EU Withdrawal Bill amendment 'tears the heart out of Parliament's meaningful vote'

By agency reporter
June 9, 2018

On 7 June 2018, the Government tabled its own amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, ahead of two days of debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June.

Notable amongst the Government’s amendments are proposals to water-down provisions in the bill for Parliament to have a meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement. A meaningful vote for Parliament on this deal has already been backed by a majority in the House of Commons, and then strengthened by a majority in the House of Lords.

Reacting to the Government's proposed changes, Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy, commented: “The Government wants to tear the heart out of Parliament’s meaningful vote. For the greatest constitutional change in the UK’s peacetime history, the Government wants to reduce Parliament to little more than a rubber stamp. MPs have yet another battle on their hands to defend democracy. Unfortunately, such brazen contempt for democracy and our elected representatives has become par for the course from this Government.

“The Government has gone out of its way to frame this amendment as a concession, which is the epitome of cynical spin. It is plain for all to see that the amendment would roll back on very sensible  provisions that, let us not forget, were backed by a majority in the House of Commons and strengthened forcefully by a majority in the House of Lords.

“It’s bewildering why the Government is picking this fight with Parliament. The current framing of the meaningful vote in the bill in no way binds the Government’s hands during the negotiations. Instead, it sets out a clear role for scrutinising the deal that is reached and specifies a role for Parliament if that deal is found not to be satisfactory. This is clearly in line with the principle of parliamentary sovereignty.

“For many that voted leave, ‘taking back control’ was going to mean more power for the people and their elected representatives. I’m afraid they are going to have to reconcile themselves to a future where more power than ever is concentrated in the hands of a few unaccountable Cabinet members."

* More information on the Government's amendments from Unlock Democracy here

* The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is here

* Unlock Democracy http://www.unlockdemocracy.org

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