“There is a proper role for referendums in constitutional change, but only if done properly. If it is not done properly, it can be a dangerous tool”
David Davis, Hansard 2002
That vote on Amendment 7
Returning briefly to Brexit since our last foray in August, Wednesday’s vote is notable in that it is the Government’s first defeat on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. The impact of the amendment is that clause 9(1) now reads [amendment italicized]:
“A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make such provision as the Minister considers appropriate for the purposes of implementing the withdrawal agreement if the Minister considers that such provision should be in force on or before exit day, subject to the prior enactment of a statute by Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
As constitutional lawyer Professor Mark Elliott notes:
“All that Parliament will be able to do is to (a) grant or withhold its assent to a withdrawal agreement and (b) if it assents, shape the legal machinery whereby the agreement will be given domestic effect. What Parliament will not be able to do is to amend the withdrawal agreement itself. The agreement will have been negotiated by the EU and the UK Government. Parliament will be presented with it on a take-it-or-leave-it basis”.
or as Laura Kuenssberg tweeted:
“But it’s one vote on one bill, Parliament was always going to be choppy for govt with no majority – Remainers hoping to soften Brexit shouldn’t bank on this suddenly changes everything”
The Commons Committee stage continues and the Bill will again be debated on 20 December.
Liberal Conservatives on human rights
Bright Blue, “an independent think tank and pressure group for liberal conservatism”, has published Individual Identity: understanding how conservatives think about human rights and discrimination. Continue reading