European Union Bill committee stage: day two

27 April 2011

The European Union Bill continued it committee stage in the House of Lords on Tuesday 26 April. Proposals to amend clauses 3: Amendment of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union under simplified revision procedure and 4: Cases where treaty or Article 48(6) decision attracts a referendum.

All the amendments discussed were withdrawn. Clause 3 was agreed without a vote.

Committee stage day one

The European Union Bill begans its committee stage in the House of Lords on Tuesday 5 April. The House agreed to Clause 2 which concerns restrictions on Treaties and decisions relating to EU. This part of the Bill provides for a national referendum to be held before the Government can agree to any change to the EU Treaties that moves power or policy from the UK to the EU.

The House of Lords Constitution Committee published report on the European Union Bill (published 16 March) warns that adopting referendum provisions on such a large scale represents a radical step-change for the UK. This is inconsistent with the Government’s statement that referendums are most appropriately used to decide fundamental constitutional issues, the report says.

The Committee noted that the referendum provisions are unlikely to be used because the Government has said that it does not intend to use them during this parliament.

The House of Lords also agreed without voting to Clause 1, which concerns the definition of terms used in the Bill.

Committee stage continues on 26 April when further amendments will be discussed.

Further information

The European Union Bill aims to strengthen the UK procedures for agreeing to or ratifying certain EU decisions and Treaty changes.

The Bill also provides for the provides for the Parliamentary approval, for the purposes of section 5 of the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008, of the Transitional Protocol on MEPs agreed at an Inter-Governmental Conference held on 23rd June 2010. This means the 18 additional MEPs provided for in the current EU Treaty can take up their seats before the next European Parliament elections in 2014.

It also makes arrangements for the election of the extra UK MEP.

The European Union Bill completed its stages in the House of Commons on 10 March.

Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the Bill takes place during committee stage.

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