European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19. House of Commons Committee Stage, 14-15, 21 November 2017, 4, 6, 12, 13 and 20 December 2017

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Publication Date 23/11/2017
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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)
+ Customs Bill
+ Trade Bill (introduced on the 7 November 2017)
+ Immigration Bill
+ Fisheries Bill
+ Agriculture Bill
+ Nuclear Safeguards Bill (introduced on the 11 October 2017)
+ International Sanctions Bill (introduced on the 18 October 2017)

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)

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.This ESO record provides information associated with the Committee Stage on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-2019 in the House of Commons between the 14-15 and 21 November 2017 + 4, 6, 12, 13 and 20 December 2017.

To follow the progress of the bill throughout parliament click here.

One notable development took place on the 13 December 2017 when the Government suffered its first defeat in the House of Commons on the Bill as Members of Parliament, included twelve Conservative MPs, voted on an amendment to give Parliament a right to a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal.

The House of Commons agreed a proposal that the final Brexit deal had to be approved in a new law passed by Parliament. MPs voted 309 to 305 to approve Amendment 7 on Clause 9 of the Bill on the 13 December 2017.

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Related Link(s)
Politico, 13.11.17: Labour claims May lacks ‘authority’ to deliver Brexit transition deal
Conservative Home, 13.11.17: Bernard Jenkin: Conservatives will have no patience with MPs who seek to wreck the EU Withdrawal Bill
Blog: UK in a Changing Europe, 14.12.17: Does the Government defeat on the EU Withdrawal Bill mean Parliament has ‘taken back control’?
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?
In Facts, 31.10.17: 6 reasons EU Withdrawal Bill is in trouble
The Guardian, 15.11.17: PMQs and MPs debate EU withdrawal bill – as it happened
UK: Parliament: House of Commons: Library: Briefing Paper, No.8136 (10.11.17): The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Retained EU law
The Conversation, 14.12.17: Brexit rebellion could open the floodgates on a weak prime minister
Institute for Government: Explainers: EU Withdrawal Bill: amendments and debates (June 2018, and periodically updated)
BBC News, 16.11.17: Brexit: Ministers see off EU Withdrawal Bill challenges
The Huffington Post, 16.11.17: Brexit Briefing: Mutiny And A Bounty
EurActiv, 14.12.17: Theresa May suffers major parliamentary defeat ahead of EU summit
Politico, 13-14.12.17: Theresa May’s government defeated on key Brexit legislation
BBC News, 13.12.17: [Opinion]: Brexit vote: Total silence - then disbelief
The Guardian, 14.12.17: Tory Brexit rebels inflict major defeat on Theresa May
Conservative Home, 14.12.17: The Government’s Brexit defeat. Calm down, dears. It isn’t fatal – so cool the deselection talk
UK: Parliament: House of Commons: Library: Briefing Paper, No.8192 (09.01.18): The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19: Summary of Commons Committee Stage

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