European Union Withdrawal Agreement (Public Vote) Bill (HC Bill 208)

A

BILL

TO

Provide that any Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and
the European Union shall not have effect without a vote by the electorate of
the United Kingdom and Gibraltar to that effect; to make arrangements for the
holding of such a public vote; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Proposed Withdrawal Agreement

The Secretary of State must before 31 October 2018 lay before each House of
Parliament a copy of the Withdrawal Agreement proposed by HM
Government for the United Kingdom and Gibraltar to withdraw from the
5European Union.

2 Public vote on the proposed Withdrawal Agreement

(1) A public vote is to be held on whether the United Kingdom should approve the
Withdrawal Agreement proposed or remain a member of the European Union.

(2) The Secretary of State must, by regulations, appoint the day on which the
10public vote is to be held.

(3) The day appointed under subsection (2) must be before 1 February 2019.

(4) The question that is to appear on the ballot papers is—

“Do you support the Government’s proposed United Kingdom and Gibraltar
Agreement for withdrawal from the European Union or Should the United
15Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”

(5) The alternative answers to that question that are to appear on the ballot papers
are—

“Support the proposed Withdrawal Agreement

Remain a member of the European Union”.

European Union Withdrawal Agreement (Public Vote) BillPage 2

(6) In Wales, the question and the alternative answers to that question must also
appear in Welsh.

(7) The Secretary of State must by regulations specify the wording in Welsh of the
question and the alternative answers to that question.

3 5Provision about the public vote

(NONE) The Schedule has effect.

4 Result of the public vote

(1) The Government shall not conclude any agreement on terms of withdrawal
from the European Union, or on the United Kingdom’s future relationship
10with the European Union, until the conditions in subsection (2) are met.

(2) The conditions are that—

(a) more votes are cast in the public vote held under section 2 in favour of
the answer “Support the proposed Withdrawal Agreement” than the
answer “Remain a member of the European Union”, and

(b) 15the terms of withdrawal from the European Union have been approved
by resolution in both Houses of Parliament.

(3) The resolutions, under subsection (2)(b), in both Houses of Parliament must be
passed within one week after the result of the public vote, held under section
2, is declared.

(4) 20If more votes are cast in the public vote in favour of the answer “Remain a
member of the European Union” than “Support the proposed Withdrawal
Agreement”, the Secretary of State must by regulations bring into force section
5 (“provisions to remain in the European Union”).

(5) Regulations under subsection (4) must be made on the day that the result of the
25public vote is declared or, if that is not practicable, the following day.

(6) If—

(a) more votes are cast in the public vote in favour of the answer “Support
the proposed Withdrawal Agreement” than “Remain a member of the
European Union”, and

(b) 30a period of one week after the day on which the result of the public
vote, held under section 2, is declared ends without both Houses of
Parliament passing the resolutions under subsection (2)(b),

the provisions of section 2 of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 (“early
parliamentary general election”) shall apply in these circumstances as if the
35House of Commons had passed a motion under section 2(2) of that Act.

(7) If—

(a) more votes are cast in the public vote in favour of the answer “Support
the proposed Withdrawal Agreement” than “Remain a member of the
European Union”, and

(b) 40the resolutions, under subsection (2)(b), in both Houses of Parliament
approve the terms of withdrawal from the European Union,

the Secretary of State must by regulations repeal section 5 (“provisions to
remain in the European Union”).

European Union Withdrawal Agreement (Public Vote) BillPage 3

5 Result of the public vote: provisions to remain in the European Union

(1) The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 is repealed.

(2) The Prime Minister must notify the European Commission of the retraction of
the notification under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the
5United Kingdom’s intention to leave the European Union.

6 Regulations

(1) Regulations made under sections 2 and 4 are to be made by statutory
instrument.

(2) A statutory instrument containing regulations under sections 2 and 4 is subject
10to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

7 Financial provisions

(1) There is to be paid out of money provided by Parliament—

(a) any expenditure incurred under or by virtue of this Act by the Secretary of
State, or by a Government department, and

(b) 15any increase attributable to this Act in the sums payable under any other Act
out of money so provided.

(2) There is to be paid into the Consolidated Fund any increase attributable to this Act in
the sums payable into that Fund under any other Act.

8 Extent

(1) 20This Act extends to the whole of the United Kingdom and to Gibraltar.

(2) For the purposes of the public vote, Part 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and
Referendums Act 2000 (whose extent is set out in section 163 of that Act)
extends also to Gibraltar.

9 Commencement

(NONE) 25Sections 1 to 4, and sections 6 to 10 come into force on the day on which this
Act is passed.

10 Short title

(NONE) This Act may be cited as the European Union Withdrawal Agreement (Public
Vote) Act 2018.

European Union Withdrawal Agreement (Public Vote) BillPage 4

Section 3

Schedule Provision about the public vote

1 Subject to the following paragraphs—

(a) the provisions of Part 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and
5Referendums Act 2000 (general provision about referendums) apply
to the public vote under this Act, and

(b) those provisions shall apply as if, for the words “referendum” and
“referendums” in each case where they appear, the words “public
vote” and “public votes” respectively.

2 (1) 10It shall the duty of all public authorities, in publications and
communications about the public vote provided for under this Act, to use
the term “public vote” and not to use the term “referendum”.

(2) For the purposes of this paragraph, “public authority” has the same meaning
as in section 3 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (public authorities).

3 15Subject to paragraphs 4 to 11, the Secretary of State may by regulations made
by statutory instrument make provision about the public vote.

4 Except as otherwise specified in this Act, provision about the public vote
must follow as closely as reasonably practicable the provisions for a
referendum made in, or by regulations or orders made under, the European
20Referendum Act 2015.

5 A draft of any regulations to be made under this Schedule must be laid
before each House of Parliament and a copy of the draft must be transmitted
to the Electoral Commission.

6 The Electoral Commission may transmit to the Speaker of the House of
25Commons and the Clerk of the Parliaments its written opinion on the draft
regulations.

7 Any written opinion received from the Electoral Commission received by
the Speaker of the House of Commons must be laid before the House of
Commons.

8 30Any written opinion received from the Electoral Commission received by
the Clerk of the Parliaments must be laid before the House of Lords.

9 If, in the written opinion of the Electoral Commission laid before either
House of Parliament, the provisions made in a draft of regulations to be
made under this Schedule do not differ substantively from those made for
35the Referendum held on 23 June 2016, the Secretary of State may within 21
days of the opinion of the Electoral Commission being laid before the House
of Commons make the regulations.

10 Regulations made under paragraph 7 are subject to annulment by resolution
of either House of Parliament.

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11 If in the opinion of the Electoral Commission, the provisions made in a draft
of regulations to be made under this schedule differ substantively from
those made for the Referendum held on 23 June 2016, the Secretary of State
may not make the regulations unless a draft of the regulations has been
5approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.