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Brexit Bill enters Committee stage

7 January 2020

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On 7 January 2020, MPs began to debate the EU (Withdrawal Agreement Bill) in a Committee of the whole House. The Bill sets out arrangements for the UK to withdraw from the European Union. The Committee continued until 8 January.

On 19 December 2019, MPs approved the Second Reading of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill by 358 to 234 votes.

The Bill then entered its committee stage. This was a Committee of the whole House, which takes place in the main chamber and allows MPs to debate and vote on the Bill in its committee stage.

What happened in the first day of the Committee of the whole House?

On Tuesday, 7 January 2020, there were three votes (divisions) on new clauses to the Bill. All three proposed new clauses were voted down. The new clauses were:

  • New Clause 5, which would've allowed all EU citizens resident before exit day to have a right to permanent residence in the UK. NC5 was defeated by 342 votes to 252.
  • New Clause 18, which would've ensured that those who benefit from citizens' rights protections do not miss out registering as UK citizens due to the cost of the fee. NC18 was defeated by 341 votes to 255.
  • New Clause 34, which would've established a right to appeal settled status decisions. NC34 was defeated by 343 votes to 251.

What happened in the second day of the Committee of the whole House?

On Wednesday, 8 January 2020, there were seven votes on five new clauses and two amendments to clauses in the Bill. All amendments and new clauses were voted against. These were:

  • New Clause 55, which relates to Northern Ireland's place in the UK internal market calling for unfettered access to the Great Britian market. NC55 was defeated by 337 votes to 262.
  • New Clause 6, which would have ensured that MPs had a guaranteed vote with an amendable motion on the EU-UK Future Relationship and negotiating objectives. NC6 was defeated by 347 votes to 251.
  • Amendment 10 to Clause 21, which would have applied restrictions on Ministers' delegated power to make regulations under the proposed new section 8C of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was defeated by 340 votes to 262.
  • Amendment 4 to Clause 37, which would have protected the right for unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their family after Brexit. This was defeated by 348 votes to 252.
  • New Clause 2, which would have required the Government to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the EU protecting workers' rights. This was defeated by 344 votes to 255.
  • New Clause 10, which would have required the Government to seek to negotiate continuing full membership of the EU's Erasmus education and youth programme. This was defeated by 344 votes to 254.
  • New Clause 29, which would have required the Government to seek close alignment with the EU single market on key level playing-field provisions. This was defeated by 345 votes to 250.

What happened after the committee stage?

The Bill proceeded to its Third Reading on Thursday 9 January 2020.

More information on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill  

House of Commons Library insight into the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement Bill)

Follow proceedings 

How does a Bill become law?

Our Passage of a Bill guide shows a Bill’s journey through Parliament – find out what happens at each stage.