European Union Bill — Clause 5 — Statement to be laid before Parliament — 24 Jan 2011 at 22:14
The majority of MPs decided that a Minister, rather than Parliament, can decide if a European Union decision involved a transfer of power or competence to the EU and so is significant enough to require both a referendum and an Act of Parliament.
Clause 5 of the European Union Bill sets out how a Minister of the Crown must "lay a statement before Parliament" if a treaty amending the Treaty on European Union or the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union is agreed in an inter-governmental conference.
The rejected amendment had proposed adding the following addition to the end of Clause 5:
- (6) If the Minister's opinion is that the effect of that provision in relation to the United Kingdom is not significant the Minister must seek Parliamentary approval for his opinion.
- (7) Parliamentary approval is given if-
- (a) in each House of Parliament a Minister of the Crown moves a motion that the House approves of the Minister's opinion; and
- (b) each House agrees to the motion without amendment.
- (8) If the Minister fails to obtain Parliamentary approval for his opinion the significance condition is not met.'
This vote was in relation amendments to the Treaty of the European Union under made the "Simplified Revision Procedure" which allows the European Council to amend provisions on EU policies and internal actions as set out in Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
The rejected amendment sought to lay down a procedure that would have required parliamentary approval of the Minister's opinion if he thought a provision proposed under 48(6) was ‘not significant.’ The importance of this is that significant decisions which transfer competence or power from the UK to the EU in every case, require approval by Act of Parliament and a referendum.
Without the amendment, the bill as proposed requires a Minister to make the decision and give his reasons. The bill's explanatory notes describe the safeguard provided:
- As with all Ministerial decisions, it would be possible for a member of the public to challenge the decisions of the Minister.
-  European Union Bill - Clause 5 - 11.11.2010
-  Explanatory notes to the European Union Bill
-  TEU including Article 48(6)
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||258 (+1 tell)||16 (+2 tell)||0||90.5%|
|LDem||50 (+1 tell)||0||0||89.5%|
|John Baron||Basildon and Billericay||Con||aye|
|Bob Blackman||Harrow East||Con||aye|
|Richard Drax||South Dorset||Con||aye|
|Zac Goldsmith||Richmond Park||Con||aye|
|Bernard Jenkin||Harwich and North Essex||Con||aye|
|Anne Main||St Albans||Con||aye|
|David Nuttall||Bury North||Con||aye|
|Mark Reckless||Rochester and Strood||Con||aye|
|Andrew Turner||Isle of Wight||Con||aye|