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EU Withdrawal Bill – Royal Assent

Today (June 26 2018) the EU (Withdrawal) Bill received Royal Assent from Her Majesty the Queen and became an Act of Parliament.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-eu-withdrawal-bill-receives-royal-assent

Statement from the Department for Exiting the European Union:

This historic Act will make sure the UK’s laws – entwined with over 40 years of EU law – continue to work from the day we leave, ensuring a smooth and orderly exit.

It does this by transferring EU law into UK law where appropriate and creating temporary powers to correct the laws that will no longer operate appropriately.

Now that the Act has become law, the Government can start to use the powers in the Act to prepare our statute book for our exit from the EU. Work on this will begin in the coming weeks as Departments start to lay the relevant secondary legislation in Parliament.

This marks the next essential step in ensuring that the UK is ready for life after we have left the European Union.

Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis said:

This is a landmark moment in our preparations for leaving the European Union.

The EU (Withdrawal) Act is a vital piece of legislation that will ensure we have a functioning statute book for exit.

Since the Bill was introduced in Parliament last year, MPs and peers have spent more than 250 hours debating its contents and more than 1,400 amendments have been tabled.

We will now begin the work of preparing our statute book, using the provisions in this Act, to ensure we are ready for any scenario, giving people and businesses the certainty they need.

In total, it’s expected that around 800 pieces of secondary legislation will be needed. As part of the first tranche to be laid, the Government will use powers in the Bill to repeal the European Union Act 2011 as agreed by Parliament.

Alongside this programme of secondary legislation, Departments are delivering on a further package of Bills which will deliver the more significant policy changes needed as a result of our exit from the EU.

Other References

An extensive collection of documents related to the Withdrawal Bill is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/information-about-the-withdrawal-bill

Topics covered include:

  • Bill Overview
  • Converting and preserving law
  • The correcting power
  • Power to implement the withdrawal agreement
  • Devolution
  • Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • Workers’ rights
  • Environmental protections
  • Consumer protections
  • Treaty Rights
  • The role of the Queens Printer
  • Glossary
  • Impact Assessment
  • Regulatory Policy Committee opinion
  • Equality Analysis
  • European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) memorandum
  • Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU: Right by Right Analysis
  • Equalities legislation and EU exit
  • Employment and EU exit
  • The Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 and The Employment Rights
  • The Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2018
  • EUWB Illustrative samples of statutory instruments
  • The Exotic Disease (Amendment) (England) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • The Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • The Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations and Non-Contractual Obligations (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • The Seal Products (Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • The Harbours, Highways, Merchant Shipping and Other Transport (Environmental Protection) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • The Timber and Timber Products (Placing on the Market)(EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • The European Communities (Designation Orders) (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • Short note on the Draft Statutory Instrument – The European Communities (Designation Orders) (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • DExEU Note on the Draft Statutory Instrument: The European Union (Definition of Treaties Orders) (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulation 2018
  • Draft Statutory Instrument – The European Union (Definition of Treaties Orders) (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • Covering note on the Financial Regulators’ Powers (Technical Standards) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • Draft Statutory Instrument – Financial Regulators’ Powers (Technical Standards) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • Note on the Draft Statutory Instrument: The European Parliamentary Elections Etc. (Repeal, Revocation, Amendment and Saving Provisions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • Draft Statutory Instrument – The European Parliamentary Elections Etc. (Repeal, Revocation, Amendment and Saving Provisions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • Covering note on the draft The Design Right (Semiconductor Topographies) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
  • The Design Right (Semiconductor Topographies) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

EU Withdrawal Bill – House of Commons 20 June 2018

MPs continued debating the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday 20 June 2018, following its return from the House of Lords as part of the “ping-pong” stage.

The outstanding point of contention was the Lords amendment to give parliament a “meaningful vote“.

The argument is about what should happen in the following cases:

MPs reject the final Brexit deal

or

Theresa May announces before 21 Jan 2019 that no deal has been reached

or

21 Jan 2019 passes without a deal being agreed

If one of these occurs, the Government has said a minister will make a statement in Parliament, setting out the proposed next steps which MPs will vote on. The Lords’ amendment suggests that MPs should have to “approve” the minister’s statement.

David Davis issued a Government statement explaining that it would ultimately be up to the Speaker to decide whether MPs could amend the Government’s plans if no deal is reached by 21 January. Dominic Grieve then announced he would no longer be backing his amendment and that he would “accept the Government’s difficulty” and support the Government.

After a short debate the vote was

303 in favour of the amendment (ayes) with 319 against the amendment (noes) giving a majority of 16 against the amendment.

6 Conservative MPs voted “for” the amendment

Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire)
Mr Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe)
Dr Phillip Lee (Bracknell)
Antoinette Sandbach (Eddisbury)
Anna Soubry (Broxtowe)
Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes)

4 Labour MPs voted with the Government “against” the amendment

Frank Field (Birkenhead)
Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
John Mann (Bassetlaw)
Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton)

The Bill is now returned to the House of Lords, now one step closer to being enshrined as Law.

EU Withdrawal Bill – update 14 June 2018

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill returned to the House of Commons from the House of Lords on Tuesday 12 June as part of the process known as “ping-pong”. 15 amendments were added to the Bill by the Lords and were debated over the 12th and 13th June in the House of Commons.

The Government accepted one of the amendments, 8 were rejected, and MPs accepted Government changes to the remaining 6 amendments.

Notes on the amendments are available at:

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2017-2019/0111/18111.1-7.html

and are also summarized in more detail at:

https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/eu-withdrawal-bill-amendments-and-debates

A major issue concerned an amendment that would allow MPs to decide the next course of action if Parliament were to reject the Government’s final Brexit deal with the EU or if no deal is reached. This would hand control of the negotiations to MP’s to set and negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU.

A number of “remainer” Tory “rebels”, led by Dominic Grieve, had threatened to vote against the Government (of which they are a part) unless significant concessions were made. Tory MP Philip Lee resigned from his role as a junior Justice Minister in order to vote against the Government. The PM held talks with more than 14 Tory rebels prior to the vote and appeared to have persuaded the rebels not to vote against the Government. She promised to address the rebels concerns in an amendment to be returned to the House of Lords. The Government won the vote by 324 votes to 298.

Following the votes, there was little time left to debate concerns raised by the SNP over Brexit and its affect on devolution. This sparked a walkout by all SNP MPs during Prime Ministers Questions after their leader Ian Blackford clashed with the Speaker John Bercow.

Labour were not without their own troubles with 75 MPs voting in favour of the amendment for the UK to join the European Economic Area after Brexit and 15 voting against. The labour party leadership had ordered its MPs to abstain. This also caused 5 MPs to quit their front bench posts in order to vote.

Th Bill was subsequently returned to the House of Lords for further debate due on Monday 18th June 2018.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – House of Lords

This is a summary of the passage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-2019 through the House of Lords.

The 1st Reading, by the House of Lords, was completed on 18 January 2018, followed by the 2nd Reading on 30-31 January 2018, before entering Committee stages starting on 21 February 2018 and concluding after a total of 11 sittings on 28 March 2018.

The Report Stage commenced on 18 April 2018 finishing on 8 May 2018 after a total of 6 sittings.

The 3rd Reading was held on 16 May 2018 before being returned to the House of Commons.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2018/january/lords-debates-eu-withdrawal-bill/

In case you’ve forgotten, the Bill aims to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and incorporate EU law into UK law on the day the UK leaves the EU. It also aims to create temporary powers to make secondary legislation once the UK has left and aims to incorporate any withdrawal agreement into UK law.

The fundamental purpose of this Bill is to prepare our statute book for exit day, it is not about the terms of our exit.

I guess one could argue if all the topics debated and voted on are actually within the scope of this Bill, and whether a lot of the argument has been yet another attempt to derail the Brexit process.

Following debate in the House of Lords, there were a total of 15 defeats for the Government. In total, The House of Lords made 192 amendments to the Bill during Report stage, 8 Government amendments were also made at Third Reading.

Full details of the amendments can be found in a published document at

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0212/18212.pdf

There is also a useful House of Commons Briefing document on the amendments at

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8328

A Summary of the amendments on which the Government was defeated can be found at the Institute for Government web-site at

https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/eu-withdrawal-bill-amendments-and-debates#amendments

Government defeats at Report Stage:

  • amendment 1: customs union
  • amendment 11: rights in EU retained law
  • amendment 15: Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • amendment 18: legal challenges
  • amendment 19: legal challenges
  • amendment 31: ‘necessary’ ministerial power
  • amendment 49: ‘meaningful’ vote for Parliament
  • amendment 51: future negotiations
  • amendment 59: unaccompanied child refugees
  • amendment 88: Good Friday Agreement
  • amendment 93: EU agencies
  • amendment 95: exit date
  • amendment 110A: European Economic Area
  • amendment 70: statutory instruments

Government defeats at Third reading:

  • amendment 1: environmental standards

The Bill is now returned to the House of Commons, entering the “ping-pong” stage, where the Lords amendments will be debated by MPs on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June 2018. A summary of the various stages can be found at

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

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