Votes: European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill

On 4th April 2019 the House of Lords considered the European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill, which sought to require the Prime Minister to request a later exit date from the European Union and a further extension of the Article 50 period. The Bill, introduced by backbench MPs, had gone through all stages in the Commons in a single day and Labour Peer Baroness Hayter had tabled a business motion in the Lords to enable the same to happen in the Lords, by suspending the usual rules on timetabling of Bills. Seven Peers tabled amendments objecting to that motion, and votes were taken on each amendment (Divisions 3-9 below). In all cases a vote was taken first on curtailing debate on the amendment (a ‘closure motion’ ) aimed at speeding up the process of debate, before a second vote on the actual amendment itself.

Lord Forsyth also tabled a motion to refer the business motion to a committee of the whole House (Divisions 1&2), which would have delayed the process of consideration of the Bill substantially.

Three bishops were present in the House during the debate on amendments and voted in several of the many Divisions. Details follow:


(1) Standing Order 46 (No two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) be dispensed with to allow the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill to be taken through all its stages this day; and

(2) Standing Order 39 (Order of Business) be dispensed with to enable that Bill to be considered after the motions on Economic Affairs Committee reports in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean. “


Division 1: Closure motion on the motion in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean

Lord Pannick moved that the question, that the motion in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean be agreed to, be now put. The House divided:

Contents: 244 | Not Contents: 119 | Result: N/A

The Bishops of Durham, Peterborough and St Albans voted Content.


Division 2: Motion to go into Committee in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean moved that this House resolves into a Committee of the Whole House on the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town. The House divided:

Contents: 94 | Not Contents: 254 | Result: N/A

The Bishops of Durham, Peterborough and St Albans voted Not Content.


Division 3: Closure motion on the amendment in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean

Lord Warner moved that the question, that the amendment in the name of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean be agreed to, be now put. The House divided:

Contents: 227 | Not Contents: 111 | Result: N/A

The Bishops of Durham and St Albans voted Content. The Bishop of Peterborough voted Not Content.


Division 4: Lord Forsyth of Drumlean’s amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean moved, as an amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, to leave out from “move” to the end and to insert “that the Standing Orders of the House relating to public business shall apply to all proceedings on the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill.” The House divided:

Contents: 123 | Not Contents: 251 | Result: N/A

The Bishops of Durham, Peterborough and St Albans voted Not Content.


Division 5: Closure motion on the amendment in the name of Lord True

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock moved that the question, that the amendment in the name of Lord True be agreed to, be now put. The House divided:

Contents: 249 | Not Contents: 97 | Result: N/A

The Bishops of Durham and Peterborough voted Content.


Division 6: Lord True’s amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

Lord True moved, as an amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, to leave out from “move” to the end and to insert “notwithstanding the non-binding resolution of the House of 28 January that Her Majesty’s Government should provide sufficient time for this House to ensure the timely passage of legislation necessary to implement any deal or proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons, that this House does not consider it is in keeping with the traditions and procedures of the House of Lords, its proper scrutinising role or its function as a safeguard of the constitution to apply unprecedented procedures to this Bill, and therefore declines to dispense with normal Standing Orders.” The House divided:

Contents: 122 | Not Contents: 248 | Result: N/A

The Bishops of Durham and Peterborough voted Not Content


Division 7: Closure motion on the amendment in the name of Baroness Noakes

Lord Warner moved that the question, that the amendment in the name of Baroness Noakes be agreed to, be now put. The House divided:

Contents: 229 | Not Contents: 77 | Result: N/A

The Bishop of Peterborough voted Content


Division 8: Baroness Noakes’s amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

Baroness Noakes moved, as an amendment to the motion in the name of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, to leave out from “move” to the end and to insert “notes that the Prime Minister has already indicated her intention to ask for a delay in the date for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and considers it unnecessary, as well as undesirable and unprecedented, to apply exceptional procedures to the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5 Bill) and therefore regrets the proposal by Her Majesty’s Opposition to do so.” The House divided:

Contents: 106 | Not Contents: 234 | Result: N/A

The Bishop of Peterborough voted Not Content.


Division 9: Closure motion on the amendment in the name of Viscount Ridley

Lord Scriven moved that the question, that the amendment in the name of Viscount Ridley be agreed to, be now put. The House divided:

Contents: 223 | Not Contents: 79 | Result: N/A

The Bishop of Peterborough voted Content.