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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – Timetable

The Government attempted to fast-track the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 through Parliament. The proposed timetable was rejected by MPs on 22 October 2019 following a vote with 308 in favour and 322 against.

Hansard: http://bit.ly/2MFGtV9

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill (PROGRAMME)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill:

Committal

(1) The Bill shall be committed to a Committee of the whole House.

Proceedings in Committee

(2) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House shall be completed in two days.

(3) The proceedings shall be taken on each of those days as shown in the first column of the following Table and in the order so shown.

(4) The proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the times specified in the second column of the Table:

Table
Proceedings Time for conclusion of proceedings
At today's sitting
Clauses 1 to 4; new Clauses relating to Part 1; new Schedules relating to Part 1 Three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.
Second day
Clauses 21 to 23; Schedule 3; Clause 24; Clauses 29 to 34; Schedule 4; Clauses 35 and 36; new Clauses relating to any of Clauses 21 to 23, Schedule 3, Clause 24, Clauses 29 to 34, Schedule 4, Clause 35 or Clause 36; new Schedules relating to any of Clauses 21 to 23, Schedule 3, Clause 24, Clauses 29 to 34, Schedule 4, Clause 35 or Clause 36 Six hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill on the second day.
Clauses 7 to 14; Schedule 1; Clause 15; Schedule 2; Clauses 16 and 17; new Clauses relating to Part 3; new Schedules relating to Part 3 Six hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill on the second day
Clauses 18 to 20; Clauses 5 and 6; Clauses 25 to 28; Clauses 37 and 38; Schedule 5; Clause 39; Schedule 6; Clause 40; new Clauses relating to any of Clauses 18 to 20, Clauses 5 and 6, Clauses 25 to 28, Clauses 37 and 38, Schedule 5, Clause 39, Schedule 6 or Clause 40; new Schedules relating to any of Clauses 18 to 20, Clauses 5 and 6, Clauses 25 to 28, Clauses 37 and 38, Schedule 5, Clause 39, Schedule 6 or Clause 40 Nine hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill on the second day
New Clauses relating to a further referendum in connection with the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, new Schedules relating to a further referendum in connection with the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, remaining new Clauses, remaining new Schedules, remaining proceedings on the Bill Twelve hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill on the second day.

Proceedings on Consideration and up to and including Third Reading

(5) Any proceedings on Consideration, any proceedings in legislative grand committee and proceedings on Third Reading shall be taken in one day in accordance with the following provisions of this Order.

(6) Any proceedings on Consideration and any proceedings in legislative grand committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion six hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill on that day.

(7) Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion eight hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill on that day.

Programming committee

(8) Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings in Committee of the whole House, to any proceedings on Consideration or to other proceedings up to and including Third Reading.

Consideration of Lords Amendments

(9) Proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement.

Subsequent stages

(10) Any further Message from the Lords may be considered forthwith without any Question being put.

(11) The proceedings on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement.

Having failed to get agreement on their proposed timetable for the passage of the Bill through Parliament, the Government has paused future discussion on the Bill to a future date that is currently undefined – in other words, further progress on the Bill is halted.

Future business on the 23 and 24 October 2019 will now continue with debate on the Queen’s Speech on the NHS and conclusion of debate on the Queen’s Speech on the Economy.

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:

Hansard: http://bit.ly/35ZfoE8

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.
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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

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8713

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

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8686

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

EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20

Monday 21 October 2019

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, again prevented the Government from bringing forward a motion for MPs to debate and vote on whether to accept the recently agreed deal between the UK and the EU, using a convention dating back to 1604.

First, I have to judge whether the motion tabled under section 13(1)(b) of the 2018 Act for debate today is the same in substance as that which was decided on Saturday. Page 397 of ‘Erskine May’ is clear that such a motion ‘may not be brought forward again during that same session.’

With the conclusion that:

My ruling is therefore that the motion will not be debated today, as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so.”

It is interesting to note that the motion debated on Saturday was changed completely, following amendment to read:

“That, in light of the new deal agreed with the European Union, which enables the United Kingdom to respect the result of the referendum on its membership of the European Union and to leave the European Union on 31 October with a deal, this House has considered the matter but withholds approval unless and until implementing legislation is passed.”

Thus MPs again avoid having to actually reach a decision.

The “implementing legislation” referred to is the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 and was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on Monday 21 October 2019. This stage is formal and takes place without any debate.

https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-20/europeanunionwithdrawalagreement.html

The Bill as introduced is available here:

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20

EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 (copy pdf)

Overview:

1. The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill implements the Withdrawal Agreement, as agreed between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) on 17 October 2019. The Bill is required to implement the Withdrawal Agreement for it to have domestic legal effect and to enable the UK Government to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement. This Bill is also the vehicle for the Government to give effect to the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement between the UK and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement between the UK and Switzerland.

2. The Bill provides for the direct application of the Withdrawal Agreement provisions in domestic law where relevant, whilst also recognising the sovereignty of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Bill amends the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to ensure it reflects the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Bill also creates powers to make secondary legislation, where appropriate, to enable the Withdrawal Agreement to be implemented domestically. It includes amendments to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 in relation to rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity protections contained in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement 1998.
All these measures provide for the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the UK and the EU pertaining to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

3. This Bill also includes provision relating to facilitating access for Northern Ireland goods to the market in Great Britain, as well as further provision to ensure no alteration to the arrangements for North South cooperation can occur as a result of this Bill.

Explanatory notes on the Bill can be found at:

Bill 007 EN 2019-20

and a copy is available at

EU WA Bill 2019-20 Explanatory Notes (pdf)

Press Release – Withdrawal Agreement Bill

The Department for Exiting the European Union issued a Press Release as a Withdrawal Agreement Bill was introduced to Parliament on 21 October 2019.

The bill will implement the new deal agreed with the EU in UK law.

The Government has today introduced its landmark Brexit bill, which enshrines the new deal we have negotiated with the EU in UK law.

This deal abolishes the backstop in the old deal. The Government put forward a reasonable compromise, based on the key principles of consent for the people of Northern Ireland, and the UK leaving the EU Customs Union whole and entire, which was agreed at European Council last week. The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill puts those internationally agreed obligations into domestic law.

This week MPs will have the chance to pass this bill, to respect the result of the referendum and to leave with a deal on October 31 in an orderly and friendly way. MPs voted overwhelmingly to trigger Article 50 in 2017 to start the process of leaving the EU and supporting this bill is the final stage to make that happen. This will allow the country to move on and for the Government to return its focus to delivering on the people’s domestic priorities: investing in the NHS, tackling serious and violent crime, and levelling up funding on schools.

The bill will implement the new deal agreed with the EU in UK law:

  • Delivering Brexit, with a deal, on October 31
  • Ending vast annual payments to Brussels
  • Protecting the integrity of the UK as we leave the EU, without the need for the backstop
  • Protecting the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in UK law so that they can continue to live, study and work in the UK
  • Securing an implementation period to give businesses continuity and greater certainty as they prepare for the change in relationship we will have with the EU.

Brexit Secretary, Steve Barclay, said:

“The Prime Minister has successfully negotiated a great new deal without the anti-democratic backstop which many said would be impossible.

MPs and Peers today have in front of them a bill that will get Brexit done by October 31, protect jobs and the integrity of the UK, and enable us to move onto the people’s priorities like health, education and crime.

This is the chance to leave the EU with a deal on October 31. If Parliament wants to respect the referendum, it must back the bill.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-introduces-landmark-withdrawal-agreement-bill-to-parliament

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)

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