European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
John Bercow Excerpts
Wednesday 17th January 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Bill Main Page
Department for Exiting the European Union
Matthew Pennycook Portrait Matthew Pennycook (Greenwich and Woolwich) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 1:13 p.m.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 2—Meaning of Withdrawal Agreement—

“It shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to ensure that the arrangements for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU which comprise the “withdrawal agreement” specified in subsection (1) of section 14 shall include full, comprehensive and sufficient detail as if it were a legal instrument capable of acceptance and deposit as an international trade agreement at the World Trade Organisation, with detailed agreements on the following aspects of the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union including—

(a) geographical scope of application,

(b) regulatory cooperation,

(c) national security,

(d) cross-border trade in services,

(e) market access,

(f) tariff arrangements,

(g) tariff rate quotas on all products,

(h) customs duties on imports,

(i) duties, taxes and charges on exports,

(j) fees and charges,

(k) import and export restrictions,

(l) provisions concerning anti-dumping and countervailing measures,

(m) transparency,

(n) sanitary and phytosanitary measures,

(o) trade conditions,

(p) customs valuation,

(q) subsidies,

(r) dispute settlement and mediation,

(s) establishment of investments,

(t) non-discriminatory treatment,

(u) expropriation,

(v) enforcement of awards,

(w) mutual recognition of professional qualifications,

(x) cross-border financial services,

(y) prudential regulatory alignment,

(z) maritime transport services,

(aa) telecommunications,

(bb) electronic commerce,

(cc) competition policy,

(dd) state enterprises and monopolies,

(ee) government procurement,

(ff) intellectual property,

(gg) trade and sustainable development and the environment,

(hh) trade and labour standards and employment conditions and

(ii) taxation.”

This new clause would make it the objective of HM Government that the withdrawal agreement sought prior to exit day should include proposals setting out the full details expected of a comprehensive international trade agreement.

New clause 3—Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland—

“(1) Nothing in the provisions made under section 8 or section 9 of this Act shall authorise any regulations which—

(a) breach any of the obligations of Her Majesty’s Government made under the Belfast Agreement implemented in the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (which made new provision for the government of Northern Ireland for the purpose of implementing the agreement reached at multi-party talks on Northern Ireland), or

(b) create hard border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, or

(c) undermine the full alignment of the United Kingdom with the rules of the European Union Internal Market and the Customs Union which support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the Belfast Agreement.

(2) Subsection (1)(c) shall apply unless Her Majesty’s Government, the Government of the Republic of Ireland and the European Union agree alternative specific solutions which can continue to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland, the obligations of the Belfast Agreement and the avoidance of a hard border arrangement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”

This new clause would ensure that the aspects of the Phase 1 agreement between the UK and the EU regarding the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are brought into UK law.

New clause 4—Financial Settlement—

“The Chancellor of the Exchequer shall publish, within one month of Royal Assent of this Act, the full details of the methodology agreed between Her Majesty’s Government and the European Union as set out in the “Joint Report from the Negotiators on Progress During Phase 1” which was published on 8 December 2017.”

This new clause would ensure that the agreed methodology for calculating the financial settlement between the UK and the EU set out in the Joint Report from the Negotiators of 8 December 2017 are published and brought into the public domain.

New clause 5—Trade in Services—

“It shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government, in negotiating a withdrawal agreement, to secure the same rights, freedoms and access available to UK businesses trading in services as exists through the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, as if section 1 of this Act were not brought into effect.”

This new clause would ensure that the negotiating objectives of Ministers would be to secure the same benefits for service sector trading businesses after exit day as are available under the existing Single Market and Customs Union arrangements by virtue of membership of the European Union.

New clause 6—Alteration to the notification under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on the European Union—

“Her Majesty’s Government shall publish a summary of the legal advice it has received in respect of the ability of the United Kingdom to extend, alter or revoke the notification, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on the European Union, of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.”

This new clause would require Ministers to place in the public domain a summary of the legal advice they have received concerning the options available for the United Kingdom in respect of the notification made under Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union.

New clause 10—Governance and institutional arrangements—

“(1) Before exit day a Minister of the Crown must 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.”

This new clause would ensure that substantive rights and protections cannot be removed by the “back door”, and 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.

New clause 11—Meaningful vote on deal or no deal—

“(1) The Prime Minister must publish and lay before both Houses of Parliament an assessment of the impact on the economy of the United Kingdom, and on each nation, province or region of the United Kingdom, of any unratified agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.

(2) Any agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU may not be ratified unless—

(a) subsection (1) has been complied with,

(b) the House of Lords has considered a motion relating to the unratified agreement,

(c) the House of Commons has approved the unratified agreement by resolution,

(d) the statute mentioned in section 9 (approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union) has been passed, and

(e) any other legislative provision to enable ratification has been passed or made.

(3) If no agreement has been reached by 31 December 2018 between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union setting out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, the Prime Minister must publish and lay before both Houses of Parliament within one month an assessment of the impact on the economy of the United Kingdom, and on each nation, province or region of the United Kingdom, of leaving the EU under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union without an agreement.

(4) If no agreement has been reached by 31 January 2019 between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union setting out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU,

(a) a Minister of the Crown must propose a motion in the House of Lords relating to the lack of an agreement, and

(b) a Minister of the Crown must propose a motion in the House of Commons approving the intention of the United Kingdom to leave the EU under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union without a withdrawal agreement.

(5) Unless the House of Commons approves by resolution after 31 January 2019 the intention of the United Kingdom to leave the EU under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union without a withdrawal agreement, the Prime Minister must either—

(a) reach an agreement before exit day between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, or

(b) request the European Council for an extension of negotiation under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, or

(c) rescind the notice of intention under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union to withdraw from the EU given in accordance with the European Union (Notice of Withdrawal) Act 2017 and request the European Council to accept that rescission.’

This New Clause would ensure that the Government assesses the impact of either an agreement or no deal on the UK economy and regions before a meaningful vote, and that if Parliament does not agree to the agreement or to no deal, then the Government must request a revocation or extension of Article 50.

New clause 12—Environmental protection after EU exit—

“(1) Before any exit day, the Secretary of State must publish a report detailing all EU environmental protections, powers and functions.

(2) The report pursuant to subsection (1) shall specify—

(a) all environmental legal protections which derive from EU law;

(b) the powers and functions relating to environmental protection or improvement exercised by EU institutions;

(c) the empowering provisions in EU law relating to those functions; and

(d) any loss of environmental protection, or the monitoring and enforcement of environmental protections, which may arise as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU.

(3) Before any exit day the Secretary of State must publish proposals for primary legislation (the “Draft Environmental Protection Bill”).

(4) The Draft Environmental Protection Bill must include provisions which would—

(a) ensure that the level of environmental protection provided by EU law on the day this Act receives Royal Assent is maintained or enhanced;

(b) make provision to remedy any loss of environmental protection, or the monitoring and enforcement of environmental protections, established in the report pursuant to subsection (1);

(c) create a statutory corporation (to be called “the Environmental Protection Agency”) with operational independence from Ministers of the Crown to monitor environmental targets previously set by EU law relating to environmental protection and other such environmental targets that may be set by Ministers of the Crown and international treaties to which the United Kingdom is party;

(d) require the statutory corporation in (4)(c) to report to Parliament every year on progress in meeting those targets and to make recommendations for remedial action where appropriate;

(e) allow the statutory corporation in (4)(c) to publish additional reports identifying action or omissions on the part of Ministers of the Crown that is likely to result in targets not being met; and

(f) extend to the whole of the United Kingdom.

(5) The Secretary of State must publish annual reports to Parliament on how environmental protections and the monitoring and enforcement of environmental protections have been affected by the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU.

(6) Before publishing a report pursuant to subsection (5) the Secretary of State must hold a public consultation on the effect of leaving the EU on environmental protection.

(7) The Secretary of State must publish and lay before each House of Parliament the first report pursuant to subsection (5) no later 29 March 2020 and each subsequent report must be published no later than the period of one year after the publication of the previous report.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to produce a report on the loss of environmental protection as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU, and to prepare an Environmental Protection Bill to make up for any loss of environmental protections, and the monitoring and enforcement of environmental protections. It would also require the Secretary of State to produce annual reports which make an assessment of the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on UK environmental protection.

New clause 14—Maintaining individual rights and protections—

“(1) When making any agreement under subsection (2), the Secretary of State shall take steps to ensure that UK citizens enjoy standards of rights and protections equivalent to those enjoyed by citizens of the EU under EU law.

(2) This section applies to—

(a) any agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU which prepares for, or implements, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU;

(b) any international trade agreement—

(i) between the UK and the EU, or

(ii) between the UK and another signatory which seeks to replicate in full or in part the provisions of an international trade agreement between the EU and the other signatory.

(3) In relation to any agreement under subsection (2), the Secretary of State will maintain the highest standards of transparency.”

This new clause creates a duty for the Government to ensure that individual rights and protections are maintained to a level equivalent to (although not necessarily the same as) those in the EU when making agreements with the EU or international trade agreements.

New clause 15—Non-regression of equality law—

“(1) Any EU withdrawal related legislation must be accompanied by a statement made by a Minister of the Crown certifying that in the Minister‘s opinion the legislation does not remove or reduce protection under or by virtue of the Equality Acts 2006 and 2010.

(2) In subsection (1) “EU withdrawal related legislation” means—

(a) any statutory instrument under this Act;

(b) any statutory instrument made by a Minister of the Crown wholly or partly in connection with the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU; and

(c) any Bill presented to Parliament by a Minister of the Crown which is wholly or partly connected to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.”

This new clause would ensure that legislation in connection with withdrawal from the EU does not reduce protections provided by equality law.

New clause 17—Effect of losing access to EU single market and customs union—

“(1) The Prime Minister must publish and lay before both Houses of Parliament an assessment of the impact on the economy of the United Kingdom, and on each nation, province or region of the United Kingdom, of any unratified agreement (“the Agreement”) between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.

(2) The assessment in subsection (1) must so far as practicable analyse the expected difference in outcomes between the Agreement and continued participation in the EU single market and customs union.

(3) The assessment in subsection (1) must be prepared by the Treasury and must include separate analyses from the National Audit Office, the Office of Budget Responsibility, the Government Actuary’s Department, and the finance directorates of each of the devolved Administrations of the methodology and conclusions of the Treasury assessment.

(4) A statute of the kind mentioned in section 9 (approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union) may not come into effect until the Prime Minister’s assessment under subsection (1) has been—

(a) debated by each House of Parliament, and

(b) approved by resolution of the House of Commons.”

This purpose of this New Clause is to ensure that the alternative of remaining in the EU single market and customs union is formally considered by Parliament on the basis of an independently validated economic assessment before any statute approving the final terms of withdrawal takes effect.

New clause 18—Consultation on environmental governance and principles—

“(1) Within one month of Royal Assent, the Secretary of State must consult on and bring forward proposals to—

(a) provide that all powers and functions relating to the environment or environmental protection that were exercisable by EU entities or other public authorities anywhere in the United Kingdom before exit day which do not cease to have effect as a result of the withdrawal agreement are fully carried out.

(b) introduce primary legislation to establish a new independent environmental regulator with the purpose of, responsibility for, and appropriate powers to oversee the implementation of, compliance with and enforcement of environmental law and principles by relevant public authorities.

(c) incorporate EU environmental principles in primary legislation as a basis for relevant decision-making by UK public bodies and public authorities.

(d) establish a process for the publication of a national environmental policy statement or statements describing how the environmental principles will be interpreted and applied.

(2) EU Environmental principles include but are not limited to—

(a) the precautionary principle;

(b) the principle that preventive action should be taken to avert environmental damage;

(c) the principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source;

(d) the polluter pays principle;

(e) the principle that environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of policies and activities, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development;

(3) In carrying out a consultation under this section, the Government must—

(a) consult with the devolved authorities;

(b) be open to responses for at least two months; and

(c) consider the resources and legal powers that the proposed regulator under (1)(b) will need in order to properly carry out its functions.”

This new clause enshrines the Government’s stated intentions in respect of the environmental principles and the establishment of a new independent environmental regulator. It sets out the minimum standards for consultation on these matters.

New clause 20—Citizens’ Jury on Brexit Negotiations—

“(1) A citizens’ jury shall be established to enable UK citizens to be consulted on the progress of negotiations between the UK and the EU on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, and the approach outlined in UK Government White Papers.

(2) The citizens’ jury shall in total be composed of exactly 1501 persons.

(3) Members of the citizens’ jury shall be randomly selected by means of eligibility from UK citizens on the current electoral register as registered on the date of this Act receiving royal assent, with allocation across the 9 UK Government Regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland weighted by population, and a stratification plan, with the aim of securing a group of people who are broadly representative demographically of the UK electorate across characteristics including whether they voted Leave or Remain.

(4) The jury will be broken down into individual sittings for each of the 9 UK Government Regions in England, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

(5) The sittings will be for no more than 72 hours at a time, facilitated by independent facilitators, and if required, by electing fore-people from within their number.

(6) Membership of the jury will be subject to the same regulations and exceptions as a regular jury, but membership can be declined without penalty.

(7) The citizens’ jury will be able to require Ministerial and official representatives of the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations to give testimony to them to inform their work, and to have the power to invite other witnesses to give evidence as required.

(8) The citizens’ jury shall publish reports setting out their conclusions on the negotiations and UK Government White Papers.

(9) The first report from the citizens’ jury shall be published within two months of this Act receiving Royal Assent, and subsequent reports shall be published at intervals of no more than two months.

(10) Costs incurred by the citizens’ jury shall be met by the Exchequer.”

New clause 21—Environmental protection and improvement: continuation of powers and functions—

“(1) The Secretary of State must establish and maintain a publicly accessible register of EU environmental powers and functions.

(2) The register produced pursuant to subsection (1) shall specify—

(a) the specific powers and functions relating to environmental protection or improvement exercised by EU institutions;

(b) the EU institution previously responsible for exercising those powers and functions; and

(c) the empowering provision in EU law relating to those powers and functions.

(3) The register produced pursuant to subsection (1) shall include the following functions—

(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; and

(f) publicising information including regarding compliance with environmental standards.

(4) Within one month of Royal Assent, the Secretary of State must—

(a) publish and lay before Parliament a statement identifying those powers and functions identified in the public register established under subsection (1) that will continue to be exercised by EU institutions or, alternatively, the existing or proposed new public authorities to which these powers and functions will be transferred; and

(b) make Regulations containing provisions to ensure that all relevant powers and functions relating to environmental protection or improvement exercisable by EU institutions anywhere in the United Kingdom before exit day continue on and after exit day.”

This new clause would ensure oversight of the transfer of functions from EU institutions to domestic institutions, by requiring the Government to establish a publicly accessible register of environmental governance functions and powers exercised by EU institutions, and to make regulations that ensure that all relevant environmental powers and functions are continued.

New clause 22—Dealing with deficiencies arising from withdrawal – further provisions—

“(1) This section applies where there is a deficiency in retained EU law on and after exit day in respect of which regulations have not been made under section 7.

(2) A deficiency includes, but is not limited to, retained EU law which—

(a) contains anything which has no practical application in relation to the United Kingdom or any part of it or is otherwise redundant or substantially redundant;

(b) confers functions on, or in relation to, EU entities which no longer have functions in that respect under EU law in relation to the United Kingdom or any part of it;

(c) makes provision for, or in connection with, reciprocal arrangements between—

(i) the United Kingdom or any part of it or a public authority in the United Kingdom, and

(ii) the EU, an EU entity, a member State or a public authority in a member State,

which no longer exist or are no longer appropriate.

(d) makes provision for, or in connection with, other arrangements which—

(i) involve the EU, an EU entity, a member State or a public authority in a member State, or

(ii) are otherwise dependent upon the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU,

and which no longer exist or are no longer appropriate

(e) makes provision for, or in connection with, any reciprocal or other arrangements not falling within paragraph (c) or (d) which no longer exist, or are no longer appropriate, as a result of the United Kingdom ceasing to be a party to any of the EU Treaties,

(f) does not contain any functions or restrictions which—

(i) were in an EU directive and in force immediately before exit day (including any power to make EU tertiary legislation), and

(ii) it is appropriate to retain, or

(g) contains EU references which are no longer appropriate.

(3) A deficiency within the meaning of subsection (1) includes any failure or other deficiency arising from the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU together with the operation of any provision, or the interaction between any provisions, made by or under this Act, but does not include any modification of EU law which is adopted or notified, comes into force or applies only on or after exit day.

(4) Where this section applies, the retained EU law in respect of which the deficiency arises is to be interpreted in accordance with subsections (5) to (9).

(5) The retained EU law does not allow, prevent, require or otherwise apply to acts or omissions outside the United Kingdom.

(6) An EU reference is not to be treated, by reason of the UK having ceased to be a member State, as preventing or restricting the application of retained EU law within the United Kingdom or to persons or things associated with the United Kingdom.

(7) Functions conferred on the EU or an EU entity are to be treated as functions of the Secretary of State.

(8) Any provision which requires or would, apart from subsection (7), require a UK body to—

(a) consult, notify, co-operate with, or perform any other act in relation to an EU body, or

(b) take account of an EU interest,

is to be treated as empowering the UK body to do so in such manner and to such extent as it considers appropriate.

(9) In subsection (8)—

“a UK body” means the United Kingdom or a public authority in the United Kingdom;

“an EU body” means the EU, an EU entity (other than the European Court), a member State or a public authority in a member State;

“an EU interest” means an interest of an EU body or any other interest principally arising in or connected with the EU (including that of consistency between the United Kingdom and the EU);

“requires” includes reference to a pre-condition to the exercise of any power, right or function;

(10) This section ceases to have effect after the end of the period of two years beginning with exit day.”

This new clause provides a scheme for interpretation as a backstop where the transposition necessary to avoid deficiencies has not been effected by regulations made under Clause 7.

Amendment 2, in clause 7, page 5, line 6, leave out subsections (1) to (6) and insert—

“(1) A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make such provision as the Minister considers necessary to prevent, remedy or mitigate—

(a) any failure of retained EU law to operate effectively, or

(b) any other deficiency in retained EU law,

arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU.

(2) Deficiencies in retained EU law are where the Minister considers that retained EU law—

(a) contains anything which has no practical application in relation to the United Kingdom or any part of it or is otherwise redundant or substantially redundant,

(b) confers functions on, or in relation to, EU entities which no longer have functions in that respect under EU law in relation to the United Kingdom or any part of it,

(c) makes provision for, or in connection with, reciprocal arrangements between—

(i) the United Kingdom or any part of it or a public authority in the United Kingdom, and

(ii) the EU, an EU entity, a member State or a public authority in a member State, which no longer exist or are no longer appropriate,

(d) makes provision for, or in connection with, other arrangements which—

(i) involve the EU, an EU entity, a member State or a public authority in a member State, or

(ii) are otherwise dependent upon the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU, and which no longer exist or are no longer appropriate,

(e) makes provision for, or in connection with, any reciprocal or other arrangements not falling within paragraph (c) or (d) which no longer exist, or are no longer appropriate, as a result of the United Kingdom ceasing to be a party to any of the EU Treaties,

(f) does not contain any functions or restrictions which—

(i) were in an EU directive and in force immediately before exit day (including any power to make EU tertiary legislation), and

(ii) it is appropriate to retain, or

(g) contains EU references which are no longer appropriate.

(3) But retained EU law is not deficient merely because it does not contain any modification of EU law which is adopted or notified, comes into force or only applies on or after exit day.

(4) Regulations under this section may make any provision that could be made by an Act of Parliament.

(5) Regulations under this section may provide for—

(a) functions of EU entities or public authorities in member States (including making an instrument of a legislative character or providing funding) to be exercisable instead by a public authority (whether or not newly established or established for the purpose) in the United Kingdom,

(b) the establishment of public authorities in the United Kingdom to carry out functions provided for by regulations under this section.

(6) Regulations to which subsection (5) apply must ensure that the functions of such EU entities or public authorities are exercised with equivalent scope, purpose and effect by public authorities in the United Kingdom.

(7) But regulations under this section may not—

(a) impose or increase taxation,

(b) make retrospective provision,

(c) create a relevant criminal offence,

(d) be made to implement the withdrawal agreement,

(e) amend, repeal or revoke the Human Rights Act 1998 or any subordinate legislation made under it,

(f) amend or repeal the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (unless the regulations are made by virtue of paragraph 13(b) of Schedule 7 to this Act or are amending or repealing paragraph 38 of Schedule 3 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 or any provision of that Act which modifies another enactment),

(g) contain any provision the effect of which is that, in comparison with the position immediately before the exit date—

(i) any right conferred on a person by retained EU law is either removed or made less favourable,

(ii) any standard laid by retained EU law is lowered, or

(iii) any remedy, procedure or method of enforcement, in relation to any rights or standards conferred by retained EU law, is made less effective, or

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

This amendment restricts the Clause 7 powers so as to ensure they are only used as far is as necessary for the purposes of the Bill, that they do not abolish enforcement functions and that they do not reduce rights or protections.

Amendment 9, page 6, line 16, at end insert—

“(da) amend, repeal or revoke any retained EU law which implements a provision listed in Schedule [Exceptions for Directives etc.].”

This amendment, which is linked to NS1, would except EU Directives relating to workers’ rights from the power to make regulations to remedy deficiencies in retained EU law.

Amendment 56, page 6, line 23, at end insert—

“(6A) Within three months of this Act receiving Royal Assent, and every three months thereafter, a report must be laid before each House of Parliament listing—

(a) all deficiencies which Ministers of the Crown have identified would arise in retained EU law after exit day but which they do not intend to prevent, remedy or mitigate in advance using the powers under subsection (1);

(b) the reasons for each decision not to prevent, remedy or mitigate such deficiencies, and

(c) an assessment of the consequences of that decision.”

This amendment (linked with Amendment 55 provides for Parliamentary scrutiny of any decision not to use clause 7 powers to save retained EU law from being unable to operate effectively.

Amendment 59, in clause 9, page 7, line 16, at end insert—

“(5) No regulations may be made under this section until the Secretary of State has signed an agreement with the European Union guaranteeing that the United Kingdom will remain a permanent member of the EU single market and customs union.”

This amendment would mean the UK would confirm its continued membership of the single market and customs union before Ministers of the Crown carry out any actions under Clause 9 of the Bill.

Amendment 10, in clause 14, page 10, line 40, leave out from “means” to the end of line 41 and insert

“the time specified by an Act of Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU;”.

This amendment would require exit day to be specified in a separate bill on the terms of withdrawal.

Amendment 39, page 11, line 37, at end insert

“and the arrangements for a status quo transitional period which encompasses—

(a) a “bridging period” to allow new agreements to be reached satisfactorily between the United Kingdom and the European Union lasting as long as necessary for a full trade agreement to be ratified, and

(b) an “adaptation period” to allow the phasing in of new requirements over time to provide for the implementation of changes to new agreements in an orderly and efficient manner.”

This amendment ensures that the meaning of “withdrawal agreement” is also taken to include a detailed transitional period with two distinct aspects, firstly allowing for a “bridging period” during which new agreements are concluded and secondly allowing for an “adaptation period” to give business and other organisations a period to adjust to those new arrangements.

Amendment 1, page 11, line 40, at end insert—

“(2A) Subsection (2B) applies if any “exit day” appointed in this Act is not in accordance with any transitional arrangements agreed under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union.

(2B) A Minister of the Crown may by regulations—

(a) amend the definition of “exit day” in the relevant sections to ensure that the day and time specified are in accordance with any transitional arrangements agreed under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, and

(b) amend subsection (2) in consequence of any such amendment.

(2C) Regulations under subsection (2B) are subject to the affirmative procedure.”

This amendment ensures that the Bill can facilitate transitional arrangements within the single market and customs union.

New schedule 1—Exceptions for directives etc.—

“The power to make regulations under subsection (1) of Clause 7 shall not apply to provisions listed in the Table.

ARTICLE 157 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Equal pay for male and female workers)COUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 79/7/EEC of 19 December 1978 on the progressive implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women in matters of social securityCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 91/533/EEC of 14 October 1991 on an employer‘s obligation to inform employees of the conditions applicable to the contract or employment relationshipCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (tenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC)COUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 94/33/EC of 22 June 1994 on the protection of young people at workCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 94/45/EC of 22 September 1994 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employeesCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 96/34/EC of 3 June 1996 on the framework agreement on parental leave concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUCCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 96/71/EC of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of servicesCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 97/74/EC of 15 December 1997 extending, to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Directive 94/45/EC on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employeesCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 97/75/EC of 15 December 1997 amending and extending, to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Directive 96/34/EC on the framework agreement on parental leave concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUCCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 97/81/EC of 15 December 1997 concerning the Framework Agreement on part-time work concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUCCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 98/23/EC of 7 April 1998 on the extension of Directive 97/81/EC on the framework agreement on part-time work concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundanciesCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 99/70/EC of 28 June 1999 concerning the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEPCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 99/63/EC of 21 June 1999 concerning the Agreement on the organisation of working time of seafarers concluded by the European Community Ship-owners’ Association (ECSA) and the Federation of Transport Workers’ Unions in the European Union (FST)COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic originCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE NO 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupationCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2001/23/EC of 12 March 2001 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the safeguarding of employees’ rights in the event of transfers of undertakings, businesses or parts of undertakings or businessesCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2001/86/EC of 8 October 2001 supplementing the Statute for a European company with regard to the involvement of employeesDIRECTIVE 2002/14/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European CommunityDIRECTIVE 2002/15/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 11 March 2002 on the organisation of the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activitiesDIRECTIVE 2003/41/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 3 June 2003 on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provisionCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2003/72/EC of 22 July 2003 supplementing the Statute for a European Cooperative Society with regard to the involvement of employeesDIRECTIVE 2003/88/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working timeDIRECTIVE 2005/56/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 26 October 2005 on cross-border mergers of limited liability companiesDIRECTIVE 2006/54/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast)DIRECTIVE 2008/94 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 22 October 2008 on the protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employerDIRECTIVE 2008/104/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 19 November 2008 on temporary agency workDIRECTIVE 2009/38/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 6 May 2009 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of companies for the purposes of informing and consulting employeesCOUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010 implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUCDIRECTIVE 2010/41/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 7 July 2010 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacityDIRECTIVE 2014/67/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 15 May 2014 on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System (“the IMI Regulation”).”

This new schedule, which is linked to Amendment 9, lists the EU Directives relating to workers’ rights which would be excepted from the power to make regulations to remedy deficiencies in retained EU law.

Government amendment 33.

Amendment 58, in schedule 7, page 48, line 7, at end insert—

“12A Any power to make regulations under this Act may not be exercised by a Minister of the Crown until 14 days after the Minister has circulated a draft of the regulations to the citizens’ jury appointed under section (Citizens’ jury on Brexit negotiations).”

The intention of this Amendment is to provide for a citizens’ jury to be consulted before regulations are made under this Act.

Government amendments 35 and 36.

Matthew Pennycook Portrait Matthew Pennycook - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 1:17 p.m.

I rise to speak to new clause 1 and amendments 2 and 1, which stand in my name and those of my right hon. and hon. Friends. As you are aware, Mr Speaker, this remaining group contains a significant number of important issues, and while I want to spend time talking to each of our three amendments, I am conscious that time is limited, so I will endeavour to keep my remarks as brief as possible.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Central (Paul Blomfield) reminded the House yesterday, as far back as last March the Opposition set out six ways in which the Bill required improvement. The first was that it be drafted in such a way as to enable transitional arrangements after 29 March 2019 on the same basic terms as now—including being in a customs union with the EU and within the single market. The second was that the sweeping delegated powers in the Bill be circumscribed. The third was that it needed to contain clear and robust protection and enforcement mechanisms for all EU-derived rights, entitlements, protections and standards. Sadly, despite some small steps in the right direction, the Government have largely failed to respond in any meaningful way to the concerns we raised in relation to these three areas. The purpose of new clause 1 and amendments 2 and 1 is to press the Government once again to do something about each of them.

I turn first to new clause 1, the purpose of which is to ensure that retained EU law enjoys a form of enhanced protection from subordinate legislation contained in other Acts of Parliament. This is a highly technical matter but a crucial one for the rights and protections our constituents enjoy. Mr Speaker, you were not in the Chamber at the time, but hon. Members who were present will recall that the House debated clauses 2, 3 and 4 in great detail on day two of Committee, and I certainly do not intend to cover the same ground again today. As we heard again yesterday, however, there are very real problems that flow from the ambiguous and uncertain status of retained EU law—a problem to which we believe new clause 13, tabled by the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), provides a pragmatic solution, or at the very least a sensible starting point for a conversation about how the status of this new category of law could be more clearly defined.

Leaving to one side the issues relating to the status of retained EU law—issues that I have no doubt the other place will return to at some length—there is another, related concern, and that is the vulnerability of this new category of law to subordinate legislation and what that means in practical terms for the rights, entitlements, protections and standards our constituents currently enjoy. I want to be very clear as to the argument I am making at this point, because when I first did so on day two of Committee, the debate was prone to veer off on to other related but distinct issues.

The concern I am highlighting does not relate to the issue of how Parliament is to scrutinise and, where necessary, approve the hundreds of statutory instruments that will flow from clause 7, as well as clauses 8, 9 and 17. We welcomed the Government’s acceptance of the amendments tabled by the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker) and other members of the Procedure Committee, although we still believe that they do not go far enough, particularly in relation to the new sifting committee’s inability to request that Ministers revoke and remake specific statutory instruments.

Nor does the argument that I am advancing concern how the powers contained in this Bill might be used to amend, modify or repeal retained EU law. The specific issue that I am highlighting, and what new clause 1 seeks to address, is our serious concern that the Bill as drafted leaves retained EU law vulnerable to amendment, modification or repeal by subordinate legislation contained in numerous other Acts of Parliament.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 2:10 p.m.

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman concluded his speech?

Mr Clarke Hansard

I have, and everybody still seems to be awake!

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 2:10 p.m.

Everybody is awake; we have been listening to the right hon. and learned Gentleman with rapt attention.

Mr Chris Leslie (Nottingham East) (Lab/Co-op) Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 2:10 p.m.

I congratulate the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) on warming up the debate so well. In a way, Mr Speaker, I feel sorry for you in the Chair, because it is perfectly ridiculous that the programme order is such that we have to conclude our series of debates at 4.30 pm when so many issues have not been properly aired on Report. I said that during yesterday’s debate on the programme motion, and I hope that Members in the other place will bear that in mind when they consider the Bill.

I tabled amendments on six issues that I did not think had been adequately covered in Committee. Being a dutiful Member, I felt it my responsibility to table amendments to cover those issues, but I must rush through them, because otherwise I will not exactly be flavour of the month with many of my colleagues.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—
17 Jan 2018, 2:35 p.m.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 2:35 p.m.

Order. A considerable number of Members are seeking to catch my eye, and colleagues will be conscious that these proceedings must conclude at 4.30 and that it is reasonable to allow the Minister some considerable time to respond to the points made. Therefore, a certain self-denying ordinance is required if I am to enable everybody to contribute. The hon. Member for Glenrothes (Peter Grant) speaks for his party from the Front Bench and, of course, must be afforded a decent opportunity, but I know that he will want to tailor his contribution to take account of the interests of others.

Peter Grant Portrait Peter Grant - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 2:35 p.m.

With the consent of the House, I rise to speak to amendment 59 in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford) and other right hon. and hon. Members, and to amendments 9 and 56 and new schedule 1.

Before I speak in more detail about amendment 59, may I commend the hon. Member for Nottingham East (Mr Leslie) for the amendments that he submitted? What he has done is to remind us of what a complete sham this entire process has been. Almost 90% to 95% of the way through these eight hours of debate, the Government who had promised, day after day after day, to listen to the debate and to take appropriate effective action still have not corrected some of the glaring deficiencies in their own Bill, the most serious of which, perhaps, is the fact that we still do not have any statutory guarantee that the Northern Ireland peace process, the Belfast agreement and all that that implies, will be protected in law. If the Government cannot be trusted to bring forward amendments to correct such a desperate deficiency in their own legislation, how can they expect this House to trust them with the draconian and unprecedented powers to use ministerial directive to correct deficiencies in domestic legislation after we have left?

Amendment 59 seeks to ensure that the withdrawal agreement can only be implemented when we also have an agreement to remain in the EU single market and customs union. Let us be honest: everybody knows that, on a free vote of this House, there would be a substantial majority in favour of remaining in the single market and the customs union. My plea this evening will be for all of those who know that that is in the best interests of their constituents to set aside the demands of the party Whips and to go through the Lobby in support of this amendment. We can win this vote this evening if all those who know that it deserves to win are able to set aside the demands of the Whips and vote for it. We can take a decision tonight that will keep us away from the cliff edge, not just for two years but for very much longer.

I am very grateful to colleagues from the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green party who have signed this amendment. Although there have been no signatures from Labour Members, either from the Front Bench or the Back Benches, I appeal to all of them to support this amendment today.

Let me first deal with the question of the constitutional or democratic legitimacy of the amendment. One of the very disturbing aspects of the referendum debate, which has continued all the way through the process since then, has been the degree of hostility and open hatred that has been created against anyone who speaks, or even thinks, against the wisdom of the Government, the newspaper editor, the blogger or whoever. I have a good bad example: just a day or two ago, a group of MPs who had the temerity to go over to Europe to meet Michel Barnier were denounced as traitors—treachery with a smiling face—by one well known bloggist. Apart from the fact that such inflammatory and violent language has no place in any supposedly respectful debate, I want to remind the House of some facts of our membership of the single market—facts that I appreciate will be very uncomfortable to some Members, but that are still utterly incontrovertible.

It is a matter of fact that the people of the United Kingdom have never voted in a referendum about membership of the single market or the customs union. This House had the opportunity when the European Union Referendum Bill was on its way through Parliament. We could have decided to ask questions about the customs union and the single market, but the House and the Government chose not to. Having chosen not to ask the question, none of us—including me—has any right to decide that we know what the answer would have been.

It is a matter of fact that it is possible to be in the single market and the customs union without being a member of the European Union. Hon. Members will have different views as to whether it would be wise, appropriate or in our best interests to do so, and they have every right to debate the benefits of membership of the single market and the customs union. But anyone who insists that it cannot happen is not engaging in debate; they are engaging in fiction. We have had far too much fiction in this debate already—from both sides, it has to be said—as the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) mentioned earlier. The decision to leave the single market was a unilateral political decision taken by the Prime Minister without any prior consultation with the people or with Parliament. It cannot, under any circumstances, be described as an inevitable consequence of the vote to leave the European Union.

Finally, it is a matter of fact that when the Conservative party fought on a manifesto that said it wanted to stay in the single market, it won an overall majority of seats in this place—the only time in the last 25 years that it has managed such an achievement. It is also a fact that the Conservatives lost that overall majority two years later, when they stood on a manifesto saying that they wanted to take us out of the single market. Nobody can claim that that is clear evidence of a popular democratic mandate to stay in the single market, but it certainly blows to smithereens any nonsense that there is any mandate for us to leave.

I am conscious of the need for brevity from me as well as from others, so I will not go into the full and detailed argument for staying in the single market, as that would take us from now to Brexit day, if not beyond. However, the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe referred to the latest analysis produced by the Scottish Government, entitled “Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment”. I certainly accept his caveats that we cannot be sure that the forecasts and projections in it are accurate. They are certainly not intended to be precise or definitive.

Break in Debate

Mr Steve Baker Portrait Mr Baker - Hansard

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the case that he has made. The Government are well apprised of the issue that he has brought to the House. It is absolutely right that we respect and uphold parliamentary sovereignty—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 2:59 p.m.

Order. Before the hon. Gentleman continues, I had—I will not say revelled in the expectation, but had been taking quiet satisfaction in the expectation, that the hon. Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) had in fact completed his speech.

Sir William Cash Portrait Sir William Cash - Hansard

I was completing my speech by inviting the intervention that my hon. Friend is now making.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3 p.m.

That is a moderately eccentric way in which to proceed, but we will allow a brief intervention—and a very brief response, I hope.

Mr Steve Baker Portrait Mr Baker - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 2:59 p.m.

That is why in the Bill we treat retained direct EU legislation as primary legislation for the purposes of the Human Rights Act, and why we have taken the approach we have to challenges based on the general principles. Bearing in mind what my hon. Friend has said—and, indeed, what my right hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd West (Mr Jones) has said—and the view of the Select Committee, which he has just set out, we will of course listen carefully to him and his Committee, and the other individuals he has mentioned, as the Bill continues its passage.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:10 p.m.

Order. On my reckoning, about 12 people want to speak. I advise the House that it is reasonable for the Minister to have at least 20 minutes to reply to the various points that have been made—[Interruption.] Someone chunters from a sedentary position, “No more.” The Minister should certainly be allowed 20 minutes, and Members can do the arithmetic for themselves. I am encouraged, as I call possibly the most courteous Member of the House of Commons, Mr Dominic Grieve.

Mr Grieve Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:11 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I shall endeavour to practise courtesy by act rather than by anything else, in being brief.

It is a pleasure again to participate in this afternoon’s debate, which is wide-ranging and has moved away from the rather narrow focus of some of the perfectly sensible amendments that have been tabled and that are designed to explore the undoubted deficiencies in the legislation; for example, the Opposition have put forward sensible proposals in new clause 1. Those are matters that we have looked at for a considerable number of days.

I wanted to focus on an issue that has arisen this afternoon and is a particular concern to me. In doing so I do not want to repeat what my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) said. I agree with every word he said, and there is no point in my saying it again. There is a separate angle, however, on which we might pause and reflect. New clause 17 raises the issue of whether we should have continued participation in the single market and customs union.

If we look at the Bill as drafted and at its original intention, particularly now that the pernicious effects of clause 9 have been removed, we can see that it is about the legal order of the United Kingdom after we have left with no deal at all. So an argument can be made that this legislation is perhaps not the most satisfactory place to try to bring in the single market and customs union. However, that raises an entirely legitimate issue. Ultimately, as we trundle on with the legislation it becomes more and more apparent how different it is from the Government’s intention regarding the end product that they want the country to enjoy.

The Prime Minister set out her vision in the Lancaster House and Florence speeches. As I have said before, but it is worth repeating, if she succeeded in achieving everything that she set out, there might well be broad consensus in the House, because we would lose those aspects of EU membership that we do not like and at the same time we would retain all the benefits of EU membership that we—or at least many of us, the vast majority of hon. Members—consider desirable.

The truth is that most of us—again, I suspect—in the House know that that is unlikely to be achieved. We are asking our EU partners to engage in the bending of the rules of the legal order, which is not something that can be readily obtained. We started out on this negotiation with a major fallacy: the EU can somehow be twisted around from matters of self-interest into entirely changing its nature. In fact, it is an international treaty organisation underpinned by law: that is what it is. Having visited Brussels on Monday, it was brought home to me—I already knew it—very clearly that that is indeed the nature of the entity with which we are dealing. Unless we are realistic about that we cannot hope to secure a reasonable outcome to our negotiations.

What troubles me particularly is the timing of all this. The reality is that the EU, for very good reasons, wants order. It is a legal order, and it wishes order to exist, even when countries are leaving it. The point was made to us that ultimately it would negotiate according to our red lines and, if we decide to put red lines down that make it impossible to reach the sort of agreement that the Prime Minister wants, we will not secure that agreement—it is very simple. On top of that—I would like to add this point to the one made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe—all of this is likely to come to a head at a very late stage indeed for rational judgments by the House about what is in the national interest.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I think there are still about 10 if not 11 Members seeking to catch my eye. If each Member could speak for three minutes or so, everybody would get in. If that is not possible, so be it, but Members can do the arithmetic for themselves. Perhaps we can start with a very good example from Mr Derek Thomas.

Derek Thomas Portrait Derek Thomas (St Ives) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:32 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker; I will keep my comments brief. I rise to oppose new clause 2 for the following reasons. By seeking full, comprehensive and sufficiently detailed agreements on several aspects of the future relationship between Britain and the EU, it ties the hand of Government. I am not sure that that is any way to negotiate future trading agreements. Furthermore, the new clause is impractical and inconsistent with article 50, for which the vast majority of this House voted last March.

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill is intended to ensure that EU legislation is transferred into UK law to deliver for the UK a smooth exit from membership of the EU next year, which I am sure we all hope for. Future trade agreements are a separate matter, and they will determine our future trading relationships throughout the world. I commend to the House the “Britain is GREAT” campaign, which is designed to open up a host of trading opportunities once we have left the EU.

Despite the comprehensive list of priorities—a total of 35—on which those who support the new clause want detailed agreements, the issues that concern my constituency are largely ignored. I am not willing to support the new clause, but I call on the Minister to commit, at an early stage, to a strategy that incorporates the economic and social cohesion principles derived from article 174 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union. That is important for regions across the UK, including the county of Cornwall, so that we can have confidence that future support will be maintained for areas with high levels of deprivation, rural and island areas, areas affected by industrial transition, and regions that suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps.

Brexit offers opportunities to further reduce inequalities between communities and regional disparities in development. Cornwall and Scilly has received considerable EU funding, but not every penny has been spent as intended. The region must be given far greater power over its own destiny and prosperity, and that is what the 2015 Cornwall devolution deal was intended to achieve. Work continues on thrashing out the detail so that Cornwall and Scilly has every tool needed to create a vibrant and successful economy, where wealth is shared across our population.

I do not believe that serious thinkers in Cornwall and Scilly believe that structural funding support of the sort that has been enjoyed, such as EU regional development funds and EU structural funds, continuing indefinitely is in our best interest; nor was it anticipated that Cornwall would be in receipt of the money even if the British people had voted in June 2016 to remain in the EU. Cornwall and Scilly and other areas across the UK need investment to create the infrastructure, jobs and skills that will assist long-standing pockets of deprivation, and an environment that offers opportunities and life chances to everyone, whatever their age or ability.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:37 p.m.

Order. The pressure for brevity is growing. I call Mr Ian Murray.

Ian Murray Portrait Ian Murray - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:37 p.m.

I will be brief, Mr Speaker. I rise to speak to new clause 17, on which I intend to test the will of the House later today. I will not repeat what the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) said, but I very much appreciate his support for the new clause, as I do the comments made by the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve).

I tabled the new clause simply to inject some clarity, transparency and honesty in the debate. We already have a strong baseline of what the single market and the customs union provide the UK, and new clause 17 offers a straightforward way of comparing what we have now and what the Government come back with and put on the table before the House votes on the legislation to invoke our leaving the European Union.

I also tabled the clause to prompt another discussion about the single market and the customs union. I intervened on my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham East (Mr Leslie) to make the point that all these complicated issues—those relating to the island of Ireland are probably the most complicated—can be resolved by continuing to participate in the single market and the customs union.

My key point, on which I hope Ministers will reflect and which Michel Barnier has already stated clearly, is that the red lines that the Government have set themselves are completely and utterly incompatible with the conclusion they wish to reach. Until they are honest about that with the public and this House, we will be unable to move forward. That is part of the reason why the EU keeps demanding from the UK an explanation of the final destination—what the UK actually wants from the process. The Prime Minister’s Florence and Lancaster House speeches set out criteria that are completely and utterly undeliverable, given the red lines set. To take the customs union and the single market off the table so early as a red line was the wrong decision.

We need the Government to put to both Houses a full and independently assessed analysis comparing the impact on the UK economy of two conclusions to this debate: staying in the single market and customs union and coming out on the basis of the deal the Government propose. The Government will resist the new clause, however, not out of principle, but because they know that any negotiated deal they come back with from the EU will not be as good as the deal we have today, and that will be saying to the public that that deal will make the country poorer. For any Government, that is a dereliction of duty. They should put their money where their mouth is, support my new clause 17 and put in black and white the consequences of this country’s refusing, failing and no longer participating in the single market and customs union.

Martin Whitfield (East Lothian) (Lab) Hansard

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:40 p.m.

Has the hon. Gentleman completed his speech?

Mr Speaker Hansard

We are grateful to him. I call Chuka Umunna.

Chuka Umunna Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:40 p.m.

I will be as brief as I can. I rise to speak in support of new clause 6 on the legal standing of article 50. I voted in the last Parliament to invoke article 50 because I believed it was the duty of the House to seek to deliver Brexit in the form in which it was sold to the British people, but it was conditional on it being in that form. I said that if it turned out to be materially different at the end of the process, the people would be entitled to keep an open mind on what should then happen. By that I meant they were entitled to halt the process and revoke the article 50 notification given by the Prime Minister to the President of the European Council, if that was what the people decided to do.

The core purpose of new clause 6 is to clear up this matter. On the issue of revocability—halting the process or extending article 50—Ministers have sought deliberately to pull the wool over the eyes not just of this House but of the people. They have given the misleading impression that legally we are not free to keep an open mind and that we cannot revoke article 50 if we so wish. For example, on 9 October 2017, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw) asked the Prime Minister if it was possible to halt the article 50 process, she implied that it was not and said:

“The position was made clear in a case that went through the Supreme Court in relation to article 50.”—[Official Report, 9 October 2017; Vol. 629, c. 51.]

But it was not. The case she was referring to was brought by Gina Miller to stop this Government seeking to take back control for Ministers instead of for Parliament, as was intended.

The Prime Minster was pressed again on the same day by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton South East (Mr McFadden) and my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham East (Mr Leslie) and each time gave a similar response. This gave a completely false impression of the reality, because what she said was not factually correct. The Supreme Court did not and has not opined on this issue in the Miller or any other case before it, though the author of article 50, the noble Lord Kerr, has made it clear that it may be revoked.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. A lot of people still want to speak, and there is very little time for them to do so. A three-minute time limit should be quite sufficient.

Karin Smyth Portrait Karin Smyth (Bristol South) (Lab) - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:57 p.m.

I rise to speak as the vice-chair of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly and the all-party parliamentary group on Ireland and the Irish in Britain. Despite the border being one of the principal issues in the phase 1 agreement, there has been very little debate or understanding in this House about the context of the border issue with Ireland, and that is a huge problem. Phase 1 is hugely welcome. Our Prime Minister has signed up to it on behalf of the United Kingdom, and there is to be no ambiguity or rowing back from it.

On day five of these debates, the hon. Member for North Down (Lady Hermon) said that she remembered exactly where she was when the Good Friday-Belfast agreement was announced. That is true for many of us. I am one of the millions of British children of Irish immigrants who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s. It was difficult. The violence and murder on the streets of Northern Ireland and Britain hung over our communities and fuelled anti-Irish sentiment here. That changed in the 1990s.

The Good Friday agreement is an exemplar across the world of dealing with long-standing conflict. The UK and Ireland are its guarantors, and our joint membership of the EU, our shared regulations and our customs union are the foundation on which it is based. The Good Friday-Belfast agreement was not just about Northern Ireland and it was not just about politics. It was about the relationship between all the people on these islands. We have more in common: until 100 years ago, we were one country. My grandparents were born in Mayo and Cavan under the auspices of this Parliament, just like me when I was born in London. Our legal and political systems are akin, which is why the Republic of Ireland is our greatest ally in the EU. For years, hundreds of weekly meetings have taken place between our officials and our politicians as part of the EU. These will cease, and the Good Friday agreement now needs to come into its own and deepen the north-south and east-west strands. The debate about the border is not about wandering cows and cameras. The absence of a border is about recognising our commonality and our mutual interest.

On the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, we are concerned that there is no longer the necessary knowledge and experience in this Chamber of the British-Irish relationship, and we have been considering how to support hon. Members to develop that understanding and to undertake greater cross-party and jurisdictional work. I hope that the House of Lords will have more debates on this issue than we have done.

In my early days as a Member, Mr Speaker, we had the privilege of hearing the noble Lord Bew speak in your rooms about Charles Stewart Parnell and the great arguments that raged in this place throughout the 19th century. We could perhaps arrange for more speakers from all communities, and we could encourage the Select Committees and the all-party parliamentary groups to share understanding across these islands and to develop those deep relationships. Most importantly, we need to build on what we have and not go back. Voices on both sides of the House are crucial to that.

Geraint Davies Portrait Geraint Davies - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4 p.m.

This Bill is essentially about cutting and pasting the laws, protections and rights of the EU into British law, and the fundamental problems are that clause 9 gives sweeping powers to Ministers to strike out those laws, protections and rights and, quite simply, that we do not have the institutions to enforce those rights. In essence, new clauses 10 and 14 would ensure institutions are in place to enforce those individual, consumer, environmental and workers’ rights and protections.

The European Food Safety Authority, which responded to the horsemeat scandal, or similar agencies should be in place to prevent genetically modified, hormone-impregnated or antibiotic-impregnated meat, and so on, from coming from America. The European Chemicals Agency is charged with protecting us through REACH—the regulation, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals regulation—which prevents, for example, asbestos from being sold here when they can be sold in America. The European Environment Agency underpins our air quality and is taking the British Government to court. It has delivered blue flag beaches instead of low-tar beaches, and it is involved in ensuring biodiversity, etc. Euratom regulates nuclear power and research across Europe, including Britain. The European Medicines Agency ensures Britain can develop and sell drugs across Europe.

It is critical that institutions are in place to continue those processes, yet the White Paper said, for example, that protected habitats will continue without enforcement agencies after Brexit. In other words, we do not know there will be a guarantee that institutions will be in place to enforce the rights and protections we currently enjoy, which is why new clauses 10 and 14 are important.

We also know that Britain does not have the ready capacity to enforce rights and protections in the way those big institutions do. Enforcement would basically mean fining ourselves for not fulfilling air quality standards, which is meaningless.

New clause 14 essentially says that those rights and protections should also be instilled in new trade agreements, which the Government are hurtling ahead in agreeing in secret. Such rights and protections should therefore be frontloaded, so that people can be secure in the knowledge that Ministers will not sign off agreements that are perhaps in breach of domestic law and that will then be imposed by arbitration courts, whether through investor-state dispute settlements or through the investment court system.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:02 p.m.

Order. My gratitude to the hon. Gentleman is almost infinite, but I think he is concluding his peroration.

Geraint Davies Portrait Geraint Davies - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:02 p.m.

I am. I urge people to support new clause 14.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:05 p.m.

Order. The Minister must be called no later than 10 past 4. Colleagues can work things out for themselves. I am not sure they will all get in.

Matt Western Portrait Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:06 p.m.

I wish to speak to new clause 17. We have learned several things in recent weeks. First, that the red lines set by the Prime Minister will handicap us in our negotiations; secondly, that those same red lines have removed important options from the table; and, thirdly, that the Government have not felt it necessary to do comprehensive qualitative and quantitative assessments on the implications of leaving. That is extraordinary. No large business, certainly no multinational business, would leave a market and abandon its investment in that market without fully evaluating the commercial and reputational consequences, but for this Government that lack of process is somehow acceptable. What new clause 17 offers, correctly, is a framework to properly evaluate the deal and arrangements proposed by the Government, so ensuring both transparency and a full public understanding, by area, of the consequences of leaving. That is why I support new clause 17.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Well done.

Ruth Cadbury Portrait Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:07 p.m.

I would rather be speaking on whether or not we should be leaving the EU. The more I hear, the more I fear the UK is heading over a cliff and on to rocks far below. Like everyone here, however, I am speaking on the specifics of how the UK withdraws from the EU, if withdrawal is to go ahead. I support new clauses 12 and 21, and others that seek to preserve our environmental protections and legislation. I particularly support new clause 12, which stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mary Creagh) and would require the Government to report on the “loss of environmental protection” as a result of leaving the EU and to introduce a new environmental protection Bill.

The Government have kept trying to reassure Parliament and the British people that Brexit will mean that EU law will be seamlessly merged in UK law and that we do not need to worry. Not only do I not believe that to be true, but I am concerned about the Government’s lack of urgency on taking sufficient legislative action before March 2019. We are still awaiting the long-promised policy statement on environmental principles which will underpin future environmental policy making. There will then be wide consultation, but even that will not be on the actual policies; it will just

“explore the scope and content of a new statement on environmental principles.”

That suggests there is a lot of law up for grabs and no sense of urgency.

On air quality, which matters greatly to my constituents, the Government are dragging their feet. The London Mayor, Hounslow Council and many other councils are using their limited powers to improve air quality, but there is only so much they can do. The Mayor has made it very clear that the UK will not bring pollution levels into line with existing EU air quality laws without serious and urgent action by the Government. But instead of this, the Government are using taxpayers’ money to defend themselves against yet another legal challenge by ClientEarth over illegal levels of air pollution in the UK and they have launched an environment plan that is weak to say the least. Given this lack of proven commitment to bringing the UK into compliance with even one aspect of existing EU environment standards, I have little faith that Brexit will mean anything other than an undermining of many protections and improvements that the EU has brought us to date. That is why I urge this House to support many of these amendments, particularly new clauses 12 and 21, and any others that protect our environmental rights and protections, which I, my constituents and many of us hold so dear.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:09 p.m.

To speak very briefly, for 20 seconds, I call Chris Stephens.

Chris Stephens Portrait Chris Stephens - Hansard

I hope the Government will consider workplace protections in the Bill, because many of us do not trust the Government in that regard.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:10 p.m.

Very well done. I am immensely grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who was even briefer than I expected. The Minister has just under 20 minutes to reply.

Mr Steve Baker Portrait Mr Baker - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:21 p.m.

This has been a full and vibrant debate, with many excellent contributions and memorable moments, to which I shall try to refer at the end, if there proves to be time.

Two Members made particular requests. The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas), who is not in her place, asked about the timing and when we would take forward our policy. I will undertake to discuss that with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs later this week.

My hon. Friend the Member for St Ives (Derek Thomas) mentioned the shared prosperity fund. I assure him that we discussed it when I visited Cornwall and that the Government are well aware of the need in Cornwall and other areas. We will drive forward the design and implementation of that fund.

It might help the House to know that I intend to speak first to the Government amendments and, in a couple of cases, the related Opposition amendments. I will then ensure that I have dealt with the Belfast agreement, as it is so important, before working through some of the other amendments, if time allows.

Government amendment 33 builds on the exit-day amendments tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin), to whom we are grateful. This further amendment to schedule 7 makes the power to set exit day subject to the affirmative procedure, thereby fulfilling a commitment that I gave at the Dispatch Box during day eight in Committee. As the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State have made clear, we have always been committed to the proper parliamentary scrutiny of our exit from the EU. In line with our promise that Parliament will be given time to debate and scrutinise the legislation that implements the final agreement that we reach with the EU, it is appropriate that Parliament scrutinises any potential change to exit day. I hope the whole House will support the amendment.

Labour’s amendment 1 would allow the Government to amend the definition of “exit day” if it were not in accordance with any transitional arrangements agreed under article 50. I understand the intention behind the amendment, but I remind the House that, after the improvements to which I have referred, the Bill now provides for changes to the exit day, as set out in article 50, to ensure that the domestic situation reflects the international position. Furthermore, Government amendment 33 will ensure that Parliament has appropriate scrutiny of any change to the date of exit by making it subject to the affirmative procedure.

Amendment 10, which was tabled by the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), would require exit day to be specified in a separate Bill on the terms of withdrawal. It replicates an amendment that was debated in Committee in November, since when the Bill has benefited from the amendments I mentioned and, in particular, the changes suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset. Exit day will be set out in law as 11 pm on 29 March 2019, but we will have the technical ability to amend it if the UK, the EU and, indeed—to address the right hon. Lady’s points—the European Council, decide unanimously to change the date. The right hon. Lady referred particularly to the European Parliament, but I have the text of article 50 with me and it is clear that any change would require the

“European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned”

to unanimously decide to extend the period, so I do not accept her argument about the European Parliament having more say than this Parliament.

We have always been committed to the proper parliamentary scrutiny of our exit from the EU, which is why, in line with our promise that Parliament will be given time to debate and agree the legislation that implements the final agreement that we strike with the EU, it is appropriate for Parliament to scrutinise any changes to exit day through the affirmative procedure. In the unlikely event that the power to change exit day is used, it will simply be a technical change to ensure that our domestic legislation reflects the reality of international law. It is certainly not necessary, and would be disproportionate, to make such a change via primary legislation.

The House agreed in Committee to Government amendments regarding explanatory statements and to the Procedure Committee’s amendments to establish a sifting committee. We have tabled two technical amendments, Government amendments 35 and 36, to ensure that these amendments best function alongside each other. Government amendments 35 and 36 will ensure that the requirement for a Minister of the Crown to make an explanatory statement applies before a draft instrument is laid before the House for the purposes of sifting, as well as in other cases. They will also ensure that, where an explanatory statement has been made before the House of Commons for the purposes of sifting, there is no need to make a further statement after sifting when an equivalent instrument is laid again before both Houses of Parliament after being made or as a draft affirmative instrument. That will ensure that the committee has all the necessary information at its disposal and will avoid confusing double statements when nothing has changed.

Break in Debate

Mr Kenneth Clarke Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:19 p.m.

Well, would my hon. Friend give way? [Laughter.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:19 p.m.

The Minister is hearing voices!

Mr Clarke Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:19 p.m.

Voices of inspiration, I trust.

My hon. Friend mentioned the withdrawal Bill several times. Am I right—to be absolutely clear—that the withdrawal Bill will come forward and be considered, and probably approved, by this House before any withdrawal agreement is ratified, that we will not be presented with a Bill to implement an agreement that is already binding on the United Kingdom, but that actually the Government will not ratify any agreements until the House of Commons has first given its support and approval?

Break in Debate

Mr Steve Baker Portrait Mr Baker - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 4:28 p.m.

My first point is that that will be incorporated into our legislation. The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that we carry EU legislation into UK law. Secondly, we can only correct deficiencies that arise as a result of our withdrawal, and the hon. Gentleman will be familiar by now with the provisions of clause 7 and associated schedule 2.

To increase transparency, the Government amendments accepted by the House on 13 December will require a Minister to make a statement relating to equalities legislation and duties before laying every SI made under the principal powers in the Bill, as sought by the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate (Bambos Charalambous). It is not for this Bill to require similar statements in other EU exit legislation. Indeed, this Bill would not be able to affect most of this legislation, including the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill and the Nuclear Safeguards Bill, which will have been introduced to the House before this Bill’s Royal Assent. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Dominic Raab) promised in Committee, we will make equalities-related statements alongside other EU exit-related legislation, which I hope will satisfy the House.

Transparency will ensure that the House and the sifting committee established by the amendments tabled my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker) have all the information necessary to make informed and reasonable judgments in the scrutiny of the SIs that we will be making under the Bill. I hope that Labour Front Benchers will be persuaded not to press their amendments.

I turn briefly to new clause 11, which was tabled by the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake). His contribution and the presence of the hon. Member for Streatham (Chuka Umunna) in the Chamber reminded me of a rather fetching photograph of the hon. Member for Streatham posing with a remain campaign poster pointing out that the leave campaign had said that we would leave the single market. If any Member wishes to see that, I might tweet it later.

It would be remiss of me if I did not thank all those involved with the passage of the Bill: all right hon. and hon. Members who took time to participate; all the Clerks in the Public Bill Office who have provided invaluable support to Members of the House; and the world-class officials in DExEU and across Government who have ensured the Bill’s smooth passage.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:38 p.m.

I call Tom Brake to move new clause 11 formally.

Tom Brake Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 3:38 p.m.

And enthusiastically.

New Clause 11

Meaningful vote on deal or no deal

“(1) The Prime Minister must publish and lay before both Houses of Parliament an assessment of the impact on the economy of the United Kingdom, and on each nation, province or region of the United Kingdom, of any unratified agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.

(2) Any agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU may not be ratified unless—

(a) subsection (1) has been complied with,

(b) the House of Lords has considered a motion relating to the unratified agreement,

(c) the House of Commons has approved the unratified agreement by resolution,

(d) the statute mentioned in section 9 (approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union) has been passed, and

(e) any other legislative provision to enable ratification has been passed or made.

(3) If no agreement has been reached by 31 December 2018 between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union setting out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, the Prime Minister must publish and lay before both Houses of Parliament within one month an assessment of the impact on the economy of the United Kingdom, and on each nation, province or region of the United Kingdom, of leaving the EU under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union without an agreement.

(4) If no agreement has been reached by 31 January 2019 between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union setting out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU,

(a) a Minister of the Crown must propose a motion in the House of Lords relating to the lack of an agreement, and

(b) a Minister of the Crown must propose a motion in the House of Commons approving the intention of the United Kingdom to leave the EU under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union without a withdrawal agreement.

(5) Unless the House of Commons approves by resolution after 31 January 2019 the intention of the United Kingdom to leave the EU under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union without a withdrawal agreement, the Prime Minister must either —

(a) reach an agreement before exit day between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, or

(b) request the European Council for an extension of negotiation under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, or

(c) rescind the notice of intention under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union to withdraw from the EU given in accordance with the European Union (Notice of Withdrawal) Act 2017 and request the European Council to accept that rescission.”—(Tom Brake.)

This New Clause would ensure that the Government assesses the impact of either an agreement or no deal on the UK economy and regions before a meaningful vote, and that if Parliament does not agree to the agreement or to no deal, then the Government must request a revocation or extension of Article 50.

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 6:28 p.m.

I inform the House that I have selected the amendment in the name of the leader of the Scottish National party.

Mr David Davis Portrait The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Mr David Davis) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jan 2018, 6:28 p.m.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time. Taking a leaf out of the Liberal Democrat book, I do so enthusiastically.

The Bill is essential to preparing the country for the historic milestone of withdrawing from the European Union. It ensures that on day one we will have a statute book that works, with this Government delivering the smooth and orderly exit desired by people and businesses across the United Kingdom. It is a complex piece of legislation, which is unsurprising given that it seeks to put into British law the entire acquis of European law—established over 40 years or more of membership—and to do so in a few years while active negotiations are going on.

The House has spent more than 80 hours discussing the Bill’s principles and why they are necessary. We have scrutinised each clause and schedule in detail, and we have debated the merits of more than 500 amendments and new clauses. I thank the Members who took the time to table amendments, and I thank them for the spirit in which they have engaged with the debate throughout. I pay tribute to the Clerks and officials in the Public Bill Office who have provided invaluable support for Members in all parts of the House, advising on the drafting and tabling of those hundreds of amendments.

I pay special tribute to several colleagues for their individual contributions. I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin) and my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker) for tabling amendments that will undoubtedly enhance this legislation by providing greater certainty over the timing of exit day and how secondary legislation will be scrutinised. I also pay tribute to other Conservative colleagues for their contributions throughout the debate, notably my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Torridge and West Devon (Mr Cox), my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill), my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), my right hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich and North Essex (Mr Jenkin) and my right hon. Friends the Members for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller) and for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith). I am grateful to them all for their hard work—[Interruption.] I have not finished yet. I am grateful to them all for their hard work in effectively scrutinising this legislation and their tireless work in representing their constituents.

I also thank Opposition Members for their contributions. We heard impassioned and eloquent contributions from the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Frank Field), the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Kate Hoey), the hon. Member for Wakefield (Mary Creagh), the right hon. Members for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) and for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn), and the hon. Members for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) and for North Down (Lady Hermon) among many others, who all played—[Interruption.] I will take nominations, Mr Speaker, if you really want, but I think I just picked out the highlights; many others made fantastic contributions. In the interests of brevity and to allow others to speak, I would like the House to take as read the detailed thanks to the Front Benchers of both sides.

I said on Second Reading that I would

“welcome and encourage contributions from those who approach the task in good faith and in a spirit of collaboration.”—[Official Report, 7 September 2017; Vol. 628, c. 343.]

All of us, as elected representatives, have a shared interest in making this Bill a success in the national interest. The Government have said time and again that we would listen carefully to all suggestions put forward and that, where hon. Members made a compelling case, we would respectfully consider it and act accordingly.

I hope that Members agree that in this debate we have often heard the very best of what this House is here to do. We have tabled amendments to provide extra information about equalities impacts and the changes being made to retained EU law under the powers in the Bill. We published a right-by-right analysis of the charter of fundamental rights, setting out how each substantive right found in the charter will be reflected in UK domestic law. It looks at how the right flows through retained EU law and how it is otherwise protected by existing domestic law or international law after exit.

Break in Debate

Liz Saville Roberts Portrait Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (PC) - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your advice on how to inform the House of some breaking news coming out of the Welsh national Parliament. Assembly Members have unanimously supported the introduction of a Welsh continuity Bill to put a halt to the Westminster power grab. So great is the constitutional encroachment of the Westminster Government that this Bill to support Welsh democracy is supported by not only Plaid Cymru, but the Welsh Conservative party and the UK Independence party. This is of great constitutional significance, with implications for the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which has just received its Third Reading.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Whether it is a matter of great constitutional significance is not for me to say. It is, however, not a matter for the Chair. The hon. Lady inquires how she can achieve her objective, and the answer is that she has done so—it is on the record.