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House of Lords Library

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Lords Report Stage

Published Monday, May 14, 2018

This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of third reading in the House of Lords of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, on 16 May 2018. The Briefing summarises amendments made to the Bill at report stage.

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The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was considered by the House of Lords at report stage over six days between 18 April and 8 May 2018. A total of 316 amendments were tabled for consideration and of these, a total of 192 amendments were made to the Bill. The version of the Bill before the House at report stage was HL Bill 79. A new version of the Bill, HL Bill 102, has now been issued, reflecting these amendments. Third reading of the Bill is due to take place on 16 May 2018.

The Government was defeated in 14 votes on the Bill covering: a requirement to report on negotiations to continue in a customs union with the EU; enhanced scrutiny procedures for future changes to retained EU law in certain policy areas; retention of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; ability to bring legal cases on the grounds of a failure to comply with the general principles of EU law; ministers’ ability to specify when the validity of retained EU law could be challenged in court; the threshold for using certain delegated powers to be when it is “necessary” rather than when the minister considers it “appropriate”; giving Parliament a ‘meaningful vote’ on the outcome of negotiations with the EU; parliamentary approval of the mandate for negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU; maintaining rights to refugee family reunion; continuation of North-South cooperation and the prevention of new border arrangements in Northern Ireland; future relationship with EU agencies; removing the fixed date of exit day; continued participation in the European Economic Area; giving parliamentary sifting committees the ability to insist that certain statutory instruments are made using the affirmative procedure.

Government amendments were made to the Bill without division covering areas such as: how UK courts should treat the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union after exit day; domestic legal status of retained EU law; further restrictions on the use of delegated powers in the Bill; further requirements for ministers to make explanatory statements when exercising delegated powers; restructuring the Bill’s provisions relating to the repatriation of powers returning from the EU in areas of devolved competence, so that powers would be returned to the relevant devolved institutions unless specific regulations were made to ring-fence them; creating a two-year window post exit in which Francovich damages claims could be brought.

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.