Clause 31: Oversig ht of negotiations for future relationship
321 This clause contains measures which set out the parliamentary process to oversee progress towards the future relationship between the UK and the EU, including: requirements for parliamentary approval of the objectives for the future relationship with the EU; requirements on the Government at the end of every reporting period to report on its progress towards achieving the objectives in negotiations with the EU; and parliamentary approval of any negotiated future relationship treaty or treaties between the UK and the EU.
322 This section inserts a new section 13C into the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
323 Subsections (1) and (2) provide for the making by a Minister of the Crown of a statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU. An initial statement must be made within 30 Commons sitting days of exit day and a revised statement may be made at any time.
324 Subsection (3) places a specific obligation on Ministers that any statement of objectives must be consistent with the Political Declaration, of 17 October 2019, setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
325 Subsection (4) establishes a requirement on Ministers not to engage in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU unless (a) a Minister of the Crown has moved a motion on the statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU in the House of Commons and the House of Commons has approved this motion and (b) a Minister of the Crown has moved a motion for the House of Lords to take note of the statement on objectives.
326 Subsection (5) establishes a obligation on Ministers to seek to achieve the objectives set out in the most recent statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU that has been approved by the House of Commons and noted in the House of Lords.
327 Subsection (6) establishes duties on Government after the end of each reporting period, as defined at subsection (11) below.
328 Subsection (6)(a) provides that a Minister of the Crown must report on progress made in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU by the end of each reporting period. This report will include (i) the Minister’s assessment of the extent to which the outcome of negotiations reflects the most recent statement on objectives approved by the House of Commons and noted in the House of Lords and (ii) the Minister’s assessment of the reason why the negotiated future relationship is not likely to reflect that statement, if it is not likely to do so in any respect.
329 Subsection (6)(b) provides that a Minister of the Crown must provide a copy of the report to the Presiding Officer of each of the devolved legislatures, and to the Scottish and Welsh Ministers, and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland, or the Executive Office in Northern Ireland.
330 Pursuant to subsections (7) and (8), where a Minister is of the opinion that an agreement in principle has been reached with the EU on a future relationship treaty with the EU they must lay before each House of Parliament (a) a statement that political agreement has been reached and (b) a copy of the negotiated future relationship treaty.
331 Subsection (9) then further provides that a treaty resulting from a negotiated future relationship treaty may only be ratified if a Minister of the Crown has moved a motion, which the House of Commons has resolved to approve, in favour of its ratification. In addition, the House of Lords must either not have resolved against the ratification of the treaty within fourteen sitting days, or, if the House of Lords has resolved against the ratification of the treaty, a Minister of the Crown must lay before each House of Parliament a statement indicating the Minister’s opinion that the treaty should nevertheless be ratified, and explaining the rationale for this course of action.
332 Subsection (10) disapplies Section 20 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act (treaties to be laid before Parliament before ratification) to treaties to which subsection (9) applies.
333 Subsection (11) provides definitions for certain terms used in this section.