Lords debates European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

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22 February 2017

The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill started its journey through the House of Lords on Wednesday 8 February, with the first reading – a formal process by which the title of the bill is read out in the chamber.

Second reading, the opportunity for members to debate the key purpose and principles of the bill, took place on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 February. 184 members of the Lords took part at second reading, making this the largest second reading debate on record. The number of speakers meant second reading took place over two days, the 28th time since 1945 this has happened in the House of Lords.

Tuesday 21 February

Members taking part included:

  • Lord Lamont of Lerwick (Conservative), former chancellor of the exchequer
  • Lord Tugendhat (Conservative), former vice-president of the European Commission
  • Lord Kerr of Kinlochard (Crossbench), former ambassador to the EU, former head of the UK Diplomatic Service and author of Article 50
  • Lord Pannick (Crossbench), QC, barrister in Article 50 case at the UK Supreme Court
  • Lord Giddens (Labour), member of the Council for the Future of Europe
  • Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town (Labour), shadow Lords spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the European Union
  • Baroness Kramer (Liberal Democrat), former vice president of Citibank and Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Treasury and economy

Members of the Lords discussed future UK trade options, police and security cooperation with EU member states, Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement and parliamentary scrutiny of the negotiation process.

Lord Bridges of Headley (Conservative), parliamentary under-secretary for the Department for Exiting the European Union, responded on behalf of the government.

Monday 20 February

The debate was introduced by Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Conservative), Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal.

Members of the Lords discussed the outcome of the EU referendum and the subsequent process of leaving the EU, the government white paper on Brexit, the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK, UK membership of Euratom and possible amendments to the Bill.

Committee stage, the first chance to amend and the bill and make changes, is scheduled to begin on Monday 27 February.

Committee stage day one: Monday 27 February

Line by line scrutiny of the bill and the first amending stage in the House of Lords. Starting from the front of the bill, members work through to the end. There is no time limit, and any member of the Lords can take part.

Committee stage day two: Wednesday 1 March

Line by line scrutiny of the bill and the first amending stage in the House of Lords. Starting from the front of the bill, members work through to the end. There is no time limit, and any member of the Lords can take part.

Report stage and third reading: Tuesday 7 March

Report stage is a further chance to examine the bill and make changes.

Third reading is a chance to 'tidy up' the bill. Normally third reading is at least three sitting days after report stage. It is unusual in the House of Lords for these separate stages to be taken on the same day.

European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill summary

This bill will confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.

All parliamentary business is subject to change.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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