European Union Withdrawal Bill – Remaining Stages

On Tuesday 16 January and Wednesday 17 January 2018 the Report Stage and the Third Reading of the European Union Withdrawal Bill were debated.

The third reading of the EU withdrawal bill passed the House of Commons by 324 votes to 295.

The Opposition respects the referendum result. This is why we voted to trigger Article 50, however, we will continue to push for a Brexit deal that protects jobs, the economy and rights. This Bill is not about whether we leave the EU – it is about the type of country we want to be after we have left.

The Opposition voted against the Bill at the third reading because the Bill did not address our six main concerns which we set out during the Second Reading.

The six main areas of concern we raised were as follows:

1. Transitional arrangements: The Bill would prevent transitional arrangements on the same basic terms, including within the Single Market and a Customs Union.

2. Workers’ rights and environmental protections: The Bill risks watering down key EU derived rights and protections.

3. The use of delegated powers: The Bill would result in a power grab for Government Ministers and side-line Parliament on key decisions.

4. Devolution: The Bill erodes the devolution settlement and hoards powers in Whitehall rather than devolving returning powers across the UK.

5. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: The Bill excludes the Charter, thereby weakening human rights protections in UK law.

6. The lack of a meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement.

The provision of a meaningful vote on the final deal was included in the Bill following a Government defeat. However, as the other five areas were not addressed, this is not sufficient to make this Bill acceptable.

The Bill has now passed all its Commons stages and will be considered by the House of Lords. The Bill will return to the House of Commons in mid-May.