European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – 2nd Reading

The 2nd Reading of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 was held on Tuesday 22 October 2019.

No amendments were selected by the Speaker.

The debate was opened by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson:


I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

We come together now, in the very best traditions of this House, to scrutinise this Bill and then take the decision that this country expects: to make the verdict of the British people the law of the land so that we can leave the European Union with our new deal on 31 October.

I of course wish that this decision on our national future had been taken through a meaningful vote on Saturday, but I respect perfectly the motives of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin), although I disagree with the effects of his amendment.

I regret, too, that after Saturday’s vote the Government have been forced to act on the advice of the Cabinet Secretary and to take the only responsible course, which is to accelerate our preparations for a no-deal outcome.

Today, we have the opportunity to put all that right, because if this House backs this Bill and if we ratify this new deal, which I believe is profoundly in the interests of our whole United Kingdom and of our European friends, we can get Brexit done and move our country on—and we can de-escalate those no-deal preparations immediately and turn them off next week, and instead concentrate on the great enterprise of building a new relationship of the closest co-operation and friendship, as I said on Saturday, with our European neighbours and on addressing our people’s priorities at home.

Following debate lasting for approximately 5 hours 30 minutes a vote was taken and the 2nd Reading passed by 329 votes in favour with 299 against.

285 Conservative, 25 Independent and 19 Labour MPs voted in favour.

10 DUP MPs voted against the 2nd Reading.

Further Reading:

The House of Commons Library published a Research Briefing of The October 2019 EU UK Withdrawal Agreement at

and a copy of the report is available at:

The October 2019 EU UK Withdrawal Agreement ( Research Briefing (pdf) )

Other Briefing Papers prepared by the House of Commons Library are available from

Currently, the following documents are available:

Ratification provisions

The future relationship negotiations

The transition period

Citizens’ rights provisions

Workers’ rights provision

The financial settlement

Implications for devolved institutions

The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

Sovereignty, special status and the Withdrawal Agreement