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On 7 March 2017, the House of Lords considered the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at third reading. Lord Newby, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, moved the following amendment to the motion “that this bill do now pass”:

Leave out from “that” to the end and insert “this House declines to allow the bill to pass, because the bill does not provide a mechanism for the people of the United Kingdom to have a vote, prior to the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, on the terms of the new relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Following a debate, the amendment was defeated by 340 votes to 95. Paragraph 8.152 of the Companion to the Standing Orders provides full details of the ‘passing’ procedure, in particular how Members can oppose the motion or put down amendments to it:

The motion “that this bill do now pass” is moved immediately after third reading has been agreed to or, if amendments have been tabled, as soon as the last amendment has been disposed of. The motion is usually moved formally. It may be opposed, and reasoned or delaying amendments, of which notice must be given, may be moved to it, but in other circumstances there is normally no substantive debate. Any remarks should be brief and should not seek to reopen debates at previous stages of the bill.

This briefing sets out some further examples of where such amendments have been tabled and/or moved. It does not constitute procedural advice. Members requiring such advice should consult the Legislation Office’s A Guide to Public Bills in the House of Lords (May 2015) and contact the Legislation Office with any further enquiries.


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