In an answer to this question user "Moo" claims that the Gina Miller case has not changed the current situation at all. Yet the Lords was able to force the government to hold a "meaningful vote" on an act that could be amended by Parliament as a direct result of that case.

If it had not been for Miller's legal action and subsequent double victory (in the initial hearing and then on the government's appeal) would there have been meaningful votes?


This is a question which is getting somewhat close to opinion, since it requires soothsaying an alternative future, based on events which did not happen, but in terms of evidence:

  1. The victory in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union only directly caused the passage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act, which in its enacted form did not contain any provision for meaningful votes, but did place the term in the media during its passage through the House of Lords.

  2. A "meaningful" vote became statue in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which in section 13 required parliamentary approval of the withdrawal agreement and future relationship. Since this act also repeals the European Communities Act 1972 (i.e. the basis for UK law tracking EU law) it or something like it would very likely have needed to be passed, regardless.

So the question comes down to "without R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union", would anti-hard Brexit feeling have been strong enough to make Parliament introduce a check on the Conservative minority government?". I lean to "yes", but an alternative history novel in which they didn't isn't totally out of this world.

  • How about the fact that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act included the provision that the final withdrawal legislation would be amendable, giving Parliament the opportunity to both reject it and alter it to offer a viable alternative to crashing out with no deal, thus allowing the decision to be "meaningful"? – user May 29 '19 at 11:03
  • 1
    @user Would you mind pointing to that provision? I can't see it in the enacted text legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/9/pdfs/ukpga_20170009_en.pdf – origimbo May 29 '19 at 11:22
  • Clause 9 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/16/pdfs/ukpga_20180016_en.pdf – user May 29 '19 at 14:16
  • 1
    @user Ah, you meant the Great Repeal Bill, not the Miller induced one. That particular language wasn't in the bill as originally introduced publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0005/… and appeared along with the meaningful vote section. If you're arguing Miller was important, then you'd say that wouldn't have happened, with the Lords choosing to vote differently. If you're arguing the opposite, then the planning for the bill dates to before the Miller decision, and you'd argue the changes that happened would have been forced anyway. – origimbo May 29 '19 at 14:47
  • the original plan was to have no way for Parliament to amend it, so it wouldn't have been a very meaningful choice: take it or crash out. Post Miller there was pressure on the government to offer a meaningful choice to Parliament, lest there be further legal action to force the issue. It seems that Miller is when the government's plan to ram it through unravelled, and the point at which calls for the meaningful vote became irresistible. I can't imagine they would have accepted it otherwise, especially as Clause 9 was changed after the ruling. – user May 29 '19 at 16:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .