House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, for criminal cases from England and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population; as authorised by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3, Section 23 and s. 23, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was formally established on 1 October 2009. It assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords, exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, the 12 judges appointed as members of the House of Lords to carry out its judicial business as the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, its jurisdiction over devolution matters had been exercised by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The current President of the Supreme Court is Baroness Hale of Richmond, its Deputy President is Lord Reed; the United Kingdom has a doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, so the Supreme Court is much more limited in its powers of judicial review than the constitutional or supreme courts of some other countries.
It cannot overturn any primary legislation made by Parliament. However, it can overturn secondary legislation if, for example, that legislation is found to be ultra vires to the powers in primary legislation allowing it to be made. Further, under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the Supreme Court, like some other courts in the United Kingdom, may make a declaration of incompatibility, indicating that it believes that the legislation subject to the declaration is incompatible with one of the rights in the European Convention on Human Rights; such a declaration can apply to secondary legislation. The legislation is not overturned by the declaration, neither Parliament nor the government is required to agree with any such declaration. However, if they do accept a declaration, ministers can exercise powers under section 10 of the act to amend the legislation by statutory instrument to remove the incompatibility or ask Parliament to amend the legislation; the creation of a Supreme Court for the United Kingdom was first mooted in a consultation paper published by the Department of Constitutional Affairs in July 2003.
Although the paper noted that there had been no criticism of the then-current Law Lords or any indication of an actual bias, it argued that the separation of the judicial functions of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords from the legislative functions of the House of Lords should be made explicit. The paper noted the following concerns: Whether there was any longer sufficient transparency of independence from the executive and the legislature to give assurance of the independence of the judiciary; the requirement for the appearance of impartiality and independence limited the ability of the Law Lords to contribute to the work of the House itself, thus reducing the value to both them and the House of their membership. It was not always understood by the public that judicial decisions of "the House of Lords" were in fact taken by the Judicial Committee and that non-judicial members were never involved in the judgments. Conversely, it was felt that the extent to which the Law Lords themselves had decided to refrain from getting involved in political issues in relation to legislation on which they might have had to adjudicate was not always appreciated.
The new President of the Court, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, has claimed that the old system had confused people and that with the Supreme Court there would for the first time be a clear separation of powers among the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. Space within the House of Lords was at a constant premium and a separate supreme court would ease the pressure on the Palace of Westminster; the main argument against a new Supreme Court was that the previous system had worked well and kept costs down. Reformers expressed concern that this second main example of a mixture of the legislative and executive might conflict with professed values under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Officials who make or execute laws have an interest in court cases; when the state invests judicial authority in those officials or their day-to-day colleagues, it puts the independence and impartiality of the courts at risk. It was hypothesised connected decisions of the Law Lords to debates had by friends or on which the Lord Chancellor had expressed a view might be challenged on Human Rights grounds on the basis that they had not constituted a fair trial.
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury President of the Supreme Court, expressed fear that the new court could make itself more powerful than the House of Lords committee it succeeded, saying that there is a real risk of "judges arrogating to themselves greater power than they have at the moment". Lord Phillips said such an outcome was "a possibility", but was "unlikely"; the reforms were controversial and were brought forward with little consultation but were subsequently extensively debated in Parliament. During 2004, a select committee of the House of Lords scrutinised the arguments for and against setting up a new court; the Government estimated the set-up cost of the Supreme Court at £56.9 million. As authorised by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3, Section 23 and s. 23, the Supreme Court was formally established on 1 October 2009. It assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords, exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, the 12 professional judges appointed as members of the House of Lords to carry out its judicial business.
Its jurisdiction over devolution matters had been exercised
Constitution of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution such as other countries tend to have. Instead of such a constitution, certain documents stand to serve as replacements in lieu of one; these texts and their provisions therein are considered to be constitutional, such that the "constitution of the United Kingdom" or "British constitution" may refer to a number of historical and momentous laws and principles like the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800 which formulate the country's body politic. Thus the term "UK constitution" is sometimes said to refer to an "unwritten" or uncodified constitution; the British constitution draws from four sources: statute law, common law, parliamentary conventions, works of authority. Similar to a constitutional document, it concerns both the relationship between the individual and the state and the functioning of the legislature, the executive, the judiciary. Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the concept of parliamentary sovereignty has been the bedrock of the British legislative constitution.
The statutes passed by Parliament are the supreme and final source of law in the UK. It follows that Parliament can change the constitution by passing new statutes through Acts of Parliament. There has been some debate about whether parliamentary sovereignty remained intact in the light of the UK's membership in the European Union, an argument, used by proponents of leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum. Another core constitutional principle, the rule of law, is a phrase, popularized by legal scholar Albert Dicey in his 1885 work Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, recognized by the British Parliament as a work of authority on the constitution. Acts of Parliament are bills which have received the approval of Parliament – that is, the Monarch, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. On rare occasions, the House of Commons uses the "Parliament Acts" to pass legislation without needing the approval of the House of Lords, it is unheard of in modern times for the Monarch to refuse to assent to a bill, though the possibility was contemplated by George V in relation to the fiercely controversial Government of Ireland Act 1914.
Acts of Parliament are among the most important sources of the constitution. According to the traditional view, Parliament has the power to legislate however it wishes on any subject it wishes. For example, most of the iconic medieval statute known as Magna Carta has been repealed since 1828, despite being regarded as sacrosanct, it has traditionally been the case that the courts are barred from questioning any Act of Parliament, a principle that can be traced back to the medieval period. On the other hand, this principle has not been without its dissidents and critics over the centuries, attitudes among the judiciary in this area may be changing. One consequence of the principle of parliamentary sovereignty is that there is no hierarchy among Acts of Parliament: all parliamentary legislation is, in principle, of equal validity and effectiveness. However, the judgment of Lord Justice Laws in the Thoburn case in 2002 indicated that there may be a special class of "constitutional statutes" such as Magna Carta, the Human Rights Act 1998, the European Communities Act 1972, the Acts of Union and Bill of Rights which have a higher status than other legislation.
This part of his judgment was "obiter" – and, was controversial. It remains to be seen. Treaties do not, on ratification, automatically become incorporated into UK law. Important treaties have been incorporated into domestic law by means of Acts of Parliament; the European Convention on Human Rights, for example, was given "further effect" into domestic law through the preamble of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Treaty of Union of 1707 was important in creating the unitary state which exists today; the treaty was between the governments of England and Scotland and was put into effect by two Acts of Union which were passed by the Parliaments of both nations. The Treaty, along with the subsequent Acts, brought into existence the Kingdom of Great Britain, uniting the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. Common law legal systems exist in Northern Ireland and in England and Wales, but not in Scotland which has a hybrid system which includes a great deal of Common Law. Court judgments commonly form a source of the constitution: speaking in English Law, judgments of the higher courts form precedents or case law that binds lower courts and judges.
However Scots Law does not accord the same status to precedent, judgments in one legal system do not have a direct effect in the other legal systems. Important court judgments include those in the Case of Proclamations, the Ship money case and Entick v Carrington, all of which imposed limits on the power of the executive. A constitutional precedent applicable to British colonies is Campbell v Hall, which extended those same constitutional limitations to any territory, granted a representative assembly. Many British constitutional conventions are ancient in origin, though others date from within living memory; such conventions, which include the duty of the Monarch to act on the advice of his or her ministers, are not formally enforceable in a court of law. Most are works written b
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was educated at home, her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; when her father died in February 1952, she became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ceylon. She has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, the decolonisation of Africa. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa and Ceylon, became republics.
Her many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and visits to or from five popes. Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012 respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee, she is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world's longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state, the oldest and longest-reigning current monarch and the longest-serving current head of state. Elizabeth has faced republican sentiments and press criticism of the royal family, in particular after the breakdown of her children's marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992 and the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales. However, support for the monarchy has been and remains high, as does her personal popularity. Elizabeth was born at 02:40 on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V.
Her father, the Duke of York, was the second son of the King. Her mother, the Duchess of York, was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, she was delivered by Caesarean section at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair. She was baptised by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May, named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, Mary after her paternal grandmother. Called "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she called herself at first, she was cherished by her grandfather George V, during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery. Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930; the two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford.
Lessons concentrated on history, language and music. Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's childhood years entitled The Little Princesses in 1950, much to the dismay of the royal family; the book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, her attitude of responsibility. Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character, she has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant." Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved". During her grandfather's reign, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as Edward was still young. Many people believed he would have children of his own; when her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to the throne, after her father.
That year, Edward abdicated, after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis. Elizabeth's father became king, she became heir presumptive. If her parents had had a son, she would have lost her position as first-in-line, as her brother would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession. Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College, learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses. A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed so she could socialise with girls her own age, she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger. In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured the United States; as in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain, since her father thought her too young to undertake public tours. Elizabeth "looked tearful", they corresponded and she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call on 18 May.
In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War. Lord Hailsham suggested that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada to avoid the frequent aerial bombing; this was rejected by Elizabeth's mother. I won't leave wit
British government departments
The government of the United Kingdom exercises its executive authority through a number of government departments or departments of state. A department is composed of employed officials, known as civil servants, is politically accountable through a minister. Most major departments are headed by a secretary of state, who sits in the cabinet, supported by a team of junior ministers. There are a number of non-ministerial departments; these are headed by senior civil servants, but are linked to a ministerial department through whose ministers they are accountable to Parliament. Departments serve to implement the policies of Her Majesty's Government, regardless of the government's political composition; as a consequence, officials within government departments are required to adhere to varying levels of political impartiality and neutrality. There are two types of government departments. Ministerial departments are led politically by a government minister a member of the cabinet and cover matters that require direct political oversight.
For most departments, the government minister in question is known as a secretary of state. He or she is supported by a team of junior ministers; the administrative management of a department is led by a senior civil servant, known as a permanent secretary. Subordinate to these ministerial departments are executive agencies. An executive agency has a degree of autonomy to perform an operational function and report to one or more specific government departments, which will set the funding and strategic policy for the agency. At "arm's length" from a parent or sponsor department there can be a number of non-departmental public bodies, known colloquially as quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations. Non-ministerial departments cover matters for which direct political oversight is judged unnecessary or inappropriate, they are headed by senior civil servants. Some fulfil a regulatory or inspection function, their status is therefore intended to protect them from political interference; some are headed by Second Permanent Secretaries.
Charity Commission for England and Wales Competition and Markets Authority Crown Prosecution Service Food Standards Agency Forestry Commission Government Actuary's Department Government Legal Department Her Majesty's Land Registry Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs National Crime Agency National Savings and Investments Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills Office of Gas and Electricity Markets Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation Office of Rail and Road Ordnance Survey Serious Fraud Office Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The National Archives UK Statistics Authority UK Trade & Investment Water Services Regulation Authority Office of the Prime Minister Politics of the United Kingdom Cabinet Office - UK Government GOV. UK - widest range of government information and services online A list of all public bodies granted Crown copyright
Judges of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Judges of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom include the President, the Deputy President, Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The Supreme Court is the highest in the whole of the United Kingdom for civil matters, for criminal matters from the United Kingdom jurisdictions of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. Judges are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, who receives recommendations from a selection commission; the number of judges is set by s.23 Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which established the Court, but may be increased by the Queen through an Order in Council under s.23. There are 12 positions: one President, one Deputy President, 10 Justices. Judges of the Court who are not peers are granted the style Lord or Lady for life; the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 sets out conditions for appointment as a President, Deputy President or Justice of the Court. That person must have held high judicial office for at least two years, or have held rights of audience at the higher courts of England, Scotland or Northern Ireland for at least fifteen years.
This means it is not necessary for someone applying to become a judge of the Supreme Court to have previous judicial experience. Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by The Queen by the issue of letters patent, on the advice of the Prime Minister, to whom a name is recommended by a special selection commission; the Prime Minister is required by the Constitutional Reform Act to recommend this name to the Queen and not permitted to nominate anyone else. The selection commission is made up of the President and Deputy President of the Court, a member each from the Judicial Appointments Commission, the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland and the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission. Should either the President's or Deputy President's place on the commission be unfilled, that place is to be taken by the most senior ordinary judge of the court, should both offices be vacant, by the most senior and second most senior ordinary judges of the court. Once the commission is formed, there are a number of people.
The first group is a set of "senior judges" defined by the Act who do not wish to be considered for nomination. Section 60 of the Act defines "the senior judges" as the other judges of the Supreme Court, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the Master of the Rolls, the Lord President of the Court of Session, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, the Lord Justice Clerk, the President of the Queen's Bench Division, the President of the Family Division and the Chancellor of the High Court. In the event that no judge from one of the UK's three jurisdictions has been consulted, the commission must consult the most senior judge in that jurisdiction, not a member of the commission and does not wish to be considered for appointment; the commission is also required to consult the Lord Chancellor, the First Minister of Scotland, the First Minister for Wales and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The selection must be made on merit, in accordance with the qualification criteria of section 25 of the Act, of someone not a member of the commission, ensuring that the judges will have between them knowledge and experience of all three of the UK's distinct legal systems, having regard to any guidance given by the Lord Chancellor, of one person only.
Once the commission has selected a nomination to make, this is to be provided in a report to the Lord Chancellor, required to consult the judges and politicians consulted by the commission before deciding whether to recommend a name to the Prime Minister, who in turn advises the Queen to make the appointment. The Act provides for up to three stages in the Lord Chancellor's consideration of whether to do so: When the selection is first put forward, the Lord Chancellor is entitled to accept the nomination, to reject it, or to ask the commission to reconsider it. If the nomination was rejected in Stage One, the commission must put forward a new name for Stage Two; the Lord Chancellor must either ask the commission to reconsider. If instead the Lord Chancellor asked for reconsideration at Stage One, the commission may either put forward the same name or a new one. In either case, the Lord Chancellor must either reject the name. In other words, the Lord Chancellor has one opportunity to reject and one to ask for reconsideration.
At Stage Three, the name put forward by the commission must be accepted and forwarded to the Prime Minister, with one caveat: in the event the commission was asked to reconsider a name and forwarded a new name, the Lord Chancellor may choose to accept the earlier name. The Supreme Court was established on 1 October 2009 and assumed the former judicial functions of the House of Lords, which were removed by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the twelve Lords of Appeal in Ordinary became judges of the Supreme Court, except for Lord Scott of Foscote, who retired the day before the Court began business, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, who resigned to become Master of the Rolls; the former Master of the Rolls, Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony, became a judge of the Supreme Court on its first day, the first
European Communities Act 1972 (UK)
The European Communities Act 1972 known as the ECA 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which made legal provision for the accession of the United Kingdom to the three European Communities, namely the EEC, the Coal and Steel Community. The Treaty of Accession was signed by the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath and the President of the European Commission Franco Maria Malfatti in Brussels on 22 January 1972; the Act provided for the incorporation into UK law of the whole of European Community law and its "acquis communautaire": its Treaties and Directives, together with judgments of the European Court of Justice. By the Act, Community Law became binding on all legislation passed by the UK Parliament. Arguably the most significant statute to be passed by the Heath government of 1970-74, the Act is one of the most significant UK constitutional statutes passed; the act has been amended from its original form, incorporating the changes wrought by the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon.
On 13 July 2017, the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, introduced what became the European Union Act to Parliament which makes provision for repealing the 1972 Act on "exit day", when enacted defined as 29 March 2019 at 11 p.m. but postponed by EU decision to either 22 May 2019 or 12 April 2019. When the European Communities came into being in 1958, the UK chose to remain aloof and instead join the alternative bloc, EFTA; the British government regretted its decision, in 1961, along with Denmark and Norway, the UK applied to join the three Communities. However, President Charles de Gaulle saw British membership as a Trojan horse for US influence, vetoed it; the four countries resubmitted their applications in 1967, the French veto was lifted upon Georges Pompidou succeeding de Gaulle in 1969. In 1970, accession negotiations took place between the UK Government, led by Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, the European Communities and various European leaders. Despite disagreements over the CAP and the UK's relationship with the Commonwealth, terms were agreed.
In October 1971, after a lengthy Commons debate, MPs voted 356-244 in favour of joining the EEC. For the Treaty to take effect upon entry into the Communities on 1 January 1973, for the UK to embrace the EEC Institutions and Community law, an Act of Parliament was required. Only three days after the signing of the Treaty, a European Communities Bill of just 12 clauses was presented to the House of Commons by Geoffrey Rippon; the European Communities Act came into being, Edward Heath signed the Treaty of Accession in Brussels on 22 January 1972. Denmark and Ireland joined the Community on the same day, 1 January 1973, as the UK; the European Communities Bill was introduced the House of Commons for its first reading by Geoffrey Rippon, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 26 January 1972. On 17 February 1972, the House of Commons voted narrowly by 309-301 in favour of the Bill at its second reading, after three days of intense debate. Just before the vote the Prime Minister Edward Heath argued his case in the debate with the following words.
The Bill passed on to Committee Stage before its third reading. During this discussion in the House of Commons, MPs pointed out that the Government had structured the European Communities Bill so that Parliament could debate the technical issues about how the treaty enactment would occur but could not debate the treaty of accession itself and decried this sacrifice of Parliament's sovereignty to the Government's desire to join the European project. On 13 July 1972, the House of Commons voted 301-284 in favour of the Bill in its third and final reading before passing on to the House of Lords. Before the vote took place, Geoffrey Rippon argued in the House of Commons before the vote: The Bill passed to the House of Lords; the Act received Royal Assent on 17 October, the UK's instrument of ratification of the Treaty of Accession was deposited the next day with the Italian government as required by the Treaty. Since the Treaty specified its effective date as 1 January 1973 and the Act specified only "entry date" for its actions, the Act and the Treaty took effect 1 January 1973, when the United Kingdom became a member state of the European Communities along with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland.
The European Communities Act was the instrument whereby the UK Parliament effected the changes required by the Treaty of Accession by which the UK joined the European Union. Section 2 says "the Treaties are without further enactment to be given legal effect" in the UK, it enables, under section 2, UK government ministers to make regulations to transpose EU Directives and rulings of the European Court of Justice into UK law. The Treaty itself says the member states will conform themselves to the European Communities existing and future decisions; the Act and the Treaty of Accession have been interpreted by UK courts