Great Repeal Bill – A Change Would Do You Good

The House of Commons has completed three days of its eight-day consideration of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in a Committee of the Whole House. This post considers the modifications made to date, and looks at the subjects to be discussed when consideration continues next week.

What amendments have been made so far?

In debate so far, MPs have considered Clauses 1 to 6 and Schedule 1. By way of a reminder, these clauses:

Repeal the ECA (clause 1). Maintain EU law as it applies in the UK at 'exit date' by: preserving 'EU-derived domestic legislation' (eg UK regulations made under the ECA) (clause 2); converting 'direct EU legislation' (eg EU Regulations) into domestic law (clause 3); and converting into domestic law other EU rights and obligations (eg Treaty rights) (clause 4) subject to the exceptions in Clause 5 (significantly, that the Charter of Fundamental Rights is not preserved, and EU law has no supremacy in respect of UK legislation passed on or after 'exit day') and Schedule 1;

Clarify what 'retained EU law' is, and how it is to be treated, after exit day. (Hyperlinks are to previous blog posts considering these matters.)

Around 65 proposed amendments and new clauses were tabled by MPs in respect of these clauses. Of those selected by the Chairman of Ways and Means for debate, a number were withdrawn after debate (ie not taken to a division). 13 were put to a vote. These were:

Amendment 79, proposed by Hywel Williams (Plaid Cymru), to make the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 on exit day conditional on the Prime Minister gaining consent from the devolved legislatures; New Clause 14, proposed by Chris Leslie (Labour), to require the SSExEU to lay a report before Parliament on how retained EU law is to be interpreted during any 'transitional period'; Amendment 137, proposed by Joanna Cherry (SNP), to require a court, when interpreting retained EU law, to 'pay due regard to any relevant decision of the European Court'; Amendment 278, proposed by Jeremy Corbyn (Labour), to stipulate that 'exit day' must not be before the end of any transitional period agreed under Article 50; New Clause 25, proposed by Kerry McCarthy (Labour), to restrict the circumstances in which Ministers could use the Bill's powers to modify retained EU law; New Clause 58, proposed by Jeremy Corbyn (Labour), to prevent Ministers from using regulations under Acts other than the Bill to modify retained EU law in the areas of employment, equality...

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