Coming up this week: House of Lords due to vote on amendments to the Withdrawal Bill
The EU (Withdrawal) Bill continues its bumpy road through Parliament as the House of Lords vote on amendments, having spent eleven days scrutinising and debating the bill in Committee Stage. Read our summary of what has happened during Committee here.
The bill is now moving onto Report Stage- where peers will vote on various amendments to the bill. Given that no amendments were voted on during Committee, this stage of the bill is crunch time. It is already clear from the latest list of amendments that peers across the House are gathering behind some key amendments that could be accepted by the whole house before the Bill returns to the Commons. Also significant that the Government has still not tabled any new amendments to Clause 11, most likely for tactical and political reasons.
Despite some minor changes made in the Commons, the bill is still not fit for purpose. Fundamental rights, standards and principles are not protected nor are the hard-won devolution settlements. In our briefing to peers, we recommend a range of amendments that will solve the deficiencies of the bill.
Interesting to note that the Government has responded to the Constitution Committee’s report on the bill. On behalf of the Government, Lord Callanan wrote that they intend “to make an amendment requiring Ministers to explain why it is appropriate where they provide for a legislative function to be exercised other than by a Minister through SIs and for an annual report on the exercise of those powers to be laid before Parliament”. On devolution, the Government admitted that they “have not yet reached final agreement” with the devolved governments. Lord Callanan also wrote that the “Government has noted the Committee’s recommendation in relation to assessing the effect of the Bill and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement”.
The following days are confirmed for Report Stage:
ACTION & INFO FOR REPORT STAGE
There are a wide range of ways your organisation (or your supporters or member organisations) can get involved and help spread the word about how the bill still needs significant improvement.
Tweet at various peers (see list and content below) and ask them to support amendments that will protect rights, standards and devolution
Help spread the word through your networks and online platforms
Retweet Alliance tweets and follow us on Twitter- we’ll be following Report stage and the votes closely.
Here are some examples of what you can do on social media to rally supporters and peers:
The #EUWithdrawalBill is still not fit for purpose. Unless amended, we risk losing hard-won rights and protections. Read our/ this briefing on how devolution, parliamentary sovereignty and scrutiny can be protected https://buff.ly/2ETJ8n1
This week, peers are voting on the EU Withdrawal Bill- recommend everyone to sign up to Unlock Democracy’s open letter to peers & and ask them to stop the #powergrab by amending the #EUWithdrawalBill
Tomorrow, peers are voting on the #EUWithdrawalBill- unless amended, fundamental rights and protections will be lost. Read our/this briefing to peers here- https://buff.ly/2ETJ8n1
In two days, the @HouseofLords are voting on one of the most constitutionally important bills in 40 years. Absolutely crucial rights, standards and devolution are protected- here are the amendments we support : https://buff.ly/2ETJ8n1
Peers to follow/ tweet at
Lord Tyler, Lib Dem
Lord Norton of Louth, Conservative
Baroness Altmann, Conservative
Sarah Ludford, Lib Dem
Peter Hain, Labour
Lord Jay of Elweme, Crossbench
Lord Deben, Conservative
Lord Foulkes, Labour
Baroness Smith of Basildon (Shadow spokesperson in the Lords)
Lord Bates, (Government minister), Conservative
Baroness Thornton, Labour
Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, Conservative
Earl of Clancarty, Crossbench
Lord Bassam of Brighton, Labour
Lord Bilimoria, Crossbench
Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, Labour
Lord Wigley, Plaid Cymru
Lord Cashman, Labour
Lord Newby, Lib Dem
Baroness Campbell, Crossbench
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Conservative
Peers also have their very own digital chamber- which you can find here.
Recommended reading ahead of Report:
The House of Lords Constitution Committee report on the Withdrawal Bill- well worth a read and note that this report and its recommendations for improving the bill has been mentioned time and time again during the Committee Stage report.
Northern Ireland Civil Society Briefing: Note on the impact of EU exit on the Good Friday Agreement, rights and equality protections and devolution
Devolution issues in the EU Withdrawal Bill- Alliance briefing written together with Churches Together in Wales
The Commons Library never fails to impress- see their two briefings “Legislative Consent: what, why and how?” and “Legislative consent and Brexit: devolved governments’ objections to the EUW Bill”