What follows is a draft Bill to ensure that Parliament – rather than the Government – controls the key remaining questions governing the United Kingdom’s proposed departure from the European Union.
Please add your suggestions for drafting with comments. I will monitor those suggestions and make changes accordingly.
European Union (Parliamentary Sovereignty) Bill
Make provision in connection with the United Kingdom’s proposed withdrawal from the European Union.
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 Obligation to seek an extension of time
(1) Subsection (2) applies if, at midday on the second last Day before the relevant day, no withdrawal agreement has been ratified in accordance with section 13 of the Withdrawal Act.
(2) Her Majesty’s Government shall immediately seek the agreement of the European Council under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union to extend the date upon which the Treaties shall cease to apply to the United Kingdom
2 Duty to seek the consent of the House of Commons to leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement
(1) Subsection (2) applies if, at midday on the last Day before the relevant day, no agreement has been reached (pursuant to section 1 above) to extend the date upon which the Treaties shall cease to apply to the United Kingdom
(2) Her Majesty’s Government shall immediately put a motion to the House of Commons in the form set out in subsection (3) following.
(3) The form of the motion for the purposes of subsection (2) shall be:
“the House agrees to leave the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement.”
(4) If the House of Commons does not approve the motion at subsection (3) above, Her Majesty’s Government must immediately notify the European Council that the notification given by the United Kingdom under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, is revoked.
3 Duty to hold an Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005
(1) This section applies where the notification given by the United Kingdom under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of its intention to withdraw from the European Union has been revoked pursuant to section 2(4).
(2) Where this section applies a Minister of Her Majesty’s Government shall cause an inquiry to be held under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the question whether a model of a future relationship between the United Kingdom (outside the European Union) and the European Union would be likely to be acceptable to the European Union and could reasonably be expected to have majority support in the United Kingdom.
(3) Where the result of the Inquiry is that there is such a model, Her Majesty’s Government shall make all necessary arrangements for the holding of a referendum on the question whether the United Kingdom should leave the EU and negotiate that model or remain in the EU.
(4) The Inquiry under subsection (2) shall commence within three months of any revocation pursuant to section 2(4).
4 Exit day in the Withdrawal Act
Section 1 of the Withdrawal Act shall not have effect until the earlier of:
(a) the ratification of a withdrawal agreement in accordance with section 13 of the Withdrawal Act; or
(b) the passing of a motion under section 2(3) above.
5 Continuing effect
The obligation in section 1(2) – and the consequential obligation under section 2 – shall apply on every occasion on which the condition specified in section 1(1) is satisfied.
For the purposes of this Act, references to:
a ‘Day’ are to a House of Commons sitting day;
the ‘relevant day’ means the day when, by virtue of Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, that Treaty and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union would cease to apply to the United Kingdom in the absence of the entry into force of a withdrawal agreement;
the ‘Treaties’ are the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;
‘withdrawal agreement’ has the meaning given in the Withdrawal Act; and
the ‘Withdrawal Act’ means the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
7 Extent, commencement and short title
(1) This Act extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
(2) This Act comes into force on the day on which it is passed.
(3) This Act may be cited as the European Union (Parliamentary Sovereignty) Act 2019.