We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Leaving the Eu: Meaningful Vote

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:05 pm on 22nd October 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 4:05 pm, 22nd October 2018

May I start by welcoming the question from my right hon. and learned Friend Mr Grieve?

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 confirmed in statute the Government’s long-standing commitment to provide Parliament with a vote on the terms of our final deal. When it comes to the motion that we consider at the point when the approval of the House is sought, the decision whether the motion is amendable or not will be a matter for you, Mr Speaker, not for the Government. However, the Government have made clear our expectation, subject to your prerogatives, that the motion will be amendable. The Government’s response, dated 10 October, to the report of the Select Committee on Exiting the European Union, “Parliamentary scrutiny and approval of the Withdrawal Agreement and negotiations on a future relationship”, stated:

“Of course, we accept that the Speaker may permit the tabling of amendments to the motion, as is usual convention.”

That understanding is also reflected in our response to the inquiry by the Select Committee on Procedure, which I provided on 10 October. Both responses were made publicly available on the Committees’ websites in the interests of transparency and to ensure that this House understands the Government’s position on the matter—although again, I defer to the House and to you, Mr Speaker, on procedural matters that fall within the prerogatives of the House.

It will be evident to hon. Members that any amendment to the motion would not be able to effect amendments to the withdrawal agreement or the future framework, which will have been agreed at the international level between the United Kingdom and the European Union; nor could any such amendment delay or prevent our departure from the EU as set out under article 50. It is worth reminding the House that the timing of our departure from the EU is set out in international law under article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which this House voted to trigger.

The Government committed to giving Parliament a vote on the deal, and section 13 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 sets out how that will happen. In passing that Act, Parliament confirmed its ultimate role in delivering on the will of the British people. Approving the final deal will be the responsibility of the House of Commons alone—a responsibility I know all hon. Members will take very seriously indeed.