The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017–2019, designed to transfer powers from Brussels to the UK, has been overturned by the House of Lords because it was an attempt to give ministers the power to make changes to EU laws based on what they “considered appropriate”, rather than on what was necessary. This has caused a not-unexpected uproar from staunch Brexiters, who claim the Lords are being needlessly obstructive, and yet another petition calling for the abolition of the second House.
As this Bill would set a precedent for other legislation resulting from Brexit, we hope there would be a more robust consideration given to the laws being changed. I imagine that everyone, on both sides of the Brexit fence, expects “taking back control” to mean “under the sovereignty of parliament” rather than passing power to ministers willy-nilly (with the possible exception of those ministers themselves!). The government can continue to expect more challenges to the content of the Bill in the coming days, from the Lords as well as from the devolved Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.
Stage Three of the negotiations with the EU is due to begin shortly, with the next update due at the June Summit. New framework guidelines were published on 19th April, outlining that avoiding a hard Irish border will be top of the agenda for this session, along with progress on how the economic relationship between us will look after the withdrawal. Mrs May rejected any “off the shelf” options in her Mansion House speech last month, so all we can say for now is that things will definitely be different and unlike anything else out there.