Penultimate Day For The Committee Stage Of EU (Withdrawal) Bill



Today's debate will cover implementing the withdrawal agreement (Clause 9) and Clause 16 and Schedule 7 and Clause 17 (regulations, consequential and transitional provision).

Today is all about Clause 9 which allows ministers to use delegated powers to implement the withdrawal agreement. This has led to a slew of amendments most notable of which is amendment 7 from Dominic Grieve which would only allow ministers to use those powers if Parliament has voted to implement the terms of the withdrawal agreement. In other words it gives MPs an opportunity to vote against the final deal. This has garnered massive cross party support, including 10 Tories as signatories

In an attempt to address these concerns the Government announced on 13 November that it would enshrine the withdrawal agreement through a separate bill: the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill. Significantly Dominic Grieve has not withdrawn his amendment as we write.

On 10 December a cross-party group of MPs – including Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry – released a statement urging backbenchers to support Grieve’s amendment. With the public support of a number of backbench Conservative MPs, the Government is likely to need to make a further concession to address the issue of a “meaningful vote” to avoid a defeat. This means allowing Parliament an early enough say to send the Government back to the negotiating table if they do not like the deal being agreed – rather than be presented with a deal to rubber stamp. However, given the two-year Article 50 deadline, there may be limits on how meaningful any vote could be.

Most of the New Clauses  such as NC3 and NC4 and NC19 require the Government to implement the withdrawal agreement through separate primary and secondary legislation rather than through the bill OR a separate Act would be required for Ministers to determine exit day and to set out the arrangements that will apply after exit day

Amendment 13 (Grieve) and 27 (Corbyn) prevents the Government using delegated powers under Clause 9 to reduce rights or protections. There are also multiple amendments around rights and protections both of people (children,EU citizens) and environmental, equalities, food, health and safety.

Ed Vaizeys amendment - 300 - on Euratom has actually got the most signatories but sadly few from the Conservatives.

There are also amendments on seeking consent of the Scottish or Welsh Ministers before making and regulations under Clause 9 on devolved matters

First votes will be around 7pm- stay tuned for more updates from the Alliance.

Samuel Ellis