The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill ("WAB") is due to be debated further in Parliament over the coming weeks. Although its passage through the House of Commons is likely to be eased considerably by the new government's substantial majority, it still has to pass the House of Lords – which may be more inclined to amend it when it considers the legislation next week. We highlight below two aspects of the Bill which may receive particular scrutiny in the Lords, and may mean that it is not quite ready to be "popped in the microwave", as the Prime Minister might put it.
Parliament's role in shaping the EU-UK future relationship
The new government has removed from the WAB the right of Parliament to have a say in relation to the negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, and this may prove contentious.
The October 2019 version of the WAB contained an obligation on the government to lay a statement before Parliament on its objectives for the future relationship with the EU, which had to be approved by a motion of the House of Commons before negotiations could commence. The government was then obliged to pursue those objectives in its negotiations with the EU and to make regular progress reports to Parliament. However, in the December 2019 version of the WAB, all these provisions have been removed.