EU (Withdrawal) Bill Amendments

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As the EU (Withdrawal) Bill makes its way through Parliament, I have tabled the following amendments:

NC37

Governance and institutional arrangements

(1) Before exit day a Minister of the Crown must seek to make provision that all powers and functions relating to any right, freedom, or protection, that any person might reasonably expect to exercise, that were exercisable by EU entities or other public authorities anywhere in the United Kingdom before exit day, and which do not cease to have effect as a result of the withdrawal agreement (“relevant powers and functions“) will—

(a) continue to be carried out by an EU entity or public authority;

(b) be carried out by an appropriate existing or newly established entity or public authority in the United Kingdom; or

(c) be carried out by an appropriate international entity or public authority.

(2) For the purposes of this section, relevant powers and functions relating to the UK exercisable by an EU entity or public authority include, but are not limited to—

(a) monitoring and measuring compliance with legal requirements,

(b) reviewing and reporting on compliance with legal requirements,

(c) enforcement of legal requirements,

(d) setting standards or targets,

(e) co-ordinating action,

(f) publicising information.

(3) Responsibility for any functions or obligations arising from retained EU law for which no specific provision has been made immediately after commencement of this Act will belong to the relevant Minister until such a time as specific provision for those functions or obligations has been made.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This new clause would ensure that the institutions and agencies that protect EU derived rights and protections are replaced to a sufficient standard so those rights and protections will still be enjoyed in practice.

I have also signed a number of amendments:

NC2

Retaining Enhanced Protection

Regulations provided for by Acts of Parliament other than this Act may not be used by Ministers of the Crown to amend or modify retained EU law in the following areas—

(a) employment entitlement, rights and protections;

(b) equality entitlements, rights and protections;

(c) health and safety entitlement, rights and protections;

(d) fundamental rights as defined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This new clause would prevent delegated powers from other Acts being used to alter workplace protections, equality provisions, health and safety regulations or fundamental rights.

NC15

Provisions relating to the EU or the EEA in respect of EU-derived domestic legislation

HM Government shall make arrangements to report to both Houses of Parliament whenever circumstances arising in section 2(2)(d) would otherwise have amended provisions or definitions in UK law had the UK remained a member of the EU or EEA beyond exit day.

Member’s explanatory statement This new clause would ensure that Parliament is informed of changes in EU and EEA provisions that might have amended UK law if the UK had remained a member of those institutions beyond exit day.

46

Clause 5, page 3, line 20, leave out subsection (4)

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment would remove the exclusion of the Charter of Fundamental Rights from retained EU law.

9

Schedule 1, page 15, line 2, leave out Schedule 1

Member’s explanatory statement: To allow challenges to be brought to retained EU law on the grounds that it is in breach of general principles of EU law and to allow damages to be awarded for any proven breach of such a principle.

10

Schedule 1, page 15, line 5, leave out paragraphs 1 to 3

Member’s explanatory statement: To allow challenges to be brought to retained EU law on the grounds that it is in breach of general principles of EU law.

42

Clause 11, page 7, line 16, leave out subsections (1) to (3) and insert—

“(1) In section 29(2)(d) of the Scotland Act 1998 (no competence for Scottish Parliament to legislate incompatibly with EU law), omit “or with EU law”.

(2) In section 108A(2)(e) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (no competence for National Assembly for Wales to legislate incompatibly with EU law), omit “or with EU law”.

(3) In section 6(2)(d) of the Northern Ireland Act (no competency for the Assembly to legislate incompatibly with EU law, omit “is incompatible with EU law.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment removes the Bill’s proposed restrictions on the ability of the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly to legislate on devolved matters

49

Clause 7, page 5, line 7, at end insert—

“(1A) Regulations under subsection (1) may be made so far as necessary to adapt the body of EU law to fit the UK’s domestic legal framework.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment would place a general provision on the face of the Bill to the effect that the delegated powers granted by the Bill should be used only so far as necessary.

1

Clause 7, page 5, line 8, leave out “(but are not limited to)” and insert “and are limited to”

Member’s explanatory statement: To restrict the power of a Minister to make regulations to amend retained EU law to cases where the EU law is deficient in the way set out in the Bill.

57

Clause 7, page 5, line 42, leave out subsection (4)

Member’s explanatory statement:This amendment would remove the scope for regulations to make provisions that could be made by an Act of Parliament.

32

Clause 7, page 5, line 43, at end insert “, apart from amending or modifying this Act”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment would remove the proposed capacity of Ministers under Clause 7 to modify and amend the Act itself via delegated powers.

5

Clause 7, page 6, line 3, leave out “abolished”

Member’s explanatory statement: To prevent the abolition by SI of a function currently carried out by an EU entity in the UK, as opposed to its replacement or modification.

2

Clause 7, page 6, line 18, at end insert—

“(g) make any other provision, unless the Minister considers that the conditions in subsection (6A) where relevant are satisfied in relation to that provision.

(6A) Those conditions are that—

(a) the policy objective intended to be secured by the provision could not be secured by non-legislative means;

(b) the effect of the provision is proportionate to the policy objective;

(c) the provision, taken as a whole, strikes a fair balance between the public interest and the interests of any person adversely affected by it;

(d) the provision does not remove any necessary protection;

(e) the provision does not prevent any person from continuing to exercise any right or freedom which that person might reasonably expect to continue to exercise;

(f) the provision is not of constitutional significance”

Member’s explanatory statement: To narrow down the circumstances in which this power can be exercised.

25

Clause 7, page 6, line 18, at end insert—

“(g) remove or reduce any protections currently conferred upon individuals, groups or the natural environment,

(h) prevent any person from continuing to exercise a right that they can currently exercise, 

(i) amend, repeal or revoke the Equality Act 2010 or any subordinate legislation made under that Act.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment would prevent the Government’s using delegated powers under Clause 7 to reduce rights or protections.

16

Clause 7, page 6, line 21, leave out subsection (8). 

88

Clause 7, page 6, line 25, at end insert—

“(9) Regulations may only be made under subsection (5)(a)(ii) if an impact assessment on the replacement, abolition or modification of the functions of EU entities is laid before each House of Parliament prior to them being made.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment prevents Ministers of the Crown from being able to replace, abolish or modify the functions of EU Agencies without laying impact assessments on its effect before both Houses of Parliament.

7

Clause 9, page 6, line 45, at end insert “, subject to the prior enactment of a statute by Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

Member’s explanatory statement: To require the final deal with the EU to be approved by statute passed by Parliament.

30

Clause 9, page 7, line 2, leave out ‘(including modifying this Act)’ and insert “, apart from amending or modifying this Act”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment would remove the proposed capacity of Ministers in Clause 9 to modify and amend the Act itself via delegated powers.

27

Clause 9, page 7, line 8, at end insert—

“(e) remove or reduce any protections currently conferred upon individuals, groups or the natural environment,

(f) prevent any person from continuing to exercise a right that they can currently exercise,

(g) amend, repeal or revoke the Equality Act 2010 or any subordinate legislation made under that Act.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment would prevent the Government’s using delegated powers under Clause 9 to reduce rights or protections.

28

Page 6, line 41, leave out Clause 9

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment would ensure that the withdrawal agreement is implemented through primary legislation

NC1

“Scrutiny Committee

(1) For the purposes of this Act ‘a scrutiny committee’ refers to either―

(a) the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, or

(b) a Committee of the House of Commons which is established to perform the specific functions assigned to a scrutiny committee in this Act.

(2) The scrutiny committee referred to in subsection (1)(b) shall be chaired by a Member who is—

(a) of the same Party as the Official Opposition, and

(b) elected by the whole House.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This new clause establishes the principle that there shall be a Commons triage committee which works alongside the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to determine the level of scrutiny each statutory instrument shall receive.

33

Schedule 7, page 39, line 17, after “if” insert “A scrutiny committee determines that”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 34 and 35 would establish that it is for Parliament to decide which level of scrutiny a Statutory Instrument shall receive under Clause 7 of this Act, and that matters of policy interest will be subject to the approval of both Houses and to amendment

34

Schedule 7, page 39, line 29, at end insert— “(g) is otherwise of sufficient policy interest to merit the application of subparagraph (1).”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 33 and 35 would establish that it is for Parliament to decide which level of scrutiny a Statutory Instrument shall receive under Clause 7 of this Act, and that matters of policy interest will be subject to the approval of both Houses and to amendment

35

Schedule 7, page 39, line 33, at end insert “, unless a scrutiny committee determines that the instrument is of such significant policy interest that it ought to be subject to approval of each House with a procedure that allows for amendment.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 33 and 34 would establish that it is for Parliament to decide which level of scrutiny a Statutory Instrument shall receive under Clause 7 of this Act, and that matters of policy interest will be subject to the approval of both Houses and to amendment.

36

Schedule 7, page 43, line 3, after “if” insert “a scrutiny committee determines that”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 37 and 38 would establish that it is for Parliament to decide which level of scrutiny a Statutory Instrument shall receive under Clause 8 of this Bill, and that matters of policy interest will be subject to the approval of both Houses and to amendment.

37

Schedule 7, page 43, line 15, at end insert— “(g) is otherwise of sufficient policy interest to merit the application of subparagraph (1)”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 36 and 38 would establish that it is for Parliament to decide which level of scrutiny a Statutory Instrument shall receive under Clause 8 of this Bill, and that matters of policy interest will be subject to the approval of both Houses and to amendment.

22

Schedule 7, page 43, line 19, at end insert “or if the Government has not provided time on the floor of the House for a debate and vote on a prayer against the statutory instrument signed by the Leader of the Opposition or 80 Members of the House of Commons.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This would mean that if the Leader of the Opposition or 80 members of the House of Commons were to sign a prayer against an SI that was subject under Schedule 7 to the negative procedure, the Government would have to provide time for a debate and a vote on the floor of the House or lose the SI. At present there is no such provision in the House of Commons.

38

Schedule 7, page 43, line 19, at end insert “, unless a scrutiny committee determines that the instrument is of such significant policy interest that it ought to be subject to approval of each House with a procedure that allows for amendment.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 36 and 37 would establish that it is for Parliament to decide which level of scrutiny a Statutory Instrument shall receive under Clause 8 of this Bill, and that matters of policy interest will be subject to the approval of both Houses and to amendment.

39

Schedule 7, page 43, line 30, after “if” insert “a scrutiny committee determines that”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 40 and 41 would establish that it is for Parliament to decide which level of scrutiny a Statutory Instrument shall receive under Clause 9 of this Bill, and that matters of policy interest will be subject to the approval of both Houses and to amendment

29

Clause 17, page 13, line 34, leave out subsections (1) to (3)

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment would remove a widely drawn delegated power, which covers anything that happens as a consequence of the Act

NC22

“EEA Agreement

(1) No Minister may, under this Act, notify the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EEA Agreement, whether under Article 1 of that Agreement or otherwise.

(2) Regulations under this Act may not make any provision that would constitute a breach of the United Kingdom’s obligations under the EEA Agreement.

(3) Regulations under this Act may not amend or repeal subsection (1) or (2).”

31

Clause 8, page 6, line 32, at end insert “, apart from amending or modifying this Act”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment would remove the proposed capacity of Ministers in Clause 8 to modify and amend the Act itself via delegated powers.

26

Clause 8, page 6, line 38, at end insert—

“(e) remove or reduce any protections currently conferred upon individuals, groups or the natural environment,

(f) prevent any person from continuing to exercise a right that they can currently exercise,

(g) amend, repeal or revoke the Equality Act 2010 or any subordinate legislation made under that Act.”

Member’s explanatory statement:This amendment would prevent the Government’s using delegated powers under Clause 8 to reduce rights or protections.

43

Clause 14, page 10, line 25, leave out “a Minister of the Crown may by regulations’ and insert ‘Parliament may by a majority approval in both Houses”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 44 and 45 would empower Parliament to control the length and basic terms of transitional arrangements, and would allow Parliament to start the clock on the sunset clauses within the Bill.

44

Clause 14, page 11, line 25, leave out “a Minister of the Crown” and insert “Parliament”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 43 and 45 would empower Parliament to control the length and basic terms of transitional arrangements, and would allow Parliament to start the clock on the sunset clauses within the Bill.

45

Clause 14, page 11, line 30, leave out “a Minister of the Crown” and insert “Parliament”

Member’s explanatory statement: This amendment together with Amendments 43 and 44 would empower Parliament to control the length and basic terms of transitional arrangements, and would allow Parliament to start the clock on the sunset clauses within the Bill.

NC9

“European Economic Area The United Kingdom shall, after exit day, remain a member of the European Economic Area as set out in the European Economic Area Act 1993, and the provisions in Part 2 of Schedule 8 relating to the United Kingdom‘s membership of the EEA shall not take effect until such time as Ministers have published a White Paper assessing the costs and benefits for the UK economy of remaining a member of the European Economic Area after exit day.”

Member’s explanatory statement: This new Clause would ensure that the UK can remain a member of the European Economic Area until such time as Ministers publish a specific assessment in the form of a White Paper setting out the costs and benefits for the UK of remaining a member after exit day.

NC23

“EFTA membership The Secretary of State shall, no later than six months after this Act has gained Royal Assent, lay a report before Parliament setting out an assessment of whether it would be in the interests of the United Kingdom to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and, if so, whether it should remain a party to the EEA Agreement as a member of EFTA.”