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 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:
- 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:
- The Committee took the view that the principle of parliamentary supremacy should not be declared in statute, and that using the words “It is only by virtue of an Act of Parliament that” in a statutory provision such as clause 18 is tantamount to stating that there shall be parliamentary supremacy. However, the very stating of that undermines the central premise, which is that it does not need to be stated, and the danger of stating it is that, ultimately, the Supreme Court will be allowed into this sacrosanct arena.
-  Amendment sheet containing the two Government amendments (A and B) to Lords amendment 14
-  Amendment sheet containing Lords amendment 14
-  David Lidington (Minister of State (Europe and NATO), House of Commons, 11 July 2011
-  Bill Cash MP, House of Commons, 11 July 2011
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 (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||231 (+2 tell)||14 (+1 tell)||0||81.0%|
|Lab||199||7 (+1 tell)||0||80.2%|