Committee stage of European Union Bill, day five

02 February 2011

The House of Commons held its fifth and final day of the committee stage of the European Union Bill on Tuesday 1 February.

European Union Bill

Day Five: Tuesday 1 February

MPs considered Clauses 15-17 in Part 2 of the Bill, Clauses 19-22 in Part 3 of the Bill and Schedule 2.

Clauses 15-17 increase the number of MEPs elected to the European Parliament in the UK from 72 to 73. Schedule 2 provides for how the additional MEP is to be elected.

Clauses 19-22 provide provisions for the territorial extent of the Bill, the Bill extends to the whole of the UK, and commencement (when the Bill will come into force).

Clauses 15-17, 19-22 and Schedule 2 were all agreed without amendment. The Bill will be considered further at Report stage and Third reading, date to be confirmed. Watch and read the views expressed by MPs who took part in the debate.

Day Four: Wednesday 26 January

MPs considered Clauses 7-10 and Clause 14 contained in Part 1 of the Bill.

Clauses 7-10 provide that an Act of Parliament would be required before the UK could agree to a number of other specified decisions provided for in the Treaty of the European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, either in the European Council or in the Council of the European Union; and that certain other decisions would require a motion to be agreed without amendment in both Houses of Parliament before the UK could vote in favour of them in either the European Council or the Council of the European Union.

Clauses 7-10 were agreed without amendment and Clause 14 was agreed with an amendment. Watch and read the views expressed by MPs who took part in the debate.

Day Three: Tuesday 25 January

MPs considered Clause 6 and Clauses 11-13 contained in Part 1 of the Bill and Schedule 1.

Clause 6 provides that in the future, an Act of Parliament and a referendum would be held before the UK could agree to certain decisions already provided for by the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union if these would transfer power or competence from the UK to the EU. Clause 6 was agreed with amendments.

Clauses 11-13 make provision for the persons who would be entitled to vote in a referendum held as a result of this Bill and the role of the Electoral Commission. Clauses 11-13 were agreed without amendment.

Schedule 1 relates to Treaty provisions (found in Clauses 4-6) where amendment removing need for unanimity, consensus or common accord (through a proposed move to simple or qualified majority voting) when making decisions in the Council or European Council on measures resulting from that Treaty provision would attract a referendum. The Schedule was agreed with an amendment.

Watch and read the views expressed by MPs who took part in the debate.

Day two: Monday 24 January

MPs considered Clauses 1-5 contained in Part 1 of the Bill. 

Clauses 2-5 provide that in the future a referendum would be held before the UK could agree to an amendment of the Treaty on the European Union or of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Clauses 1-4 were examined in detail and were agreed without amendment. Clause 5 was agreed with an amendment. Watch and read the views expressed by MPs who took part in the debate.

Day one: Tuesday 11 January

MPs considered Clause 18 which is in Part 3 of the Bill.

Clause 18, relating to parliamentary sovereignty, was agreed without amendment. Watch and read the views expressed by MPs who took part in the debate.

Background to the Bill

The Bill aims to strengthen the UK procedures for agreeing to or ratifying certain EU decisions and Treaty changes.  It also provides for a sovereignty clause in the European Communities Act 1972 confirming that ultimate legal authority remains with the UK Parliament rather than the EU.

The European Scrutiny Committee have published a report on the European Union Bill.

Find a summary of the main points of the Bill and keep up to date with all the proceedings on the European Union Bill.  Also find out how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library regularly produce briefing notes which inform MPs about key issues. The Library has produced a Research Paper on the European Union Bill.

Committee of the whole House

When a Bill passes its second reading and is considered in detail, this usually takes place in a Public Bill Committee held outside the Chamber and made up of between 16 and 20 MPs.

Occasionally a Bill will be considered by a Committee of the whole House and this discussion takes place in the Commons Chamber itself, where all MPs can take part.

Any Bill can be referred to a Committee of the whole House, but the procedure is normally reserved for finance bills and other important or controversial legislation.

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