European Union (Withdrawal) Bill — Clause 14 — Interpretation — Power of Ministers to Set Exit Day — 12 Jun 2018 at 16:15

The majority of MPs voted against allowing a minister to alter the date for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.

MPs were considering the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill[1].

The motion supported by the majority of MPs in this vote was:

  • That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 37

Lords amendment 37[2] stated:

  • Page 10, line 40, leave out from “means” to end of line 41 and insert “such day as a Minister of the Crown may by regulations appoint (and see subsection (2))

The Lords amendment sought to amend the definition of "exit day" in Clause 14 of the Bill[3] which stated:

  • “exit day” means 29 March 2019 at 11.00 p.m. (and see subsections (2) to (5));

Subsections 2-5 stated:

  • (2) In this Act references to before, after or on exit day, or to beginning with exit day, are to be read as references to before, after or at 11.00 p.m. on 29 March 2019 or (as the case may be) to beginning with 11.00 p.m. on that day.
  • (3) Subsection (4) applies if the day or time on or at which the Treaties are to cease to apply to the United Kingdom in accordance with Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union is different from that specified in the definition of “exit day” in subsection (1).
  • (4) A Minister of the Crown may by regulations—
  • (a) amend the definition of “exit day” in subsection (1) to ensure that the day and time specified in the definition are the day and time that the Treaties are to cease to apply to the United Kingdom, and
  • (b) amend subsection (2) in consequence of any such amendment.
  • (5) In subsections (3) and (4) “the Treaties” means the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Explanatory notes to Lords amendment 37[4] stated:

  • Lords Amendments 37 and 39 would change the definition of exit day in the Bill. As introduced to the Lords, references to ‘exit day’ in the Bill refer to 11pm on 29th March 2019. The Lords Amendments would mean that references to ‘exit day’ instead refer to an as yet unappointed day that the Minister may by regulations appoint.
  • The Lords Amendments would also remove from the Bill the ability to amend the definition of exit day if the day or time on or at which the EU Treaties are to cease to apply to the UK is different from that specified in the Bill (in which case Ministers are currently permitted to change exit day to the new day or time).

Amendment 39[2], which was not the subject of this vote, stated:

  • Page 11, line 38, leave out subsections (2) to (5) and insert—
  • “(2) In this Act—
  • (a) where a Minister of the Crown appoints a time as well as a day as exit day (see paragraph 19 of Schedule 7), references to before, after or on that day, or to beginning with that day, are to be read as references to before, after or at that time on that day or (as the case may be) to beginning with that time on that day, and
  • (b) where a Minister of the Crown does not appoint a time as well as a day as exit day, the reference to exit day in section 1 is to be read as a reference to the beginning of that day.”

Amendment 37 alone removed the date for withdrawal from the European Union of 29 March 2019 from clause 14(1) of the Bill for withdrawal from the European Union but left it in clause 14(2). Strictly amendment 37 alone would have left the Bill in a situation where a minister could, by regulations, change "exit day", but references to "before, after or on exit day" or to "beginning on exit day" would continue to refer to the 29th of March 2019.

Had amendment 37 been passed Ministers would have been empowered to change "exit day" and therefore the date on which Clause 1[5] of the Bill which stated:

  • The European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on exit day.

would take effect. The European Communities Act 1972 enacted the treaties of the European Union in United Kingdom law, repeal would amount to withdrawal from the union.

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Debate in Parliament |

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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
Con311 (+2 tell) 1099.1%
DUP10 00100.0%
Green0 10100.0%
Independent0 20100.0%
Lab5 246 (+2 tell)097.3%
LDem0 120100.0%
PC0 40100.0%
SNP0 350100.0%
Total:326 301098.4%

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

NameConstituencyPartyVote
Kenneth ClarkeRushcliffeCon (front bench)no
Ronnie CampbellBlyth ValleyLabaye
Frank FieldBirkenheadLab (minister)aye
Kate HoeyVauxhallLab (minister)aye
John MannBassetlawLab (minister)aye
Graham StringerBlackley and BroughtonLab (minister)aye

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