It was fantastic to see the House of Lords amend the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on Wednesday evening in an attempt to secure the rights of EU nationals living here in the UK. But what next?
The Lords cannot unilaterally amend bills, so once the bill has completed all its Lords stages (this happens next week) it will return to the Commons for MPs to decide if they agree. If they accept the amendment, it will then appear in law; if they disagree, the amendment will return to the Lords for them to decide whether to stick with their amendment… if this continues still further it will enter what’s called parliamentary ping-pong, as the bill bounces back & forth between the Houses.
What can you do now if you want the amendment to stand? I’m suggesting you do two things:
Write to say thanks to one or more of the 358 peers who voted to pass this amendment. You can find the list of who voted for and against the amendment online HERE. The list called “Content” is those who voted for the amendment; the list called “Not Content” is those who voted against it. You can find contact details for all peers online HERE.
This is a nice thing to do, but it also emphasises to these peers the level of support for the measurement. That might be helpful if MPs throw it out and peers have to decide whether to try to insist on it.
Write to your MP. You can use the WriteToThem.com website or Parliament’s website. If you are not sure who your local MP is, both websites can will work that out for you based on your postcode. Tell your MP that you want them to vote for the amendment passed by the Lords on the rights of EU nationals.
Your letter does not need to be long. Indeed, short is good. But be clear, polite and assertive – and email it or get it into the post today.
The bill returns to the Lords next week, and many are speculating that peers will pass one further amendment. This would require, in law, that Parliament gets a meaningful vote on the outcome of the exit talks, and potentially require the Government to obtain the permission of Parliament to walk away from the talks empty-handed. But we can worry about lobbying MPs on that amendment if/when it passes. It’s important to strike while the iron is hot on the amendment that has certainly passed.
Thank a Lord & lobby an MP today.