European Union Withdrawal Bill Committee Stage – Day 7

On Wednesday 13 December 2017 we had the seventh day of debate of The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill’s Committee of the Whole House. A Committee of the Whole House takes place in the House of Commons Chamber and is presided over by the chairman of the Ways and Means committee.

Last night I voted for Parliament to have a meaningful vote and a say on the final deal on withdrawing from the EU. The vote was passed: Ayes:309 Noes: 305, a majority of just 4. Parliament has amended the bill to provide a vote on the final deal with the EU. This was the Government’s first defeat on their own policy in the House of Commons regarding the UK’s Withdrawal of the EU.

The amendment was as follows:

Implementing the Withdrawal Agreement

Amendment proposed: 7, page 6, line 45, at end insert “, subject to the prior enactment of a statute by Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”—(Mr Grieve.)

To require the final deal with the EU to be approved by statute passed by Parliament.

Labour pushed for this amendment during the Committee stages, in the House. The Government had conceded that Parliament will have a vote on any agreement which is reached with the European Union. The Government also conceded that Parliament’s vote will take place before the European Parliament has had its say. The vote will be on the draft agreement and will cover both the withdrawal agreement and any further agreement on the future relationship with the European Union. However, Labour believe this was insufficient and that there should be a commitment in legislation for a meaningful vote.

Labour also supported amendments that would have ensured a strategy for seeking to ensure that reciprocal healthcare arrangements continue after the UK leaves the EU; a Commons triage committee which works alongside the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to determine the level of scrutiny each statutory instrument shall receive; and prevent the Government’s using delegated powers under Clause 8 to reduce rights or protections. But those amendments were all defeated by the Government.

Further Information on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill can be found here.

“A Bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and make other provision in connection with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom f