The "meaningful vote" of Parliament on the final draft of the European Union (Withdrawal) Agreement negotiated by the  UK Government with the European Union, appears in the debates leading up to the enactment the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 ("the Act") but not in the Act itself.

Section 13 of the Act  in effect sets out  four criteria for this "meaningful vote":-

1. A Minister of the Crown laying before each of House of Parliament a statement that political agreement has been reached with the EU, a copy of the negotiated final draft agreement itself and copy of a framework document for the future relationship between the UK and the EU;

2. The approval of the draft negotiated agreement and framework document by the House of Commons;

3. The application of a procedure for the House of Lords to "take note" of the draft negotiated agreement and framework document and to debate it within a short five Lords sitting days' period; and

4. The passing of an Act of Parliament providing for the implementation of the withdrawal agreement itself.

These mechanisms are in addition to the general provisions for Parliamentary scrutiny of treaties, which are laid down by  the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

Section 13  of the Act provides for a Minister of the Crown to come back to Parliament to explain how the UK Government intends to proceed if by the end of 21 January 2019  no final deal has been reached with the EU.

This has all been supplemented in recent days by House of Commons' votes purporting to tighten financial and reporting controls over the Executive branch in the event of a likely "no deal" Brexit scenario.

In 1966 the late Robert F Kennedy ,  US Senator and Attorney General , was quoted as saying:-

"There is a Chinese curse which says "May he live in interesting times.". Like it or not, we live in interesting times . They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are  also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind."

"Brexit" may not have quite the apocalyptic significance for the World that underlay this statement but there is no doubt that these are challenging times for the UK and its deeply embedded parliamentary democracy. They are also challenging for the EU which has never faced the exit of a member country before.

Perhaps the final words ( for this Article ) can be left with late US Senator's brother, President John F Kennedy, who said in  a speech in 1961 ( perhaps paraphrasing Edmund Burke and/or John Stuart Mill, great political philosophers of the British Enlightenment):-

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing."

The UK Parliament and the UK Government are both hard at work and hopefully they will between then them produce a good outcome for the UK as a whole ( and indeed, as a result, for the EU).