On Parliaments return after the summer recess MPs debated the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. While the Bill is needed to transfer EU legislation on to the statute books, it is not fit for purpose in its current form because it’s a power grab that would massively weaken Parliament’s ability to hold the government to account. I therefore tabled a reasoned amendment:
That this House, while supporting the principle o transferring the acquis of EU law into domestic law as a necessary part of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, and understanding that the acquis can successfully and effectively be transferred into UK law without undermining the sovereignty of Parliament, declines to give a Second Reading to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill because this Bill is incapable o transferring the acquis and therefore fails in the Bill’s central aim of restoring ful sovereign power to this House and the House of Lords and because the Bill fails to provide adequate means for holding the Government to account and for scrutinising future legislative changes, while also denying this House the opportunity to play a full part in the future legislative process in relation to EU Law that has been transposed into UK law, and makes no provision for the transfer of devolved competencies coming back from the EU to the devolved administrations, meaning that this Bill amounts to an unwarranted power grab by central Government, rather than being the technical and procedural Bill that this House was assured and guaranteed it would be.
The Speaker did not call my reasoned amendment to go forward but selected the Labour amendment:
That this House respects the EU referendum result and recognises that the UK will leave the EU, believes that insisting on proper scrutiny of this Bill and its proposed powers is the responsibility of this sovereign Parliament, recognises the need for considered and effective legislation to preserve EU-derived rights, protections and regulations in UK law as the UK leaves the EU but declines to give a Second Reading to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill because the Bill fails to protect and reassert the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty by handing sweeping powers to Government Ministers allowing them to bypass Parliament on key decisions, allows for rights and protections to be reduced or removed through secondary legislation without any meaningful or guaranteed Parliamentary scrutiny, fails to include a presumption of devolution which would allow effective transfer of devolved competencies coming back from the EU to the devolved administrations and makes unnecessary and unjustified alterations to the devolution settlements, fails to provide certainty that rights and protections will be enforced as effectively in the future as they are at present, risks weakening human rights protections by failing to transpose the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law, provides no mechanism for ensuring that the UK does not lag behind the EU in workplace protections and environmental standards in the future and prevents the UK implementing strong transitional arrangements on the same basic terms we currently enjoy, including remaining within a customs union and within the Single Market.