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European Union Act 2011

Type of Bill:
Government Bill
William Hague
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Lord Howell of Guildford
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Progress of the Bill

Bill started in the House of Commons

  1. House of Commons
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  2. House of Lords
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  3. Consideration of Amendments
  4. Royal Assent

Last event

Act of Parliament

House Act Date
European Union Act 2011 c.12 21.07.2011

Latest news on the European Union Act 2011

The House of Lords looked at the House of Commons amendments on 13 July 2011. 

Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the Bill it received Royal Assent on 19 July. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).

Summary of the European Union Act 2011

The Bill aims to strengthen the UK procedures for agreeing to or ratifying certain EU decisions and Treaty changes. The Bill has been drafted in the context of new EU methods of approving Treaty changes and calls for more public and/or parliamentary involvement in such decisions.

Key areas

  • Provides for a referendum throughout the United Kingdom on any proposed EU treaty or Treaty change which would transfer powers from the UK to the EU
  • Ensures that an Act of Parliament would have to be passed before a ‘ratchet clause’ or a passerelle (bridging clause) in the European Union Treaty could be used. In addition, if the passerelle involved a transfer of power or competence from the UK to the EU, this would also be subject to a referendum before the Government could agree to its use
  • Enables the UK to ratify a Protocol to allow additional European Parliament seats for the UK and 11 other Member States during the current European Parliament term, and to legislate for the extra UK seat
  • Provides for a clause that affirms that EU law takes effect in the UK only because Parliament wills that it should. This confirms the principle that Parliament is sovereign.

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