MPs have today (December 20) backed plans for the UK to leave the European Union on January 31.
They voted 358 to 234 – a majority of 124 – in favour of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill.
The Bill will proceed to a Committee of the whole House January 6-7, and Lords amendments and Third Reading on Thursday, January 8, 2020.
The Government first introduced the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in October. This progressed to a Second Reading, in which the programme motion was defeated. The Bill fell when Parliament was dissolved for the 2019 General Election.
The new Withdrawal Agreement Bill is similar to the October 2019 Bill but three clauses and one Schedule have been removed, and five clauses have been added. The changes to the Bill include:
- removing MPs’ approval role in relation to the Government’s negotiating mandate and removing enhanced Parliamentary approval process for any future relationship treaty subsequently negotiated with the EU
- removing additional procedural protections for workers’ rights
- prohibiting any UK Minister from agreeing to an extension of the transition or implementation period
- removing the Government’s existing obligations to unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the EU who have family members in the UK
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Bill will: “Reunite our country and allow the warmth and natural affection that we all share for our European neighbours to find renewed expression in […] building a deep, special and democratically-accountable partnership with those nations.”
Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn MP, branded it a “terrible deal” highlighting the removal of clauses for protected workers’ rights and unaccompanied child refugees.
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale was Deputy Speaker for the debate.