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European Union (Withdrawal) Act: Section 13(4) Statement

Volume 653: debated on Monday 21 January 2019

This statement is being made for the purposes of Section 13(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and outlines how the Government intend to proceed in the light of the House’s decision on Tuesday 15 January 2019 not to agree to a resolution laid for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The Government will today table the motions required in both Houses under section 13(6) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Later this week the Government will also take the steps set out in section 13(11) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This will require motions pursuant to section 13(11 )(b) to be tabled in both Houses.

It is the Government’s intention, in accordance with the procedure allowed under section 13(13)(b) and (c), for those later section 13(11)(b) motions to be combined with the motion tabled today under section 13(6). The scheduled debates in the House of Lords and the House of Commons, on 28 and 29 January respectively, will therefore be on motions relating to the statements made under both s. 13(4) and s. 13(11)(a).

The joint motion will be in neutral terms, in line with the European Union (Withdrawal) Act, but will now be amendable following the House of Commons decision on 4 December 2018 that, “the provisions of Standing Order No. 24B (Amendments to motions to consider specified matters) shall not apply in respect of any motion tabled by a Minister of the Crown pursuant to any provision of section 13 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The joint motion in the House of Commons will be as follows:

The Prime Minister

That this House, in accordance with the provisions of section 13(6)(a) and 13(11)(b)(i) and 13(13)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, has considered the written statement titled “Statement under Section 13(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018” and made on 21 January 2019, and the written statement titled “Statement under Section 13(11)(a) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018”and made on (date on or before 24 January).

An equivalent motion will be tabled in the House of Lords.

Members will be advised that amendments tabled to the original section 13(6) motion will need to be re-tabled when the second joint motion is tabled.

We are following this course of action to avoid any legal uncertainty as to whether the Government have complied fully with the terms of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Section 13(11) of the Act states that the Government must make the statement and motion mentioned above if, at the end of 21 January 2019, “there is no agreement in principle in negotiations under Article 50(2)”. While the negotiations have yielded an agreement, that agreement has not been approved by Parliament.

Notwithstanding this action, making this statement does not prejudice any further actions the Government may choose to take under section 13(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 at a later date.

Earlier today I updated the House on the next steps following the decision not to approve the deal negotiated with the European Union and following initial engagement with senior parliamentarians across the House.