Great Repeal Bill/EU (Withdrawal) Bill: An Introduction

The Great Repeal Bill, or European Union (Withdrawal) Bill forms part of the ongoing legislation to provide for the UK's exit from the EU after the referendum in June 2016. This Bill seeks to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and also seeks to convert all existing EU legislation into domestic law to ensure stability on our exit. You can read more about the Bill and follow its' progress through Parliament here and you can read the Government's White Paper which explains more about the Bill at the link here.

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17 January 2018 – Remaining Stages and Third Reading Debate Day 2 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated the remaining amendments to the Bill and then debated the Bill in its’ Third Reading. You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Deputy Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the link here.

The Speaker chose to call twelve votes tonight on New Clause 1, New Clause 6, New Clause 11, New Clause 12, New Clause 17, Amendment 2, Amendments 14-19, Amendment 59, Amendment 1, Amendment 20 and 30-38, an amendment at Third Reading, and Third Reading.

Following the completion of Third Reading, the Bill will now progress to the House of Lords who will undergo the same scrutiny process as the Commons. You can follow the Bill’s progress in the Lords at the link here.

Voting Results:

New Clause 1 – Ayes 305 & Noes 318

New Clause 6 – Ayes 298 & Noes 322

New Clause 11 – Ayes 301 & Noes 320

New Clause 12 – Ayes 301 & Noes 318

New Clause 17 – Ayes 301 & Noes 320

Amndt 2 – Ayes 302 & Noes 318

Amndts 14-19 – Amndts agreed without division

Amndt 59 – Ayes 99 & Noes 322

Amndt 1 – Ayes 302 & Noes 321

Amndts 20, 30-38 – Amndts agreed without division

Amndt at 3rd Reading – Ayes 295 & Noes 322

3rd Reading – Ayes 324 & Noes 295

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16 January 2018 – Report Stage Debate Day 1 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated further amendments to the Bill regarding the retention of EU law and devolution. You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the link here.

It is important to note that although amendment 381 was selected for debate today, it will not be pushed to a division until the 8th day of the Committee stage debates. Whilst I was not selected to speak in the debate, I raised my views and concerns on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire which you can listen to here.

The Speaker chose to call six votes tonight on Amendment 57, Amendment 4, New Clause 7, Amendment 49, Amendments 21-29 and Amendment 3.

Voting Results:

Amndt 57 – Ayes 296 & Noes 319

Amndt 4 – Ayes 299 & Noes 317

New Clause 7 – Ayes 297 & Noes 320

Amndt 49 – Negatived without division

Amndts 21-29 – Ayes 317 & Noes 297

Amndt 3 – Ayes 297 & Noes 321

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20 December 2017 – Committee Stage Debate Day 8 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated amendments to the Bill regarding the publication and rules of evidence, transition deals and the exit date. You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Deputy Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the link here.

The Deputy Speaker chose to call fifteen votes tonight on Clause 13, Schedule 5, New Clause 13, Amendments 381 and 399, Amendment 349, Amendments 382 and 400, Clause 14, New Clause 44, New Clause 54, Amendment 401, Clause 15, Amendments 402-405, Schedule 8, Schedule 9, Clause 18, Amendment 120, and Clause 19.

Voting Results:

Clause 13 – Agreed without division

Schedule 5 – Agreed without division

New Clause 13 – Ayes 114 & Noes 320

Amndts 381, 399 – Ayes 319 & Noes 294

Amndt 349 – Ayes 295 & Noes 318

Amndts 382, 400 – Agreed without division

Clause 14 – Agreed without division

New Clause 44 – Ayes 294 & Noes 318

New Clause 54 – Ayes 296 & Noes 316

Amndt 401 – Agreed without division

Clause 15 – Agreed without division

Amndts 402-405 – Agreed without division

Schedules 8, 9 & Clause 18 – Agreed without division

Amndt 120 – Ayes 23 & Noes 319

Clause 19 – Agreed without division

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Amendment 7 - Wednesday, 13 December

Due to the very legislatively technical nature of this amendment to the Great Repeal Bill, I thought I should outline why I supported the Conservative ex Attorney General Dominic Grieve, by voting for it.

I have received literally hundreds and hundreds of supportive emails from constituents, but around 40 from those expressing concern. It is vitally important therefore that I explain why I voted as I did.

Firstly, let me be absolutely clear – this was not a vote to stop Brexit, hinder the withdrawal process or act against the best interests of our country or the Prime Minister. Whilst it is well known I voted ‘Remain,’ since the referendum, I have continuously stated that we must support the National view - the UK will be leaving the EU. I have stated this publicly on numerous occasions in the press and on my website. My vote to trigger Article 50 on 8 February earlier this year demonstrated this with total clarity.

However, as the Great Repeal Bill has begun its passage through both Houses, just as with all other Bills, it is time for Parliamentarians to scrutinise it. As with all legislation, but especially so with a Bill where we have no precedence, it must be constitutionally water-tight. We have already seen a successful legal challenge mounted by Gina Miller when this precision was lacking. As the Prime Minister now enters her second phase of negotiations and the clock ticks yet more loudly, we cannot afford for there to be stumbles of our own making along her way, due to poorly drafted legislation.

This is precisely why one of the finest legal minds in the UK, Dominic Grieve drafted amendment 7.

The Great Repeal Bill comprises a number of clauses and schedules, each relating to a part of the process to transfer all current EU law into domestic law. Amendment 7 relates specifically to Clause 9 of the Bill.

Clause 9 would seek to give the Government extraordinary powers to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, yet to be negotiated. The powers contained within the Clause would allow for the entire process of legal changes required before exit day, to be made through secondary legislation, or statutory instruments (SIs).

Earlier this year, the Government agreed Parliament should have a meaningful vote at the Second Reading of the Bill. They also acknowledged that a further statute to implement the withdrawal agreement (the "Implementation Bill") would be required. Because of this, the powers within Clause 9 are now superfluous.

As the SIs provided for under Clause 9 existed to implement an agreement that would now be approved in later legislation, i.e. the Implementation Bill, it is that Bill and not the Great Repeal Bill that should be the vehicle for the SIs.

The Conservative ex-Attorney General, Dominic Grieve’s amendment, sought to fix this flaw with Clause 9. Without it, the Bill could have been open to legal challenge further down the line, potentially derailing the whole Brexit process.

His amendment does not stop Brexit, neither does it change the date of Brexit. It does not provide a means by which MPs can reject any final deal and thereby force the Prime Minister to negotiate a new one.

Simply put, this amendment would prevent the Government utilising unclear SIs until after the future Implementation Bill has been passed i.e. until the final terms of our leaving have been agreed.

If you have not already done so, you might wish to listen to Dominic’s eloquent explanation during the debate here: http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/eedcd1e3-589e-47b5-91ba-281d0bebb48b?in=14:24:27

In the weeks following the tabling of his amendment, he and colleagues had hoped the Government would acknowledge the flaw he identified and either fix Clause 9 or accept his amendment.

Dominic met with the Chief Whip and the Bill team to discuss this possibility. He chased them repeatedly but sadly nothing was forthcoming and the deadline passed.

Literally two minutes from the end of the debate on Wednesday, the Minister stated that a commitment not to move the SIs in question until after the Implementation Bill was passed would be written onto the face of the Bill but as Dominic stated, this was “too little, too late” and again, did not provide the legal certainty required.

As many have pointed out, the issue of Brexit has been a divisive one since the referendum vote was announced. But claims made by some that our voting actions are ‘treacherous’ or will result in the UK’s negotiation position being ruined are personally insulting and totally wrong. This amendment unquestionably helps the Government by making the legislation water tight.

This vote is about detail and legislative security, not something the front page of the Daily Mail bothered to report. Hard working Parliamentarians, not traitors know it is absolutely critical that we get this legislation right - our country’s future depends on it.

It may come to pass that the Government tables their own version of Amendment 7 when the Bill returns to the House in the New Year at Report Stage. I wonder if the Daily Mail and others will bother to apologise then.

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13 December 2017 – Committee Stage Debate Day 7 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated amendments to the Bill regarding the approval of the final withdrawal deal by an Act of Parliament and the scrutiny system for statutory instruments (or secondary legislation). You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Deputy Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the links here and here.

I had already added my name in support of Dominic Grieve’s amendments 7, 12, 13, 3 and 4 which sought to ensure Parliament gets a meaningful vote on the final withdrawal deal from the EU and which also sought to limit the scope of delegated powers that Ministers can be awarded through the Bill. You can read my article in the Telegraph here and listen to my interview on BBC Daily Politics here to listen to my reasons for supporting these amendments.

The Deputy Speaker chose to call twenty votes tonight on amendments 7, 30, 241, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 391, 383, 26, Clause 9, Clause 16, Clause 17, Clause 8, Schedule 7, New Clause 1 and New Clause 22.

Voting Results:

Amndt 7 – Ayes 309 & Noes 305

Amndt 30 – Ayes 297 & Noes 316

Amndt 241 – Ayes 294 & Noes 315

New Clause 1 – Ayes 292 & Noes 311

New Clause 22 – Ayes 292 & Noes 314

Amndt 26 – Ayes 291 & Noes 315

Clause 9, Clause 16, Clause 17, Clause 8, Schedule 7 – Agreed to without a division

Amndts 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 391, 383 – Agreed to without a division

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12 December 2017 – Committee Stage Debate Day 6 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated amendments to the Bill regarding the scope of delegated, or Henry VIII powers, the functions currently carried out in the UK by an EU entity and environmental protections. You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Deputy Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the link here.

I had already added my name in support of amendments 1, 2, and 5 tabled by Dominic Grieve. These sought to limit the scope of the delegated powers that could be awarded to Ministers through the Bill. Although none of these amendments were pushed to a vote, I was pleased that the Government had agreed to establish a sifting committee as recommended by Charles Walker MP. This would mean a group of MPs will go through a list of EU legislation that Ministers feel can be transposed to domestic law through secondary legislation. Where MPs feel it appropriate, they will recommend that some legislative changes be given a debate and a vote on the floor of the House.

I had also added my name in support of amendments 13, 3, 4 and 12. Although these amendments were selected for debate today, the will not be voted on until the 7th day of the Committee Stage debates on Wednesday 13 December.

The Deputy Speaker chose to call six votes tonight on New Clause 63, amendment 49, amendment 124, amendment 158, amendment 25 and Clause 7.

Voting Results:

New Clause 63 – Ayes 293 & Noes 315

Amndt 49 – Ayes 295 & Noes 312

Amndt 124 – Ayes 93 & Noes 315

Amndt 158 – Ayes 291 & Noes 315

Amndt 25 – Ayes 292 & Noes 314

Clause 7 – agreed to without division

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6 December 2017 – Committee Stage Debate Day 5 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated amendments to the Bill regarding the restrictions on devolved authorities modifying retained EU law and financial provision. You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Deputy Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the link here.

The Deputy Speaker chose to call eight votes tonight on Clause 10, amendment 167, Schedule 2, New Clause 17, New Clause 80, Clause 12, Amendment 339 and Schedule 4.

Voting Results:

Clause 10 – agreed to without division

Amndt 167 – Ayes 296 & Noes 316

Schedule 2 – agreed to without division

New Clause 17 – Ayes 288 & Noes 316

New Clause 80 – Ayes 287 & Noes 312

Clause 12 – agreed to without division

Amndt 339 – Ayes 286 & Noes 311

Schedule 4 – agreed to without division

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4 December 2017 – Committee Stage Debate Day 4 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated amendments to the Bill regarding the devolved legislatures and the role of the Joint Ministerial Committee. You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Deputy Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the link here.

The Deputy Speaker chose to call four votes tonight on New Clause 64, amendment 42, amendment 72 and Clause 11 and Schedule 3.

Voting Results:

New Clause 64 – Ayes 256 & Noes 313

Amndt 42 – Ayes 292 & Noes 316

Amndt 72 – Ayes 290 & Noes 316

Clause 11 and Sch. 3 – Ayes 315 & Noes 290

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21 November 2017 – Committee Stage Debate Day 3 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated amendments to the Bill regarding the inclusion of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the general principles of, and challenges to, the validity of retained EU law and ‘Francovich’ damages. You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Deputy Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the link here.

I had already added my name in support of Dominic Grieve’s amendment 8 which sought to allow the Charter of Fundamental Rights to continue to apply domestically in the interpretation and application of retained EU law.

The Deputy Speaker chose to call six votes tonight on New Clause 79, amendment 46, amendment 336, amendment 139, Schedule 1.

Voting Results:

NC79 – Ayes 295 & Noes 314

Amndt 46 – Ayes 301 & Noes 311

Clause 5 – Agreed without division

Amndt 336 – Ayes 296 & Noes 315

Amndt 139 – Ayes 295 & Noes 315

Schedule 1 – Ayes 313 & Noes 295

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15 November 2017 – Committee Stage Debate Day 2 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated amendments to the Bill regarding the retention of existing EU law and the incorporation of direct EU legislation into domestic law. You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Deputy Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the link here.

The Deputy Speaker chose to call seven votes tonight on New Clause 25, New Clause 58, Clause 2, Clause 3, New Clause 30, New Clause 67 and New Clause 70.

Voting Results:

New Clause 25 – Ayes 295 & Noes 311

New Clause 58 – Ayes 299 & Noes 311

Clause 2 – Agreed without division

Clause 3 – Agreed without division

New Clause 30 – Ayes 295 & Noes 313

New Clause 67 – Ayes 297 & Noes 313

New Clause 70 – Ayes 48 & Noes 313

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14 November 2017 – Committee Stage Debate Day 1 – The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Today, the House debated amendments to the Bill regarding the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 and the interpretation of retained EU law. You can watch the full debate at the link here.

You can see the full list of amendments that were selected by the Deputy Speaker to be debated and voted on by following the link here.

I had already added my name in support of Dominic Grieve’s amendment 6 which sought to prevent the creation of different exit days for different parts of the Bill by statutory instrument or other secondary legislation. I have also recently published a statement in the update below about the Government’s amendment (381) which seeks to place a final date on the Bill for the UK’s exit. In short, I do not support this amendment – such a measure would not only bind the Government’s hands unnecessarily, but would also not, in reality, allow Parliament to scrutinise and vote on the final deal in the case of either a ‘no deal’ situation, or an 11th hour deal. I and colleagues find this totally unacceptable and would vote against it.

It is important to note that although amendment 381 was selected for debate today, it will not be pushed to a division until the 8th day of the Committee stage debates. Whilst I was not selected to speak in the debate, I raised my views and concerns on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire which you can listen to here.

The Deputy Speaker chose to call six votes tonight on amendment 79, Clause 1, New Clause 14, amendment 137, amendment 278 and Clause 6.

Voting Results:

Amndt 79 – Ayes 52 & Noes 318

Clause 1 – Ayes 318 & Noes 68

New Clause 14 – Ayes 296 & Noes 316

Amndt 137 – Ayes 296 & Noes 316

Amndt 278 – Ayes 295 & Noes 316

Clause 6 – Agreed without division

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13 November 2017 - Comment on Amendments 7, 120, 124, 131 & Govt Amndt 381

A number of constituents have contacted me recently outlining their concerns about amendments 7, 120, 124, 131 and 381. As such, I though it would be helpful to outline my response here.

In summary, I am supporting amendments 8, 1, 5, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 11. These are principally around the scope of delegated powers that could be awarded to Government to amend legislation. I have also supported amendment 7 which requires the final deal with the EU to be approved by statute to be passed by Parliament.

I am afraid I cannot support Amendment 120 calling for a national referendum on the terms of the final deal. We have already had that referendum and it is in my view, now Parliament's job to scrutinise the deal as elected representatives.

Amendment 124 is “intended to prevent the regulation-making powers being used to create barriers to the UK’s continued membership of the single market”. Whilst I do appreciate the need for continued access to this market, as I have said before, we cannot commit legislatively to the demands provided for in this amendment. Given that negotiations are not just one-sided but require the agreement of the other 27 European member states, such an amendment would be meaningless as it would not hold any influence over the remaining states.

Amendment 131 seeks to preserve the residence rights of EU citizens after Brexit. Since the referendum, I have continuously spoken out about the need to protect our EU citizens who contribute so much to our local and national economy. I believe the Prime Minister is making the safeguarding of these rights her top priority and therefore I do not feel this amendment is necessary. Indeed on 7 November, the Home Office published a technical document which outlined further detail about how these rights would be protected. You can read about this and my ongoing work to protect our EU citizens here. https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/eu-citizens

It is in every EU state’s best interests to secure these rights for their own citizens and I am convinced this aspect of the negotiations will be agreed soon.

The new Government amendment (381) was tabled on Friday 10 November and it provides for a drop dead date to be applied to the face of Bill marking the UK's exit from the EU. A number of us met with the Chief Whip on today and made it very clear that we stand firm on the asks we supported in the amendments. Additionally, we made it clear we will not support the amendment 381 - such a measure would not only bind the Government's hands unnecessarily, but would also not in reality allow Parliament to scrutinise and vote on the final deal in the case of either a no deal situation or an 11th hour deal situation. I and colleagues find this totally unacceptable and would vote against it.

Please be in no doubt that I would not support a "hard" Brexit or a no deal situation.

This will be a turbulent process but I will stand firm.

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18 September 2017 - Conclusion of Second Reading of the Bill

During the Second Reading debates for the Bill, a number of constituents contacted me expressing their concerns about the provisions for delegated powers contained in the Bill.

I was content to vote for the Bill to pass the Second Reading stage because ultimately, although I did vote to remain myself, I believe in the importance of democracy and that the referendum result must be respected. Therefore no matter how painful it is, we cannot simply ignore the decision because we do not like it. Over 33 million votes were cast at the referendum and whilst I accept it was a close vote, there was a decisive outcome. I know many constituents are disappointed in the result but this is the nature of democracy and we must accept the result.

Voting against the Second Reading of a Bill essentially means that you disagree with the Bill on a fundamental level. As I have already acknowledged that I support the result of the referendum and that the UK will be leaving the EU, therefore, by default, I have to support the Bill at this stage.

However, the time when the Bill will really be debated and properly scrutinised will be during the Committee and Third Reading stages. As per the programme motion for these stages, the debate will happen through a Committee of the Whole House for eight days, with up to eight hours of debate each day. I believe that is an adequate length of time. You can see the full Programme Motion at the link below which shows how each day of debate will focus specifically on the clauses and schedules of the entire Bill.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmagenda/OP170911b.pdf

The next stage for the Bill will be the Committee and Third Reading stages. This is where MPs will table, debate and consider amendments to the Bill. As a lot of constituents have pointed out, I agree that as it stands, the delegated powers that the Bill seeks to provide the Government with are too broad and could potentially set a dangerous precedent, not just for this Government, but for future Governments as well.

In light of this, I have decided to add my name in support of a number of amendments including New Clauses 8, 1, 5, 2, 7, 3, 4, 6 and 11. I have attached a document at the bottom of this webpage with a full list of these and you can see the full list of amendments which have been tabled thus far at the link here.

The areas where I am looking for the Bill to be amended are principally around the powers that could be awarded to Government to amend any legislation without proper parliamentary scrutiny and without using secondary legislation, or statutory instruments. I have also supported amendments that consider how the Charter of Fundamental rights will be interpreted once we leave the EU. These are the areas that I am most nervous about and as such, have added my name in support of the amendments which seek to provide protections for them.

Ministers are aware of how colleagues feel about these areas of the Bill and please be in no doubt that I would not support a "hard" Brexit or a no deal situation.

As you will know, the first two dates for Committee Stage have been allocated for Tuesday 14 November and Wednesday 15 November. I will keep this webpage updated as the debates progress and once further dates have been allocated.

If there is anything at these stages that you are uncomfortable with, then please do not hesitate to get in touch at heidi.allen.mp@parliament.uk.

7 and 11 September 2017 - Second Reading Debates for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

You might wish to watch the debates in the House of Commons Chamber at the links below:

7 September 2017

11 September 2017

Voting results: Ayes (326) and Noes (290)

Attachments

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European Union Withdrawal Bill Amendments 390.32 KB