Repeal Bill Alliance 4th Bulletin
Engaging With Civil Society In Wales Around The Eu (Withdrawal Bill)
On Thursday 26th October, we headed up to Cardiff to discuss and share information on the EU (Withdrawal Bill) with charities and NGOs in Wales. Civil society in Wales is concerned about the broad powers the bill (as drafted), as well as its possible impact on devolution. It is also vital for Welsh civil society that rights are secured as we leave the EU. From a Welsh perspective, the delegated powers should be as narrow as possible, both for UK and devolved ministers. Check out more details from Cardiff here.
Peers And Alliance Members Are Fighting To Maintain The EU Charter Of Fundamental Rights
As drafted, the Withdrawal Bill excludes the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which sets out a framework for protecting a range of civil, political and social rights. Unless the Government decides to include the Charter, we risk losing those rights when we exit the EU. This concern is being voiced among Labour and Lib Dem peers in the House of Lords. Opposition peers, with support from crossbenchers, state that by excluding the Charter, vital data protection rights will not be translated into UK law. An amendment drafted by opposition peers to the Data Protection Bill, for example, attempts to write part of the Charter into that piece of legislation. Peers’ concerns over the Charter relating to the Data Protection Bill could signal trouble for the government’s attempts to exclude the Charter from inclusion in the Withdrawal Bill.
Amnesty, Liberty and Public Law Project, who are all members of the Alliance, are campaigning to include the Charter in the bill. Read more about Liberty's ‘People's Clause’ campaign here.
No Deal ''Very, Very Improbable'' According To Davis
The no deal scenario has resurfaced for the last few weeks now, with many being concerned about the so-called ''cliff-edge''. The Alliance wants the bill to include robust parliamentary scrutiny, and a high standards UK. We are highlighting the issue of a no deal scenario because it may impact the work of the Alliance at a later stage; there have been amendments tabled to the bill that deal with the question of a no deal Brexit, some of which propose that any final deal must be approved by a separate act of parliament. If you are curious about what a no deal scenario could look like in practice, and how it could impact on your work, check out the Institute for Government's analysis. David Davis appeared before the EU Select Committee on Tuesday and said a no deal scenario is not what the Government is seeking, and assured us all that he was ''not one of those people who think a no deal is the best deal''. He also said that if we do not get a free-trade agreement, it will cause a ''real problem'' for the Northern Ireland peace process and in preserving an invisible border.
Lobbying & Brexit - Ensuring A High Standards UK.
The Alliance is working to ensure that we have a high standards UK after we leave the EU. It is therefore concerning that the Withdrawal Bill has been described by commercial lobbyists as a ''once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for anyone looking to influence the rules of the game''. To keep track of lobbying by private interests around the bill and the Brexit process, Spinwatch has just set up 'Brexit Portal', which profiles networks of power, lobbying and PR.
Constitutional Crisis Still Looming?
Last week, First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones warned again that a constitutional crisis is looming, unless the Government responds to the Scottish and Welsh concerns over the Withdrawal Bill. While progress has been made, Welsh and Scottish governments are yet to be satisfied. After his meeting with Theresa May on Monday, First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said that the Repeal Bill needs to change ''so that the warm words we hear are reflected on the face of the bill''
In other devolution news, the House of Commons Library has been so kind as to gather all Brexit business that concerns devolved legislatures. Updates will be provided every Monday, check it out here.
Committee Stage Coming Up
We are gearing up for Committee Stage, which all MPs have the chance to take part in and vote on, unlike when Committee Stage consists of a Public Bill Committee. A Committee of the Whole House has been convened because of the constitutional importance of the bill. Because there is a parliamentary recess the week before Committee Stage on the 14th November, the government may not have the opportunity to do much whipping and get Tory MPs to withdraw the amendments they have tabled.
Day 1 and 2 of Committee Stage will be a test for the government. The government will rely on all Tory and DUP MPs both being in the house for those vital all night sessions, as well as voting the way the government wants them to.
There is wild speculation going on about which amendments will be chosen on day 1 and 2 of Committee Stage. While we may find out which amendments are picked the night before each day of debate, it is more likely that the amendments selected for debate will be announced on the morning of each day of Committee Stage at 9.30am. We will of course be providing updates to Alliance members as soon as we know which amendments have been selected. The Alliance will provide a summary of both day 1 and 2 of Committee Stage on our website. Also, keep your eyes peeled for another E:bulletin next week with more details on Committee Stage.
The Alliance is currently writing up a Withdrawal Bill campaign toolkit, so stayed tuned for that resource. Also, we are finally on Facebook! Check us out here and don't forget to follow us 😋 The Joint Committee on Human Rights is scrutinising the Withdrawal Bill. They are issuing an open call for evidence from interested parties and would welcome written submissions on any human rights implications related to the bill. More details here. And last but not least, our blog is up and running. We would love to hear blog ideas from you, please read our blog guidelines before sending anything. If there are any questions regarding this, please get in touch with Malene on firstname.lastname@example.org