Lisbon Treaty — Parliamentary control of decisions made at the European Union level — rejected — 4 Mar 2008 at 20:15

The majority No voters rejected an amendment[1] to the European Union (Amendment) Bill.

In the European Union (EU) decisions about certain policy areas can only be made where there is unanimity (e.g. foreign policy, family law etc). In other policy areas decisions can be made through qualified majority voting (QMV). This means the EU could make a decision about some UK policy areas even if the UK objected. There is a mechanism within the EU wereby policy areas can move from being decided by unanimity to being decided by QMV (known as passerelle clauses).

The amendment voted on here would have obliged the government to vote against any measures that proposed moving policy areas from unanimity to QMV. In the Bill it says the government must not vote in favour of measures that moved policy areas from unanimity to QMV[2]. However, the amendment was defeated.

David Heathcoat-Amory MP wanted this change in wording because he felt that as things stood the government:[3]

  • 'could abstain, and if they were to do so, the matter could be adopted, because matters can be approved by unanimity, even if some member states abstain. That is a loophole, and amendment No. 47 would require the Government actively to vote against any such proposal, rather than not voting in favour of it.'

However, Jim Murphy MP argued that the amendment was unnecessary:[4]

  • 'The words 'may not vote in favour' relate to when the European Council votes on an issue, based on unanimity. The words "otherwise support" relate to when the Council seeks to come to a decision by consensus. That relates to not being able to abstain when there is an attempt to reach a decision based on consensus. If the European Council sought to come to a decision based on consensus, the provision in clause 6 would mean that we would have to vote to break that consensus by not abstaining. That is the important protection contained in clause 6(1).'

The European Union (Amendment) Bill implements the Lisbon Treaty into UK law. The main aims of the Lisbon Treaty were to[5]:


Debate in Parliament | Source |

Party Summary

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.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con1 182 (+2 tell)095.9%
DUP0 2022.2%
Independent1 3080.0%
Lab302 (+2 tell) 4087.5%
LDem0 48076.2%
PC0 30100.0%
SDLP1 0033.3%
SNP0 3050.0%
Total:305 245087.4%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

Kenneth ClarkeRushcliffeCon (front bench)no
Jeremy CorbynIslington NorthLabaye
David DrewStroudLab (minister)aye
Kate HoeyVauxhallLab (minister)aye
Alan SimpsonNottingham SouthLabaye

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