Tuesday, 12 June 2018

EU (Withdrawal) Bill - back to the Commons (1)

Under the terms of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the UK will leave the EU on 29th March 2019 - that is, two years after the Prime Minister exercised the power given to her by the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill returned to the House of Commons on Tuesday 12th June for consideration of amendments made to the bill during its time in the House of Lords - the "ping pong" process.  The bill is intended to prepare domestic law for the UK's departure from the European Union.  See Parliament 12th June - a useful link offering access to the entire progress of the bill.

The Lords Amendments:

The list of amendments as put forward by the House of Lords is HERE.

On 11th June, The Guardian published a list of the key amendments together with its assessment of whether the amendments were likely to survive.

A lot of attention will be given to Amendment 19 - Parliamentary approval of the outcome of negotiations with the EU.  This was considered in this previous post.  A detailed analysis of the issues surrounding Amendment 19 is at House of Commons Library - Parliament's right to a meaningful vote: Amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

Amendment 19 - if it survives - will give the House of Commons a vote on the draft withdrawal agreement and the House could accept or reject it.  The Lords would get to consider the draft agreement but cannot reject it.

There will be huge political pressure from the government aimed at defeating this amendment because the government claims that the requirement for a parliamentary vote would harm the government's negotiating position.   

BBC News 12th June

The Guardian 11th June

Withdrawal Agreement - the position so far:

Negotiations with the EU have, so far, resulted in a draft withdrawal agreement dated 19th March 2018 .....

Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community

For more detail of the draft agreement see post of 20th March 2018.

The UK and the EU negotiating teams aim to finalise the entire Withdrawal Agreement by October.  Article 50 requires that the European Council concludes the Withdrawal Agreement on behalf of the EU.  The Council acts, as required by Article 50, by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.  There is no requirement for national Parliaments of EU Member states to approve the withdrawal agreement.

A glimpse ahead:

Professor Catherine Barnard explains HERE why it will be crucial to pay attention in the future to Article 218 TFEU and why the many national parliaments could get a say regarding trade deals.

Professor Barnard begins:o

"When she triggered Article 50, the Prime Minster said in her letter to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, that:

The United Kingdom wants to agree with the European Union a deep and special partnership that takes in both economic and security cooperation. To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.

Negotiating this partnership cannot be done under Article 50, which is confined to the withdrawal itself. Other Treaty provisions will provide the basis of a future trade agreement – or agreements as the deal might comprise one or more Treaties. In essence, trade agreements with third countries (that, is, non EU member states), can either be agreed under Article 207 or Article 217 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). And we cannot conclude the future trade agreement until we have left the EU and become a third country  – a point the Prime Minister Theresa May herself made in her Florence speech.

The process for negotiating such agreements is largely laid down in Article 218 TFEU.  Article 218 will become the new Article 50. It’s what everyone will need to be familiar with in order to understand why, among other things, all 27 Member States may have the power to veto any future trade deal."

See Treaty on the Functioning of the EU


  1. Thank you for this article. It's become difficult to follow all the updates, but this puts it in very plain terms. I can't foresee how all of this is going to play out in the end, but today's events regarding the concessions given to the rebels certainly makes things interesting.

    1. Yes - today was "interesting" - further post to follow on this.