On Days 6 & 7 of the committee stage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill we focused on the scope of delegated powers. On Day 7, my Labour colleagues and I supported a significant amendment which we won! This means that Parliament will have a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, an important victory for the protection of parliamentary sovereignty.
Tuesday 12th December (Day 6)
Day 6 of the committee stage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill focused on Clause 7 of the bill, relating to the scope of delegated powers (so called “Henry VIII powers) and the need to fully transpose enforcement mechanisms.
- NC63 (tabled by Labour) – this clause sought to set out a new enforcement and governance mechanism for the environment.
- Amendment 49 (tabled by Yvette Cooper – Labour) – this amendment aimed to stop the concentration of power in ministers’ hands and put “necessary test” on Henry VIII powers.
- Amendment 158 (tabled by Stephen Doughty – Labour) – this amendment would have prevented delegated powers from amending the Welsh and Scottish devolution settlements.
- Amendment 25 (tabled by Labour) – this amendment would have prevented delegated powers from being used to remove rights, reduce protections or undermine the Equality Act.
Labour supported these amendments. All were defeated by the Government.
Wednesday 13th December (Day 7)
The first part of Day 7 focused on the need for Parliament to have a meaningful vote on the final withdrawal agreement. The second debate focused on the ability for Ministers to use delegated powers to comply with international obligations.
- Amendment 7 (tabled by Dominic Grieve – Conservative) – this amendment requires a statute of Parliament approving the final terms of the Withdrawal agreement.
- Amendment 30 (tabled by Labour) – this would have stopped delegated powers from being used to modify the Act itself.
- Amendment 241 (tabled by the SNP) - This amendment would would preserve reciprocal healthcare and social security rights
- NC1 (tabled by Labour) – this clause would have removed Clause 9 from the Bill and established that there should be a triage committee to decide the level of scrutiny each piece of primary legislation ought to receive.
- NC22 (tabled by Heidi Alexander) – this clause stated that "no minister may... notify the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EEA Agreement", was defeated by 314 votes to 292 - majority 22.
- Amendment 26 (tabled by Labour) – this amendment would prevent rights and protections being removed via delegated powers.
As you will no doubt have seen in the press, eleven Tory MPs rebelled against the Government on Amendment 7 and voted with us, meaning that we won this important division on Parliament having the final say on the Brexit deal.
The Government defeated all of the other amendments, but our win on Amendment 7 is incredibly significant in our work to protect parliamentary sovereignty and hold the Government to account as it attempts to push through a hard Brexit without public and parliamentary scrutiny.