MIL-OSI UK: Government loses ‘meaningful vote’ in the Commons

Source: British House of Commons News

16 January 2019
After five days of debate, beginning on 9 January 2019, the House of Commons voted against the Government’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union in the ‘meaningful vote’. The Government was defeated by a majority of 230, with MPs voting 432 to 202 against their deal.

Day five: Tuesday 15 January 2019
On the final day of the ‘meaningful vote’ debate MPs continued to make speeches in the Commons Chamber.
Concluding for the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn asked that;

“The House to do the right thing tonight: reject this deal because of the harm it would do, and show that we as MPs are speaking up for the people we represent, who recognise that the deal is dangerous for this country, bad for them, their living standards and our collective future.​”

Closing the debate, the Prime Minister urged MPs to back the Government’s deal. She said that her deal,

“It strikes a fair balance between the hopes and desires of all our fellow citizens—those who voted to leave and those who voted to stay in—and if we leave with the deal that I am proposing, I believe that we can lay the foundations on which to build a better Britain.”

The Speaker selected four amendments for debate. 
Amendment a – Official Labour Opposition:
The amendment would have rejected the Prime Minister’s deal on the basis of Labour’s six tests, rejected the prospect of ‘no deal’, and said that the House will “pursue every option” preventing the UK from leaving the EU under either of those circumstances. The amendment was not moved at the end of debate.
Amendment k: SNP/Plaid
This amendment rejected the Government’s deal in line with the votes against it in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and called for the Government to request an extension of the Article 50 negotiating period. This amendment was not moved.
Amendment b: Sir Edward Leigh
Called for an assurance from the Government that it will terminate the Withdrawal Agreement if the EU refuses to remove the backstop from the treaty at the end of 2021. Following assurances from the Government, this amendment was not moved.
Amendment f: John Baron
This amendment would have given consent to the Government’s deal provided the Withdrawal Agreement is amended so that the UK can terminate the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally. The amendment was defeated 600 to 24.

The unamended motion was put to the House, and MPs voted against it, 432 to 202. 
Directly afterwards, in Points of Order, the Prime Minister indicated that the Government would be willing to schedule time on Wednesday 16 January to debate a no-confidence motion if  the Opposition wished to table one. The Leader of the Opposition responded in a further Point of Order, tabling the motion of no-confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.
Day four: Monday 14 January 2019
The fourth day of debate on the ‘meaningful vote’ debate followed a statement by the Prime Minister on leaving the EU, in which she spoke about letter of assurances she had received from EU leaders regarding the Northern Irish backstop.
Day three: Friday 11 January 2019
On the third day of the ‘meaningful vote’ debate, MPs continued to make their cases for and against the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement with a focus on immigration, security and foreign policy.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, opened the debate for the Government, with a speech focussing on immigration saying;

“For the first time in a generation, we will be able to build an immigration system that is designed in Britain, is made in Britain and serves only our national interest. The deal protects not only EU citizens living in the UK, but UK nationals living in the EU.”

The UK’s post-Brexit immigration system, along with foreign and security policy, were central to many MPs contributions to the debate.
Speaking for the Opposition, Diane Abbott criticised the security implications of the deal. She said;

“This deal treats the issue of safety and security with a degree of recklessness. As it stands, this deal would potentially abolish the complex and highly effective co-operation that has been established between this country and other members of the EU in the areas of freedom, justice and security.” 

Day two: Thursday 10 January 2019
The debate opened with a statement from Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Supporters of the Government’s deal spoke of possible compromise, with the Government going so far as to indicate that it would consider Labour MP John Mann’s amendment.
Closing the debate, Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said:

“I hope that the tenor of today’s debate continues in the days ahead. I say on behalf of my colleagues that hon. Members’ contributions will be listened to seriously, taken into account and acted upon, as I indicated in response to the amendment relevant to today’s discussions, so that, in the weeks ahead, the whole House can move towards a greater sense of compromise and resolution to implement the decision that the people of the United Kingdom took.”

The Opposition remain critical of the proposed deal, and of the Government’s ability to liaise with Members across the House to achieve any sort of compromise. The Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rebecca Long Bailey, closed for the Opposition. She said;

“I share the sentiments of my right hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley on the need to work together across this House to deal with the many issues outlined during these debates and ensure we find a deal that provides a consensus that we can all rally around. Unfortunately, we do not have a Government who have been capable thus far of delivering that.”

Day one: Wednesday 9 January 2019
MPs resumed the ‘meaningful vote’ debate, following the Government’s decision’s to defer the vote on Monday 10 December 2018. The Prime Minister informed the House of this in a statement to the Commons where she acknowledged “If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow, the deal would be rejected by a significant margin.”
The first item of business related to the ‘meaningful vote’ was a Business of the House Motion, which sets aside eight hours of debate over five days, leading to a ‘meaningful vote’ and amendments at the end of the day on Tuesday 15 January 2019.
Unusually, the Speaker allowed an amendment to this motion to be tabled, which requires that should the Government lose the ‘meaningful vote’ on its deal on 15th, they will be required to make a statement to the Commons on their intended course of action within three sitting days.
The debates will take place on Wednesday 9, Thursday 10, Friday 10, Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 January 2019.
Motion for debate:

That this House approves for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the negotiated withdrawal agreement laid before the House on Monday 26 November 2018 with the title ‘Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community’ and the framework for the future relationship laid before the House on Monday 26 November 2018 with the title ‘Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom’.

What is the ‘meaningful vote’?
The ‘meaningful vote’ is the House of Common’s decision on the EU Withdrawal Agreement.
Following months of negotiations by the UK Government and European Union, a withdrawal agreement has been agreed in principle. This agreement sets out the arrangements for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and from the European Atomic Energy Community.
A future framework outlining the future relationship between the UK and the EU has also been negotiated. 
House of Commons Library analysis
The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The papers contain factual information and a range of opinions on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial.
The Library has published the following papers relating to the ‘meaningful vote’ debates.
Image: iStock
Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.
Please fill in our quick feedback survey to help us improve our news content.


MIL-OSI UK: Commons debates motion of no confidence in HM Government

Source: British House of Commons News

16 January 2019
Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a motion of no confidence in her Government following last night’s ‘meaningful vote’ defeat.

After eight days of debate on the withdrawal agreement with the European Union, MPs rejected the Government’s deal in the ‘meaningful vote’. The Commons voted 432 to 202 – a majority of 230.Following the result, the Prime Minister confirmed that if the official Opposition tabled a confidence motion, the Government would make time to debate the motion today. She went on to say that if the Government won the confidence motion, meetings will be held with members from across the House to determine what would be required to secure the backing of the House, which could then be discussed with the EU.The Prime Minister concluded her statement with the following remarks:

“I have always believed that the best way forward is to leave in an orderly way with a good deal, and I have devoted much of the past two years to negotiating such a deal. As you confirmed, Mr Speaker, the amendment to the business motion tabled last week by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve) is not legally binding, but the Government respect the will of the House. We will therefore make a statement about the way forward and table an amendable motion by Monday.”

The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, responded to the ‘meaningful vote’ result stating that it was the “greatest defeat for a Government in this House since the 1920s.” He also confirmed that he had tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government and was “pleased that that motion will be debated tomorrow so that this House can give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this Government and pass that motion of no confidence in the Government.”
Transcripts of proceedings in the House of Commons Chamber are available in Hansard online three hours after they happen.
What is a motion of no confidence?
A motion of no confidence is a vote of confidence in the current Government. The wording for the motion is ‘That this House has no confidence in HM Government’. If the motion is agreed to, the Government has 14 days to form a new government that is able to win a confidence motion in the House of Commons. If it is unable to do so, Parliament is dissolved and an early general election is called. 
House of Commons Library analysis
The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The papers contain factual information and a range of opinions on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial.
The Library published the following information relating to no confidence motions:
Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor
Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.
Please fill in our quick feedback survey to help us improve our news content.


MIL-OSI UK: Equality and Human Rights Commission’s policies examined

Source: British Parliament News

15 January 2019
The Women and Equalities Committee continues its inquiry examining the enforcement of the Equality Act. The Committee has heard, over several inquiries, that individuals have difficulties in enforcing their rights under the Act.

Purpose of the session
This session will examine the role and effectiveness of the EHRC in the use of its enforcement powers. In particular:
The legal and policy framework for EHRC enforcement action
The EHRC’s policies on enforcement
The EHRC’s use of its powers in practice.
Wednesday 16 January 2018, Grimond room, Portcullis House. At 9.50am:
Niall Crowley, Independent equality and human rights expert
Barbara Cohen, Independent discrimination law consultant
Mike Smith, CEO of REAL
Nick Webster, Solicitor at Leigh Day
Further information
Image: PC


MIL-OSI UK: Committee looks to Canada and Belgium for devolution direction

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
The Scottish Affairs Committee continues its inquiry into the relationship between the Scottish and UK Governments, with an evidence session looking at how other countries manage intergovernmental relations.

Purpose of the session
The Scottish Affairs Committee is holding an inquiry into how cooperation between the UK and Scottish Governments can be improved. In this session the Committee will look at international comparators to find out if lessons can be learnt from how devolution works elsewhere.
The Committee will question the Deputy Head of the Belgian Embassy and a former Canadian Permanent Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs on what the UK can learn from their approaches to intergovernmental relations. The Committee will also hear about devolution arrangements in other countries from academics specialising in constitutional affairs and federalism.
Tuesday 15 January 2019, Grimond Room, Portcullis House
At 10.15am – Academics
Dr Bettina Petersohn, Lecturer in Politics (specialising in Intergovernmental relations), Swansea University
Professor César Colino, Professor of Political Science (specialising in Spanish and comparative federalism), University of Distance Education (UNED) (Madrid)  
Dr Sandra León, Senior Lecturer (specialising in comparative government and decentralisation of public finance), York University
At 11.15am – Case Study: Belgium
Mr Jan Bayart, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Belgium in the UK
At 12.15pm – Case Study: Canada
George Anderson, former Deputy Minister (Permanent Secretary) of Intergovernmental Affairs, Privy Council Office, Canadian Government (via video link)
Further information
Image: iStockphoto


MIL-OSI UK:  Transport Committee visits Liverpool to hear about health of bus services

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
In a public evidence session, MPs will question representatives from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and two bus companies, Arriva and Stagecoach, on how services are developed and run in the city through the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance.

The Committee will also use their visit to Liverpool to ask about fares and funding, workforce conditions and what is being done to increase bus use.
The trip will inform the cross-party committee’s inquiry into the health of the bus market, which is examining how services are run in England outside London amid a sharp decline in usage over the past 25 years. Bus travel accounts for almost eight out of ten public transport journeys in Merseyside. Passenger numbers have fallen since the start of the decade although they are now coming back up from a downward trend. Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram launched a consultation on how to improve services in October and responses to the Big Bus Debate are currently being analysed.
Monday 14 January 2019, Merseytravel HQ, 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP
At 1pm:  
Matthew Goggins, Head of bus, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Merseytravel
Howard Farrall, Regional Managing Director, Arriva Merseyside
Rob Jones, Regional Managing Director, Stagecoach Merseyside
Question and answer session
At 4pm, the evidence session will be followed by a question and answer session offering members of the public the opportunity to ask about the Transport Committee’s work and the role of Parliament. The meeting is the fourth evidence session in the buses inquiry. The Committee has previously visited Leicester and Bristol to hear the views of passengers and local authorities.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto


MIL-OSI UK: Committee hears from Law Commission, lenders and legal experts in leasehold inquiry

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee continue their inquiry into leasehold reform on Monday 14 January with evidence session featuring the Law Commission, lenders and legal experts.

The first panel, featuring UK Finance, will investigate issues around leasehold from the perspective of mortgage lenders. It will examine issues including the increased risks related to lending on leasehold properties compared to freehold and the impact of onerous ground rents on mortgage applications.
The panel with the Law Commission and legal experts will consider the case for reform of the leasehold system. This will include the potential for legislation to prevent unfair ground rents, service charges and other terms, as well as more serious cases of mis-selling. It will also look at the potential for commonhold to be used more widely and what steps could be taken to facilitate this.
Monday 14 January, Thatcher Room, Portcullis House
From 3.45pm
Panel 1
Matthew Jupp, UK Finance
Panel 2
Guy Featherstonhaugh QC, Falcon Chambers
Amanda Gourlay, Barrister, Tanfield Chambers
Giles Peaker, Partner, Anthony Gold Solicitors
Panel 3
Professor Nicholas Hopkins, Commissioner, Law Commission
Further information
Image: Creative Commons


MIL-OSI UK: Committee question Minister of State on China

Source: British House of Commons News

11 January 2019
The Foreign Affairs Committee hold its final evidence session on China and the international rules-based system.

So far this inquiry has covered various topics, including China’s attitude to the international economic order, China’s regional relationships, and the way in which China’s domestic affairs affect its foreign policy. The Committee may ask Mark Field about these and a range of other issues affecting UK policy towards China.
Tuesday 15 January 2019, Committee Room 5, Palace of Westminster
Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State
Kate White, Director, Asia-Pacific Department
James Kariuki, Multilateral Policy Director, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Further information
Image: iStockphoto


MIL-OSI UK: Treatment of Members of Parliament examined by Joint Committee on Human Rights

Source: British House Of Lords News

11 January 2019
The Joint Committee on Human Rights takes evidence regarding free speech and the treatment of MPs

The European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to freedom of expression, the freedom of association, and the right to privacy and family life. It also protects the right to free and fair elections. How can rights be exercised in a way which supports democracy? Some rights can be limited if necessary and proportionate in a democratic society. What is the correct balance between the right to protest, including to protest against things an MP has said, and the democratic need for MPs to have the freedom to represent their constituents and communicate with the public?
Purpose of the session
There are increasing concerns about the line between free speech and abuse and about the targeting of politicians, culminating in a recent string of incidents of harassment and intimidation outside Parliament. The Joint Committee on Human Rights will examine how to balance rights to ensure effective democracy in a public session on Wednesday 16th January from 3.05pm. MPs and Peers will ask witnesses, including leaders of backbench groups Graham Brady MP (1922 Committee), John Cryer MP (PLP) for their views on the scale of the problem and what they think is the correct balance between these human rights.
Wednesday 16 January 2019, Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster
Sir Graham Brady MP


MIL-OSI UK: Committee examines leadership skills in the public sector

Source: British House of Commons News

11 January 2019
In the third session of its inquiry into Strategic Leadership in the Civil Service, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee will question the Chair of the government group tasked with creating a public services leadership academy.

In 2017, the Government committed to the establishment of a Centre for Public Service Leadership and created a taskforce to consider how the it might function.
The Public Services Leadership Taskforce, chaired by former civil servant Sir Gerry Grimstone, recommended in its final report that the Centre should focus on training for chief executive roles, with a commitment to maintaining a diverse intake and collaboration with other public service leadership programmes.
However, it is not clear how the Centre will collaborate with the existing Civil Service Leadership Academy.
Purpose of the session
The Committee’s inquiry into strategic leadership is examining how the Civil Service can better invest in building its future capacity and talent.
The Committee will question Sir Gerry Grimstone on the findings of the Public Services Leadership Taskforce.
Topics are likely to include the qualities that characterise effective leaders in the civil service, the role of the Centre for Public Service Leadership, how it will spend the £21 million that was allocated to it in the most recent Budget, and how the Centre will complement the work of the Civil Service Leadership Academy.  
Tuesday 15 January 2019, Committee Room 19, Palace of Westminster
Sir Gerry Grimstone, Chair, Public Services Leadership Taskforce
Further information
Image: iStockphoto


MIL-OSI UK: Academics and investors questioned on future of audit

Source: British Parliament News

11 January 2019
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee holds the opening evidence session of its inquiry into the future of audit.

The focus of the Committee’s inquiry is on the likely impact of the CMA market study and the review of the FRC (by Sir John Kingman) in improving quality and competition in the audit market and reducing conflicts of interest. The first evidence session will include witness panels featuring academic experts and investors.
The Committee’s inquiry follows up on the Committee’s work on Carillion and BHS which identified flaws in the auditing of those companies and its subsequent interest in other auditing failures, such as Patisserie Valerie.  In addition to looking at the recent Kingman and CMA proposals, the Committee will also look at the recently announced review into the quality and effectiveness of the UK audit market being led by Sir Donald Brydon.
In future weeks the BEIS Committee’s audit inquiry will hear from witnesses from the Big Four and ‘challenger’ accountancy firms, Audit Committee chairs, CFOs, as well as representatives from the FRC & the ICAEW, and Sir John Kingman.
Tuesday 15 January 2019, Committee Room 5, Palace of Westminster
At 10am
Panel One: Academic experts
Professor Christopher Humphrey, Professor of Accounting, Alliance Business School, Manchester University
Professor Karthik Ramanna, Professor of Business & Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University
Dr Ilias Basioudis, Senior Lecturer of Financial Accounting & Auditing, Aston University Business School
Vinita Mithani, Lecturer in the Accounting & Finance Department, Middlesex University Business School
Panel Two: Investors
 Euan Stirling, Global Head of Stewardship and ESG Investment, Aberdeen Standard Investments
Liz Murrall, Director, Stewardship and Reporting, the Investment Association
Natasha Landell-Mills, Head of Stewardship, Sarasin & Partners
Leon Kamhi, Head of Responsible Investment, Hermes Investment Management
Further information
Image: iStockphoto