European Union Bill — Clause 18 — Status of EU law dependent on continuing statutory basis — 11 Jul 2011 at 20:15

The majority of MPs voted to include a declaration in the European Union Bill saying that EU law can have effect in the UK via any Act of the UK Parliament, rather than saying all EU laws which have effect in the UK do so by virtue of the European Communities Act 1972.

The vote was on a Government amendment[1] to an amendment (no. 14[2]), which members of the House of Lords had passed.

The text the Lords passed was:

  • Leave out Clause 18 and insert the following new Clause—
  • Status of EU law dependent on continuing statutory basis
  • By virtue of the European Communities Act 1972 directly applicable or directly effective EU law (that is, the rights, powers, liabilities, obligations, restrictions, remedies and procedures referred to in section 2(1) of the European Communities Act 1972) falls to be recognised and available in law in the United Kingdom.”

The commons passed an amendment (A) to the Lord's amendment saying:

  • leave out from beginning to ‘directly’.

This was was followed by a further amendment (B), the one which was the subject of this division, which stated:

  • at end insert ‘only by virtue of that Act or where it is required to be recognised and available in law by virtue of any other Act’.

During the debate preceding the vote the Minister for Europe explained the purpose of the Government's rejection of the position taken by the Lords saying[3]:

  • Noble Lords who voted in support of Lords amendment 14 took the view that the European Communities Act 1972 is the only route by which EU law takes effect in the United Kingdom, and that all the references to directly effective or applicable EU law in other Acts are linked to that Act. Lords amendment 14 therefore amends clause 18 to refer specifically to the European Communities Act 1972, rather than to the wider reference point of “an Act of Parliament”, in order to affirm that this is the sole route by which directly effective and directly applicable EU law takes effect in the UK

The Government amendment being voted on here was to use only the wider reference of "an Act of Parliament" in the declarative clause 18 which states how EU law takes effect in the UK.

Bill Cash MP, one of the most vocal opponents of the Government's proposed change in the debate leading up to the vote, and chairman of the commons' European Union scrutiny committee explained why he, and his scrutiny committee opposed it[4]:

Debate in Parliament | Source |

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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 (Aye)Minority (No)BothTurnout
Alliance1 00100.0%
Con231 (+2 tell) 14 (+1 tell)081.0%
DUP0 1012.5%
Lab199 7 (+1 tell)080.2%
LDem46 0080.7%
PC3 00100.0%
SNP5 0083.3%
Total:485 22080.0%

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

Peter BoneWellingboroughCon (front bench)no
Bill CashStoneCon (front bench)tellno
Christopher ChopeChristchurchCon (front bench)no
James ClappisonHertsmereCon (front bench)no
Philip DaviesShipleyCon (front bench)no
David DavisHaltemprice and HowdenConno
Philip HolloboneKetteringCon (front bench)no
Bernard JenkinHarwich and North EssexCon (front bench)no
Anne MainSt AlbansCon (front bench)no
David NuttallBury NorthCon (front bench)no
Andrew PercyBrigg and GooleCon (front bench)no
Mark RecklessRochester and StroodCon (front bench)no
Andrew TurnerIsle of WightCon (front bench)no
Charles WalkerBroxbourneCon (front bench)no
John WhittingdaleMaldonCon (front bench)no
Ronnie CampbellBlyth ValleyLabno
John CryerLeyton and WansteadLab (minister)no
Frank FieldBirkenheadLab (minister)no
Kate HoeyVauxhallLab (minister)no
Kelvin HopkinsLuton NorthLab (minister)tellno
John Martin McDonnellHayes and HarlingtonLabno
Dennis SkinnerBolsoverLabno
Graham StringerBlackley and BroughtonLab (minister)no

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