Week upon week the House of Lords has amended the government's EU Withdrawal Bill. Here are all the amendments made to the Tories' hard Brexit plans.
Fourteen. That is the total of times the House of Lords has amended Theresa May’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.
This Tuesday, the upper chamber handed another blow to the government’s Brexit plans, by deciding to retain the UK’s European Economic Area (EEA) membership and so keep one foot inside the single market.
And according to the Fix The Bill campaign, by the time the bill returns to the House of Commons, it will look “very different to when it first entered the House of Lords.”
Here are the 14 times peers have amended the document:
- Keep the option of a customs union with Europe open
On April 18th the Government suffered not one but two defeats in the House of Lords. The first was a vote on whether to keep an “arrangement which enables the United Kingdom to continue participating in a customs union with the European Union.” Peers voted in favour of this amendment 348 votes to 225. Brexit minister Lord Callahan was not best pleased with this result, arguing later that the Government would overturn the measure in due time.
- Keep a series of EU laws in place
The second discussion of the day was on whether to keep European law concerning employment rights, health and safety, consumer and environmental standards, and equality protections. The Labour amendment was won 314 to 217 votes.
- Keep the EU Charter of Fundamental Human Rights
The following week, on April 23rd, there was an even bigger massacre in the Lords, with not one, not two, but three amendments to the Bill passed. The most famous of them all being the retention of the human rights charter used inside the Bloc. Peers voted 316 to 245 on it.
- Remove ministers’ prerogative to set up regulations for retained EU law challenges
A more obscure paragraph of the Bill was also amended on Monday, April 23rd. By a majority of 50, peers agreed to remove a paragraph that gave ministers the power to specify when individuals could or could not bring challenges to retained EU law.
- Keep right to act in British law if Government doesn’t comply with EU law
The third blow was delivered by a Lib Dem amendment proposing retaining the right of action domestic law if in the event of any “public authority’s failure to comply with general principles of EU law.“
- Curb minister’s delegate powers
Two days later, on April 25th, the Lords were at it again. Changing Clauses 7 and 17 of the Bill. Where delegate powers were originally to be used “as the minister considers appropriate”, now it only applies to when deemed “necessary.”
- Keep Parliament scrutiny of Brexit terms
A big defeat for May, Johnson and Co. came on April 30th, when a majority of 91 peers decided to allow Parliament to have a “meaningful vote” on the final deal with Brussels through was was known as Amendment 49. A majority of 58 members of the upper chamber did, however, believe a second referendum would not be necessary.
- Give Parliament powers to approve negotiation mandate
Following from Amendment 49, peers voted 270 to 233 on an amendment that forces PM May to request approval from Parliament for negotiations about the future of Britain’s relationships with the EU.
- Keep refugee family unit protection laws
Also last week, the Lords agreed to keep Dublin Regulations, guaranteeing that refugees and asylum seekers in Britain are allowed to be joined by family members.
- Keep the Good Friday Agreement
A sigh of relief for many across Britain and Ireland, when the House of Lords voted in favour of enshrining support for the Good Friday Agreement in the EU Withdrawal Bill. The Agreement guarantees continued collaboration between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, as well as the prevention of a new border arrangement.
- Keep possible participation in EU agencies and copying EU law
Another humiliation for the Government as the House voted by a majority of 71 to ban all future intentions to prevent the UK from replicating EU law or continue to take part in EU agencies after Brexit.
- Remove Brexit date
Simple and devastating for a already fragile May, who was left without a specific exit date on her Bill.
- Keep EEA membership
One of the last few coups de grace on the Government, delivered during the last day of Report Stage on Tuesday, as the Lords decided to keep Britain’s membership of the European Economic Area (and subsequently the single market).
- Strengthen scrutiny procedures of statutory instruments
This one is best kept for the connoisseurs of Westminster procedural rules, but essentially it gives the Lords powers of scrutiny over secondary legislation pertaining to Brexit. It could also provide a precedent for procedural change across the board and not just under the Withdrawal Bill.
- Protecting environmental enforcement
Peers successfully argued environmental enforcement measures proposed by the government were inadequate – and that the environment was being subordinated to housing and economic growth
- Keep the option of a customs union with Europe open
With so many changes to Theresa May’s paper, no wonder the Daily Mail was foaming at the mouth this morning.
And it won’t be long until we see what the Commons has to say about the heavily edited document, with the amendments being voted on in a single sitting on June 12th…
Joana Ramiro is a reporter for Left Foot Forward. You can follow her on Twitter for all sorts of rants here.
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