UK Parliament on Article 50

From Missy on the court ruling on Article 50 in relation to Britain’s planned exit from the European Union:

Yesterday (Tuesday) both the House of Commons and House of Lords discussed the Supreme Court ruling.


David Davis, Secretary for Exiting the European Union, gave a speech in which he said that the legislation to trigger Article 50 should be ready within days, some think it will be tabled today. He also went on to say that there is no going back, and the UK will leave the EU. He also described any attempt to try and block Brexit as “patronising, undemocratic and improper”.

A number of Conservative MPs have indicated they are prepared to join with Labour and SNP in an attempt to force the Government to set out its negotiating strategy.

The Liberal Democrats Leader has instructed all of their MPs to vote against triggering Article 50 in an attempt to force a second referendum.

Labour seem to be as confused as ever, in the morning a statement from Corbyn’s office said that they would table an amendment that would seek to build in the principle of full, tariff-free access to the single market, only for that to be removed from a release 30 minutes later.

Labour MP Owen Smith has stated that he is willing to risk his career to vote against triggering Article 50. His constituency voted to Leave the EU, but in an article in the Guardian he stated that he will vote against Article 50 because he thinks that is what is best for his constituents, not what they voted for.


The Lords is a fundamentally pro EU organisation, and previously some of the Lords have said that the House would vote against any legislation to leave the EU, there does appear to be some disagreement on that however.

Lord Blunkett (A Remain campaigner) has warned the HoL they cannot overturn the legislation. He has said that it would be foolish if the HoL, as an unelected body, put itself in confrontation with the bulk of the British people. Lord Blunkett was one of a number of Lords (most Remain) that urged the Lords to not block the triggering of Article 50.

The HoL was reminded that the constitutional position of the HoL is inferior to that of the elected House, and it is therefore important that they do not take action to frustrate the will of the elected House.

Lord Ashdown, an outspoken Remainer who has said he will vote against Article 50, was reminded of his own words on the night of the referendum: When the British people have spoken, you do what they command.

Lord Lamont speaking to media yesterday said that the House of Lords, as an unelected body, needs to tread carefully to ensure it does not trigger a constitutional crisis.

It is believed by many in the House that if the Lords vote against Article 50 it could be the beginning of the downfall of the House, and that some may make moves to abolish it altogether and reform the Parliamentary system in the UK, perhaps moving towards an elected upper house. There has, in the past, been a number of proposals for there to be constitutional and Parliamentary reform around the House of Lords, but in general the appetite to make the changes hasn’t been great enough, however, some fear that this could be what will motivate a push for the reforms many see as being needed. It is this fear of potential reform that leads many to suggest the majority of the Lords will vote for Article 50 despite their own personal view, if only to save their own positions.

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  1. ‘Commons’ and ‘Lords’ is a reminder of the British class system, still entrenched in their governing system.

    • Missy

       /  26th January 2017

      Yes it is, and they both remain the same after centuries, membership of one elected by the people and membership of the other through privelege, though not all hereditary Lords now.

      • Gezza

         /  26th January 2017

        How do the non-hereditaries get a stockinged foot in the chamber?

        • Missy

           /  26th January 2017

          Not sure how it works now but it was changed years back under Labour, so those granted a peerage – like Lord Ashdown – can sit in the chamber. You would have to check on their website to see how it is done – or I can tomorrow when I am at work. 😊

          • Gezza

             /  26th January 2017

            I’ll check out wiki Missy. No need for you to indulge my laziness. 🙂

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  26th January 2017

    Seems the govt is going to produce a white paper before introducing the legislation?

    • Missy

       /  26th January 2017

      Yes, this was something that Labour had been demanding, and at PMQs yesterday Corbyn was all set to ask about it and push the Government on it when a Conservative backbencher stole his thunder by asking and Theresa May said yes. This put Corbyn on the back foot and was just the start of a disastrous PMQs for him.

      On Corbyn’s PMQs yesterday, he started badly by referring to a shooting in Belfast over the weekend where a police officer was injured, Corbyn, however, offered condolences to the family on his death, and it went downhill from there as he could not recover and think quick enough to amend his questions on Brexit after having his main attack line neutralised before he even spoke.

      There is no timeline for the White Paper, but I imagine it will be essentially what Theresa May had in her speech fleshed out a little. I can’t see that she will be stupid enough to do what Corbyn and the Lib Dems are demanding and spell out their negotiating strategy and the details of what they are going to ask for, and their red line.

  3. Missy

     /  27th January 2017

    The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill has been tabled in Parliament.

    The Bill is 137 words long (I haven’t counted, am trusting the media have and have it correct):

    “A bill to confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.

    Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

    1 Power to notify withdrawal from the EU
    (1)The Prime Minister may notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
    (2)This section has effect despite any provision made by or under the European Communities Act 1972 or any other enactment.

    2 Short title
    This Act may be cited as the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.”

    The Leader of the Commons has advised there will be 5 days of debate on it, two days next week and three days the week after before it goes to the Lords.

    Labour MPs are complaining they have not been given long enough.

    Labour are planning to table 4 Amendments, whilst the SNP are planning to table 60 Amendments.

  4. Missy

     /  27th January 2017

    With a lot of backwards and forwards it seems Corbyn will impose a three line whip on his MPs to vote in favour of the bill. Over the last few days there was suggestion he would do this, then suggestion he wouldn’t, bu today he has apparently said he will. Some MPs have already stated they will defy this and vote against.


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