is changed from the affirmative to the negative procedure. The justification for this change, accepted by the Bill’s sponsor and the Official Opposition, was that it might be necessary to legislate as a matter of urgency to change the date of exit and that the requirement to get the approval of both Houses to an affirmative instrument could cause undesirable delay, risking a situation in which exit day in domestic law was not aligned with the exit day agreed under EU law.

A House of Lords Library Briefing covers the House of Commons stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill, prepared for Members of the House of Lords in the event that the bill is considered in the House of Lords on 4 April 2019.

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/LLN-2019-0042

Latest Shenanigans in Parliament 3 April 2019

Business in the House was again taken over by Prime Minister Letwin and Opposition Leader Cooper.
This time, rather than talking about indicative votes, they decided on another approach in an attempt to delay Brexit further or to thwart it altogether by fast tracking legislation through Parliament via a private members Bill.

Details of the bill is covered in my article at

European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill

First it was necessary to modify the Business of the House by introducing an amendable Motion (full details can be found in Hansard at http://bit.ly/2UyqxbW).

Debate on the motion began at 1:55 pm

The Motion asks for the Bill to be considered (fast tracked) through the Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading.

An amendment to the motion was selected for debate and subsequent vote:

Amendment (a) in the name of the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn)

Debate continued until 5:00 pm when a vote was taken on whether to accept the ammendment to the Motion.

Results were

Ayes: 310 Noes: 310 A TIED vote.

In these, rare, circumstances the Speaker has the casting vote and he gave his vote to the NOES and the amendment was defeated.

In accordance with precedent, and on the principle that important decisions should not be taken except by a majority, I cast my vote with the Noes, so the Noes have it.

14 Conservative “Remain rebels” voted in favour of the amendment

Bebb, Guto
Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth
Djanogly, Mr Jonathan
Freeman, George
Greening, rh Justine
Grieve, rh Mr Dominic
Gyimah, Mr Sam
Harrington, Richard
Lee, Dr Phillip
Letwin, rh Sir Oliver
Morgan, rh Nicky
Sandbach, Antoinette
Spelman, rh Dame Caroline
Vaizey, rh Mr Edward

There then followed a vote on the motion itself with the result

Ayes: 312 Noes: 311

14 Conservative “Remain rebels” voted in favour of the motion

Bebb, Guto
Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth
Djanogly, Mr Jonathan
Freeman, George
Greening, rh Justine
Grieve, rh Mr Dominic
Gyimah, Mr Sam
Harrington, Richard
Lee, Dr Phillip
Letwin, rh Sir Oliver
Morgan, rh Nicky
Sandbach, Antoinette
Spelman, rh Dame Caroline
Vaizey, rh Mr Edward

The Motion was thus passed with a majority of 1, and the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill was allowed to be fast-tracked through the House of Commons.

Leaving the EU – Changing Exit Day

A motion to change the date specified in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, was debated on 27 March 2019 following agreement with the EU last week to delay the day of Brexit to either 12 April 2019 or 22 May 2019.

This was introduced as a statutory instrument.

On 15 March, in a statement which the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 obliged her to make following the failure of the 12 March approval motion, the Prime Minister said that the Government would change “exit day” via a Statutory Instrument (SI) under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The date on which the UK leaves the EU is an international matter. After the UK triggered Article 50, the date on which Brexit occurred would be determined by the terms of Article 50. Thus, the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, two years after it notified the EU of its intention to leave, unless an extension has been agreed.

An extension was agreed with the EU and now there are 2 possible end dates, either 22 May 2019 or 12 April 2019, dependent on whether the UK Parliament has ratified the the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration before 11:00 pm (GMT) on 29 March 2019.

More information can be found in a useful blog post at

Changing EU “exit day” by Statutory Instrument

Following debate the motion was put to a vote, and approved:

That the draft European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which were laid before this House on 25 March, be approved.

Ayes: 441 Noes: 105

Notes:


Statutory instruments are the most common form of secondary (or delegated) legislation. The power to make a statutory instrument is set out in an Act of Parliament and nearly always conferred on a Minister of the Crown. The Minister is then able to make law on the matters identified in the Act, and using the parliamentary procedure set out in the Act. SIs may follow affirmative or negative procedure, or have no procedure at all, but which to use is fixed by the Act.


 

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 25 March 2019

A debate was held in the UK Parliament on 25 March 2019 in accordance with the requirements of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act.

The following motion was debated:

That this House, in accordance with the provisions of section 13(6)(a) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, has considered the Written Statement titled “Statement under Section 13(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018” and made on Friday 15 March 2019.

There is an attempt by MPs to take control of the Business of the Day from the Government, on Wednesday 27 March 2019 via amendment (a)

The Speaker selected amendments

(d) in the name of the Leader of the Opposition;

(a) in the name of the right hon. Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin);

and (f) in the name of the right hon. Member for Derby South (Margaret Beckett).


Amendment (d)

Jeremy Corbyn Keir Starmer Emily Thornberry Rebecca Long Bailey Valerie Vaz Mr Nicholas Brown

Line 1, leave out from “House” to end and add “notes the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement and Framework for the Future Relationship have been defeated for a second time; further notes the alternative proposals being proposed across this House including Her Majesty’s Opposition’s plan, Common Market 2.0, for a customs union, and for a public vote; and calls on the Government to provide sufficient parliamentary time this week for this House to find a majority for a different approach.”


Amendment (a)

Sir Oliver Letwin Mr Dominic Grieve Hilary Benn Norman Lamb Stewart Hosie Ben Lake Dame Caroline Spelman

Alison McGovern Anna Soubry Jack Dromey Yvette Cooper Liz Kendall Nick Boles Stephen Doughty Chuka Umunna Mr Chris Leslie Heidi Allen Dr Sarah Wollaston Jo Stevens Richard Burden Chris Bryant Anna McMorrin Alex Sobel Rosie Duffield Owen Smith Helen Goodman Darren Jones Ruth Cadbury Mr David Lammy Catherine McKinnell Sarah Jones Lilian Greenwood Ged Killen Kate Green Tonia Antoniazzi Ian Murray Mr Virendra Sharma Wes Streeting Phil Wilson Susan Elan Jones Peter Kyle Ms Karen Buck Debbie Abrahams Marsha De Cordova James Frith Ellie Reeves Mrs Madeleine Moon Mr Ben Bradshaw Anna Turley Rushanara Ali Rachel Reeves Mary Creagh Andy Slaughter Lloyd Russell-Moyle Dr Paul Williams Stephen Timms Guto Bebb Stephen Kinnock Emma Reynolds Mr Jonathan Djanogly Antoinette Sandbach Kerry McCarthy Stella Creasy Neil Coyle Gareth Thomas Dr Rosena Allin-Khan Dr Rupa Huq Matt Western Catherine West Matt Rodda Ian C. Lucas Mr Edward Vaizey John Stevenson Maria Eagle Ms Angela Eagle Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods Diana Johnson Seema Malhotra Sir Edward Davey Sir Vince Cable Tom Brake Jo Swinson Tim Farron Wera Hobhouse Christine Jardine Layla Moran Jamie Stone Sir Nicholas Soames Hannah Bardell Mhairi Black Ian Blackford Kirsty Blackman Deidre Brock Alan Brown Dr Lisa Cameron Douglas Chapman Joanna Cherry Ronnie Cowan Angela Crawley Martyn Day Martin Docherty-Hughes Marion Fellows Stephen Gethins Patricia Gibson Patrick Grady Peter Grant Neil Gray Drew Hendry Chris Law David Linden Angus Brendan MacNeil Stewart Malcolm McDonald Stuart C. McDonald John McNally Carol Monaghan Gavin Newlands Brendan O’Hara Tommy Sheppard Chris Stephens Alison Thewliss Dr Philippa Whitford Pete Wishart

At end, add “and, given the need for the House to debate and vote on alternative ways forward, with a view to the Government putting forward a plan for the House to debate and vote on, orders that –

(a) Standing Order No. 14(1) (which provides that government business shall have precedence at every sitting save as provided in that order) shall not apply on Wednesday 27 March;

(b) precedence on that day shall be given to a motion relating to the Business of the House in connection with matters relating to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union other than any Business of the House motion relating to the consideration by the House of a motion under Section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and then to motions relating to that withdrawal and the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union other than any motion moved under Section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018;

(c) if more than one motion related to the Business of the House is tabled, the Speaker shall decide which motion shall have precedence;

(d) the Speaker shall interrupt proceedings on any business before the Business of the House motion having precedence at 2.00 pm on Wednesday 27 March and call a Member to move that motion;

(e) debate on that motion may continue until 3.00 pm on Wednesday 27 March at which time the Speaker shall put the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion including the questions on amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved;

(f) when those proceedings have been concluded, the Speaker shall call a Member to move one of the other motions having precedence;

(g) any proceedings interrupted or superseded by this order or an order arising from the Business of the House motion may be resumed or (as the case may be) entered upon and proceeded with after the moment of interruption on Wednesday 27 March.”


Amendment (f)

Margaret Beckett Mr George Howarth Chris Bryant Kate Green Joanna Cherry Sir Edward Davey

Anna Soubry

At end, add “and orders that, in the event that the UK comes within seven calendar days of leaving the European Union without a deal, the Government must make arrangements within two sitting days, or if this House has been adjourned for more than four days to arrange for the House to be recalled under Standing Order No. 13 (Earlier meeting of the House in certain circumstances) for this purpose, for a Minister of the Crown to move a motion on whether this House approves the UK leaving the EU without a deal and on whether the UK Government should be required to request an extension of the period in Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit and to give time for Parliament to determine a different approach.”.


Debate commenced at around 17:40 and proceeded to around 22:00.

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