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EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill 2019-20

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

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General Info

Apparently in an election you’re not voting for a Party

In a recent petition on the Government and Parliaments web-site the response from the Government said

Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent. The Government does not plan to change this constitutional position.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/242193

The full response continued

There is no requirement for a Member of Parliament to stand down and cause a by-election to be held if they decide to leave the party for which they stood and were elected. Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent; although it is recognised that many people vote on the basis of party preference. It is generally agreed that a candidate, if elected to the House of Commons, is not deemed to be a delegate of a particular party, and will hold the office to which they have been elected in a personal capacity.

When a Member of Parliament decides to leave the party for which they were elected, it is for them to decide whether to stand down from their seat in the House of Commons and seek re-election in the subsequent by-election, or to continue to sit in the House of Commons.

A Member of Parliament who decides to leave the party for which they were elected and to continue to sit in the House of Commons will be required to stand as a candidate at the next General Election if they wish to remain in office.

Amending the existing law would involve a significant change to our constitutional arrangements, and would raise important issues about the role and status of Members of Parliament, which would need careful consideration. The government currently has no plan to make such changes.

Cabinet Office.

This does raise a number of questions such as:

Is the ballot paper misleading when it includes the candidate’s party as it is suggesting that if you vote for this candidate you are voting for their party ?

If you are voting for the individual then how can you have a Government of Conservatives ( or Labour etc.) when you are not voting for the party ?

Why are Election Results presented and interpreted as though you were voting for a party when you voted for the individual ? e.g. “Newport West by-election: Labour holds on to seat

For elections to the EU Parliament a different system is used.

Since 1999 voters in Britain have elected MEPs under a proportional representation system. The European Parliamentary Elections Act of that year introduced a regional list system with seats allocated to parties in proportion to their share of the vote.

So in this case, you ARE voting for a party!! Although you vote for a UK party, this ends up as a different party in the EU Parliament and I’ve no idea what those parties are – so if you vote for Labour in the UK, you may prefer to vote Conservative in order to be in the EU party you support – confusing or what.

And does your vote matter anyway ? Judging by the EU referendum – if you vote for the winning option, this is still ignored by the “political elite” who believe they know best and ignore the votes.