European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020


The European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020[1] (c. 29) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that implements the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement agreed between the United Kingdom and the European Union and Euratom in December 2020.[2] The bill for the Act was introduced to the House of Commons by Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove on 30 December 2020, with the aim of enacting the bill on the same day.[3][4]

European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to make provision to implement, and make other provision in connection with, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement; to make further provision in connection with the United Kingdom's future relationship with the EU and its member States; to make related provision about passenger name record data, customs and privileges and immunities; and for connected purposes.
Citation2020 c. 29
Introduced byMichael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Commons)
Lord True, Minister of State for European Union Relations and Constitutional Policy (Lords)
Territorial extentEngland and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Dates
Royal assent31 December 2020
Commencement31 December 2020
Status: Current legislation
History of passage through Parliament
Text of statute as originally enacted

The trade agreement was provisionally applied immediately after the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020, with the Act serving as the UK Parliament's ratification of the agreement.[5] Before the agreement comes fully into force, the English version of the treaty needs to be legally checked and tidied up ("scrubbed"), and needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.[6][7]

The House of Commons was recalled from recess – the House of Lords was already sitting – to enable the legislation to be debated,[8][9] and it was passed by 521 votes to 73.[10]

Passage through Parliament


House of Commons

Business of the House Motion

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg put forward a motion to fast-track the bill through the House of Commons on 30 December 2020. This was criticised by Labour's Valerie Vaz, calling the decision to have limited debate "unacceptable".[3]

Patrick Grady (SNP) tabled an amendment to extend debate. It was put to a division where it was voted down by the Conservatives and Democratic Unionist Party with one Tory MP, William Wragg, rebelling.[11] Labour abstained.

Division 189[3]
Votes
Aye 60
No 362
Approval

Nearly all Conservative MPs and most Labour MPs voted in favour of the bill, while every other party in the Commons voted against. Tonia Antoniazzi and Helen Hayes resigned from their position on Labour's frontbench to abstain, with Bell Ribeiro-Addy being the only Labour MP to vote against the Bill:

Future Relationship Bill
Second and Third Readings
Ballot → 30 December 2020
Yes
  •   Conservative (359)
  •   Labour (162)
521 / 635
No
73 / 635
Abstentions
41 / 635
Absentees
1 / 635
Sources: UK Parliament[13][14]

House of Lords

Business of the House

A similar amendment to extend the length of debate was put forward by Lord Adonis, which was voted down thus the Bill is to be completed in one day.

EU (Future Relationship) Bill
Division 1: Business of the House amendment
Ballot → 30 December 2020
Content
125 / 448
Not content
323 / 448
Sources: UK Parliament[15]
Approval

The European Union (Future Relationship) Bill was approved by the House of Lords on 30 December 2020, allowing the bill to be given royal assent in the early hours of 31 December.[16]

References


  1. European Union (Future Relationship) Bill (PDF). London: Cabinet Office. 2020.
  2. "European Union (Future Relationship) Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament". bills.parliament.uk.
  3. "European Union (Future Relationship) Bill: Business of the House - Wednesday 30 December 2020 - Hansard - UK Parliament". hansard.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  4. "Boris Johnson's post-Brexit trade deal passes into UK law". the Guardian. December 31, 2020.
  5. "EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Council adopts decision on the signing". www.consilium.europa.eu. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  6. "Brexit deal ratification race begins". POLITICO. 2020-12-24. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  7. "No time to rest: EU nations assess Brexit trade deal with UK". AP NEWS. 2020-12-25. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  8. "House of Commons recalled on 30 December". Parliament.UK. 24 December 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020. The Speaker of the House of Commons has granted a request from the Government to recall the House at 9.30am on 30 December 2020 to debate legislation to give effect to the Agreement with the EU in UK law.
  9. "What's the timetable for parliament's vote on the Brexit trade deal?". The Guardian. 29 December 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020. As parliament is in recess for Christmas, it is being recalled on 30 December so that MPs can debate and vote on the bill to enact Downing Street's trade agreement with the EU.
  10. "MPs pass Brexit trade deal by 521 votes to 73". the Guardian. 2020-12-30. Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  11. "European Union (Future Relationship) Bill: Business of the House (Division 189: held on Wednesday 30 December 2020) - Hansard - UK Parliament". hansard.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  12. @PARLYapp (17 December 2020). "If the Commons is recalled, Mr Hendry will be able to return to the House on Friday 9th January" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 December 2020 via Twitter.
  13. "European Union (Future Relationship) Bill: Second Reading - Commons' votes in Parliament". UK Parliament. 30 December 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  14. "European Union (Future Relationship) Bill: Third Reading - Commons' votes in Parliament". UK Parliament. 30 December 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  15. "Business of the House (Division 1: held on Wednesday 30 December 2020) - Hansard - UK Parliament". hansard.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  16. "Johnson's Brexit Deal Clears Parliament With Only Hours to Spare". Bloomberg. 30 December 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2020.