Lords debates European Union Bill

23 May 2012

Lords debates the second reading of the European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill today (Wednesday 23 May)

The bill started in the Lords on 10 May and members now have the opportunity to debate the key principles and purpose of the bill.

Commenting on the bill Lord Howell of Guildford (Conservative), Minister of State at the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, said: 'A stable and healthy Eurozone is important for the UK’s long-term growth and prosperity. This treaty change is firmly in the UK’s national interest, since it makes explicit the ability of Eurozone countries to set up a permanent European Stability Mechanism to support other Eurozone countries in financial trouble. This will be a fund by the Eurozone, for the Eurozone, and, unlike the situation this government inherited, the UK will not be liable through the EU budget for any future Eurozone bailouts. This treaty change will help Eurozone countries take forward a key aspect of their plan to resolve the crisis and secure financial stability.'

Speakers include Lord Hannay of Chiswick (Crossbench) a member of the EU select committee and Lord Lamont of Lerwick (Conservative) a former Chancellor of the Exchequer.  

European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill summary

The nill makes provision for the purposes of section 3 of the European Union Act 2011 in relation to the European Council decision of 25 March 2011, amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for member states whose currency is the euro.

What is second reading?

Second reading is the first opportunity for members of the Lords to debate the main principles and purpose of the bill and to flag up concerns and areas where they think changes (amendments) are needed.

A bill’s second reading usually takes place no less than two weekends after first reading.

What happens at second reading?

The government minister, spokesperson or member of the Lords responsible for the bill opens the debate.

Any member can speak in the debate so this stage can indicate those members particularly interested in the bill - or a particular aspect of it - and those who are most likely to be involved in amending the bill at later stages.

Second reading debates usually last for a few hours but sometimes stretch over a couple of days.

What happens after second reading?

After second reading the bill goes to committee stage - where detailed line by line examination of the bill and discussion of amendments takes place.

Further information

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