Commons considered Lords amendmends to European Union Bill

12 July 2011

The House of Commons considered amendments made by the House of Lords to the European Union Bill on Monday 11 July

European Union Bill

The Bill aims to strengthen the UK procedures for agreeing to or ratifying certain EU decisions and Treaty changes. The Bill has been drafted in the context of new EU methods of approving Treaty changes and calls for more public and/or parliamentary involvement in such decisions.

Watch and read the MPs debate Lords Amendments to the European Union Bill on Parliament TV and in Commons Hansard.

Lords Amendments

When a Bill has passed through third reading in both Houses it is returned to the first House (where it started) for the second House's amendments (proposals for change) to be considered.

Both Houses must agree on the exact wording of the Bill.

There is no set time period between the third reading of a Bill and consideration of any Commons or Lords amendments.

'Ping Pong'

If the Commons makes amendments to the Bill, the Lords must consider them and either agree or disagree to the amendments or make alternative proposals.

If the Lords disagrees with any Commons amendments, or makes alternative proposals, then the Bill is sent back to the Commons.

A Bill may go back and forth between each House (‘Ping Pong’) until both Houses reach agreement.

What happens after consideration of amendments?

Once the Commons and Lords agree on the final version of the Bill, it can receive Royal Assent and become an Act of Parliament (the proposals of the Bill now become law).

Lords Amendments to European Union Bill

Lords Amendments to the European Union Bill and explanatory notes have been published.

Lords Amendments 1-15 were considered by MPs. Amendments 1, 2 and 4 were proposed by the Government and Amendments 3, 5-15 were opposed by the Government.

Amendments 1, 2 and 4 were agreed to.

Amendment 3 was disagreed to.

Amendment 5-13 were disagreed to.

Amendment 14 was amended on a division (Ayes 485; Noes 22 

Amendment 15 was disagreed to on a division (Ayes 301; Noes 212).

Committee of Reason

The Commons appointed a Committee of Reason to draw up reasons to be assigned to the Lords as to why the Commons disagreed to their Amendments 3, 5-13 and 15.

Commons disagree to Lords Amendments 3 and 5 because the outcome of the referendum should be determined by those who vote in it and should not depend on how many do not vote.

Commons disagree to Lords Amendments 6-13 because the decisions concerned would involve an increase in the competences or powers of the European Union in relation to the United Kingdom and should therefore require approval by referendum as well as by Act.

Commons disagreed to Lords Amendment 15 because Part 1 and Schedule 1 are not provisions to which it is appropriate to apply a sunset provision ('Sunset clauses' are included in legislation when it is felt that Parliament should have the chance to decide on its merits again after a fixed period).

The House of Lords will consider Commons Amendments and Reasons on Wednesday 13 July.

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.

Further information

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