European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 | European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 07/09/2017
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This ESO records traces the progress of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-2019 through the House of Commons and House of Lords.

House of Commons
+ 1st Reading: 13 July 2017
+ 2nd Reading: 7 and 11 September 2017
+ Committee Stage: 14-15, 21 November 2017 and 4, 6, 12, 13 and 20 December 2017.
+ Report Stage / Third Reading ('remaining stages'), 16-17 January 2018
+ Consideration of House of Lords amendments, 12-13 June 2018

House of Lords
+ Second Reading 30-31 January 2018
+ Committee Stage, 21 February - 28 March 2018
+ Report Stage and Third Reading, 18 April-16 May 2018

+ Ping Pong Stage, 18-20 June 2018. The House of Lords agreed on the 20 June 2018 to the latest version of the bill as presented to it from the House of Commons on that day. The bill received Royal Assent on the 26 June 2018.

Now that the Act had become law, the Government could start to use the powers in the Act to prepare the statute book for exit from the EU. Work on this would begin in the coming weeks as Departments started to lay the relevant secondary legislation in Parliament.

This marked the next essential step in ensuring that the UK was ready for life after the UK had left the European Union.

In total, it was expected that around 800 pieces of secondary legislation would be needed. As part of the first tranche to be laid, the Government would use powers in the Bill to repeal the European Union Act 2011 as agreed by Parliament.

Alongside this programme of secondary legislation, Departments were delivering on a further package of Bills which would deliver the more significant policy changes needed as a result of exit from the EU.

Note that initially, and sometimes subsequently, the Bill was called (informally) the Repeal Bill or Great Repeal Bill.

Following the 8 June 2017 General Election in the United Kingdom the State Opening of Parliament took place on the 21 June 2017. This marked the formal start of the parliamentary year and included the Queen's Speech which set out the government’s agenda for the 2017-19 session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.

The programme was dominated by proposed legislation dealing with the United Kingdom's planned leaving of the European Union. Eight of the twenty seven bills to be introduced were connected with Brexit.

+ European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (introduced on the 13 July 2017)
+ Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill (Customs Bill) (introduced on the 20 November 2017)
+ Trade Bill (introduced on the 7 November 2017)
+ Immigration Bill
+ Fisheries Bill (introduced on the 25 October 2018)
+ Agriculture Bill (introduced on the 12 September 2018)
+ Nuclear Safeguards Bill (introduced on the 11 October 2017)(Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018 received Royal assent on the 26 June 2018)
+ International Sanctions Bill (introduced on the 18 October 2017).

The Institute for Government maintained a tracking service called Parliamentary progress of legislation introduced to implement Brexit.

In addition to the bill lists above the tracker also listed some additional bills introduced during 2017-19 with a Brexit connection:

+ Animal welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill
+ Haulage permits and trailer registration Bill(Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act 2018 now adopted)
+ Environmental principles and governance Bill (consultation launched 10 May 2018)

Even though the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was introduced in July 2017 parliamentary scrutiny in practice only began in the autumn of 2017 after the summer break. Opposition parties, human rights groups and the leaders of Scotland and Wales criticised aspects of the bill and suggested they would call for substantive amendments.

During the Committee Stage of the Bill in November and December 2017 the House of Commons Library produced a series of Research Briefings on aspects / articles of the Bill:

+ The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Clause 7 'the correcting power'
+ EU (Withdrawal) Bill: clauses 9, 8 and 17
+ The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Devolution (Clauses 10 and 11)
+ The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Financial provision and fees and charges (Clause 12)
+ The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Exit day (Clauses 1 and 9)

The Library of the House of Lords also produced a briefing guide in January 2018

The House of Lords Constitution Committee published a critical report on the Bill on 29 January 2018.

The Committee did not comment on the merits of Brexit, but concluded that the Bill, as drafted, had fundamental flaws of a constitutional nature. The Committee found that the Bill risked undermining the legal certainty it sought to provide, gave overly-broad powers to ministers, and had significant consequences for the relationship between the UK Government and the devolved administrations.

The Committee proposed a number of recommendations to improve the Bill to make it more constitutionally appropriate and fit for purpose, while still meeting the Government’s objectives.

Linked politically but separately the UK Government had announced on the 13 November 2017 a new Bill to enshrine the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU in domestic law.

The Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill would give legal standing to separation from the EU.

It would confirm that the major policies set out in the Withdrawal Agreement would be directly implemented into domestic law by primary legislation – not by secondary legislation under the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. This would allow for Parliamentary scrutiny and oversight of the process.

Another area of ongoing contention was relating to the allocation of powers between the UK and the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Source Link
Related Links
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
UK: Parliament: House of Commons Library: Briefing Paper, No.8079 (01.09.17): European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
The Conversation, 07.09.17: Q+A: how does the EU Withdrawal Bill pass through parliament?
Blog: UK in a Changing Europe, 07.09.17: What you need to know about the EU (Withdrawal) Bill
Blog: Institute for Government, 04.09.17: The Brexit Parliament starts to hit its stride
UK: Department for Exiting the European Union: Policy Paper: Information about the Repeal Bill: Factsheets, July 2017 (and periodically updated)
UK: Parliament: House of Lords: Library: Library Briefing, 01.12.17: HM Government’s Plans for Regulation
Institute for Government: Explainers: EU Withdrawal Bill: amendments and debates (June 2018, and periodically updated)
Website: Fix the Bill
Blog: Institute for Government, 21.12.17: Legislating Brexit in 2018
BBC News, 26.06.18: EU Withdrawal Bill officially becomes law
UK: Department for Exiting the European Union: Policy Paper: Information about the Withdrawal Bill (July 2017 and updated)
ESO: Find further information in ESO on the EU Withdrawal Bill
UK: GOV.UK: Department for Exiting the European Union: Press Release, 26.06.18: The EU (Withdrawal) Bill receives Royal Assent
UK: Parliament: House of Commons: Library: Briefing Paper, No.8297 (08.08.18, and periodically updated as appropriate): Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act 2018
UK: Parliament: House of Commons: Library: Briefing Paper, No.8275 (29.05.18, and periodically updated as appropriate): Legislative Consent and the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (2017-19): the Joint Ministerial Committee, proposed amendments, and the 'Continuity Bills'

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