European Union Bill — New Sunset Clause — rejected — 11 Jul 2011 at 20:23

The majority of MPs voted against requiring each new Parliament to reaffirm the key provisions within the European Union Bill.

The motion which passed read:

  • That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 15.

Lords amendment 15[2] had been:

  • Insert the following new Clause—
  • “Duration of Part 1 and Schedule 1
  • (1) Part 1 and Schedule 1 shall expire on the day on which the Parliament in which this Act is passed dissolves.
  • (2) In subsequent Parliaments, the Secretary of State may by order provide that Part 1 and Schedule 1 shall be deemed to have been revived from the beginning of the Parliament in which the order is made.
  • (3) An order under subsection (2) shall provide that Part 1 and Schedule 1 shall expire on the day on which the Parliament in which the order is made dissolves.
  • (4) An order under subsection (2)—
  • (a) must be made by statutory instrument, and
  • (b) may not be made unless a draft has been laid before and approved: by a resolution of each House of Parliament.”

There was no debate preceding this vote. The commons' reason given in the amendment sheet[3] for rejecting the proposed new clause was:

  • Because Because Part 1 and Schedule 1 are not provisions to which it is appropriate to apply a sunset provision.

Part one of the Bill is titled: "Restrictions on treaties and decisions relating to EU" and Schedule one is titled: "Treaty provisions where amendment removing need for unanimity, consensus or common accord would attract referendum".

During the debate in the Lords when this new clause was proposed[4] Lord Kerr of Kinlochard said he felt a sunset clause was needed as the current coalition has promised no treaty changes, no transfers of power and no extensions of qualified majority voting, hence the bill will only affect future Parliaments. He didn't think this Parliament should be affecting future Parliaments in this way so supported the sunset clause. He also objected on the grounds that any referendum prompted by the bill would effectively be on the question: "Do you wish to overrule your Government and your Parliament?".

Arguing for the sunset clause Lord Kerr stated :

  • "I believe it entirely right that each successive Parliament should be asked whether it wished its sovereignty to be undercut in the way provided for in this Bill,"

However the European Union Bill can be seen as comprising safeguards in relation UK Parliamentary Sovereignty. The Explanitory notes for the bill[5] explain it is designed to enact the elements of the coalition's "programme for government" which stated:

  • "We will ensure that there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers [from the UK to the EU] over the course of the next Parliament… Any proposed future treaty that transferred areas of power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum on that treaty – a ‘referendum lock’... The use of any passerelle would require primary legislation."


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
Alliance0 10100.0%
Con255 (+1 tell) 0083.7%
DUP1 1025.0%
Lab1 202 (+2 tell)079.5%
LDem44 (+1 tell) 0078.9%
PC0 30100.0%
SNP0 5083.3%
Total:301 212080.9%

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

Kelvin HopkinsLuton NorthLab (minister)aye

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