UK withdrawal agreement: Lords debates Brexit deal

Baroness Smith of Basildon, Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords.
15 January 2019

Members of the House of Lords concluded its debate on the government’s Brexit deal and declaration on the future relationship with the EU on Monday 14 January.

Day three - Monday 14 January

The debate was on two connected motions.

The first motion, put forward by Lord Callanan (Conservative), minister of state in the Department for Exiting the EU, proposed that the House takes note of the negotiated withdrawal agreement and framework for the future relationship with the EU.

This motion passed without a division (a vote), fulfilling the House of Lords' obligations under the EU (Withdrawal) Act, section 13(1)c.

The second motion, proposed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour), noted that the House of Commons must determine the matter, but that the House of Lords emphatically rejects a no deal outcome to negotiations with the EU. Baroness Smith’s motion also regretted that the withdrawal agreement and political declaration would do grave damage to the future economic prosperity, internal security and global influence of the UK.

This motion went to a vote, with 321 members voting for and 153 against. This meant the motion was agreed.

This does not stop the House taking note of the agreement and fulfilling the obligation under the EU (Withdrawal) Act, but has put the opinion of the Lords on record.

Day two - Thursday 10 January

Members continued their debate on the government's negotiated EU withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future UK-EU relationship.

Topics explored in the debate included the possibility of the agreement passing the 'meaningful vote' in the House of Commons and possible scenarios afterwards, the future of health research and reciprocal EU healthcare and the economic outlook after Brexit.

Day one - Wednesday 9 January

Topics debated by members of the Lords included the Irish border 'backstop' arrangements, arguments against and in favour of a second referendum and the possible consequences of a no-deal outcome.


Both Houses began debates in December 2018 for the purposes of fulfilling the requirements of section 13. However, the day before the meaningful vote was due to take place in the Commons, the Prime Minister announced that she was deferring the vote in order to seek further assurances from the EU about the Northern Ireland backstop arrangements in the withdrawal agreement, as she believed that the Commons would otherwise reject the deal. In view of the postponement of the meaningful vote, the Lords adjourned its debate.

Further information 

Image: House of Lords 2019 / Photography by Roger Harris

More news on: Parliament, government and politics, Parliament, European Union, EU law and treaties, House of Lords news, Lords news, Exiting the European Union

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