Well today has been the first day of the five days allotted for the Consideration of the European Union Bill on the floor of the House. This means that whereas normally a Bill is considered at the Committee stage by just a few MP’s in a small Committee room upstairs on the Committee Corridor because the EU Bill is of such constitutional importance it is being considered by a Committee of the whole House.
Today Clause 18 of the Bill and the amendments put down to the clause both By Mr Bill Cash (the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee) and an amendment put down by the Labour Party were being considered. At 10pm there were two votes one on one of the amendments put down by Mr Cash which I voted for and one by the Labour Party which I voted against. Both attempts to amend the clause were defeated by large margins. If I have time tomorrow I will expand on the detail of clause 18 in the meantime and if I don’t it will all be there in Hansard! at www.parliament.uk
The purpose of clause 18 was meant to be to restate the principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty. However the clause made no mention of the term Parliamentary Sovereignty and the amendment number 41 tabled in the name of Mr William Cash (and others) simply added the following words to the Clause;
‘The sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament in relation to EU law is hereby reaffirmed’
To me it is astonishing that we should even be having to make such a statement and it is a sad indictment of the present position that only a small minority of Members of Parliament were prepared to support the inclusion of such a statement.