Cookies: We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By continuing to use the site you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
House of Commons Hansard
x
17 July 2018
Volume 645

[Relevant documents: First Report of the International Trade Committee, Continuing application of EU trade agreements after Brexit, HC 520, and the Government response, HC 1042; Third Report of the International Trade Committee, Trade Remedies Authority, HC 743, and the Government response, HC 1424; and oral evidence taken before the International Trade Committee on 29 November 2017, on the Trade Bill, HC 603-i.]

Consideration of Bill, not amended in the Public Bill Committee

New Clause 12

Report on proposed free trade agreement

“(1) This section applies (subject to subsection (2)) where the United Kingdom has authenticated a free trade agreement (‘the proposed agreement’), if—

(a) the other party (or each other party) and the European Union were signatories to a free trade agreement immediately before exit day, or

(b) where the proposed agreement is authenticated by the United Kingdom before exit day, the other party (or each other party) and the European Union are signatories to a free trade agreement on the day the proposed agreement is authenticated by the United Kingdom.

(2) This section applies only if the proposed agreement is not binding on the United Kingdom as a matter of international law unless it is ratified by the United Kingdom.

(3) Before the United Kingdom ratifies the proposed agreement, a Minister of the Crown must lay before Parliament a report which gives details of, and explains the reasons for, any significant differences between—

(a) the trade-related provisions of the proposed agreement, and

(b) the trade-related provisions of the existing free trade agreement.

(4) Subsection (3) does not apply if a report in relation to the proposed agreement has been laid before Parliament under section (Report to be laid with regulations under section 2(1))(2).

(5) The duty imposed by subsection (3) applies only at a time when regulations may be made under section 2(1) (see section 2(8)).

(6) In this section a reference to authenticating a free trade agreement is a reference to doing an act which establishes the text of the agreement as authentic and definitive as a matter of international law.

(7) In this section—

‘the existing free trade agreement’ means the free trade agreement referred to in subsection (1)(a) or (b);

the ‘trade-related provisions’ of a free trade agreement are the provisions of the agreement that mainly relate to trade.”—(George Hollingbery.)

This new clause requires a Minister to lay a report before Parliament before the UK ratifies a new free trade agreement with a country that (before exit day) had a free trade agreement with the EU. The report must explain any significant differences between the proposed new agreement and the existing agreement with the EU. The duty to lay a report does not apply if a report on the agreement has already been laid under the new clause in amendment NC14. In addition, amendment NC13 provides that the reporting requirement does not apply if a Minister takes the view that, exceptionally, the agreement should be ratified without the reporting requirement being met.

Brought up, and read the First time.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

In calling the Minister to move the new clause—he is one of the most courteous Members of the House and therefore it may seem almost unnecessary to say this—I simply ask, not least in the light of what the Father of the House has just said, that he recognise that, although of course he must set out the Government’s position, possibly on a miscellany of different matters, we are short of time and that others wish to speak. In all propriety, if this debate is to be meaningful, they must be able to do so.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government new clause 13.

Government new clause 14.

New clause 3—Free trade agreements: Parliamentary scrutiny and consent

“(1) The Secretary of State shall not commence negotiations relating to a free trade agreement unless—

(a) a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a sustainability impact assessment conducted by a credible body independent of government following consultation with—

(i) each devolved authority,

(ii) public bodies, businesses, trade unions and non-governmental organisations which, in the opinion of the Minister, have a relevant interest, and

(iii) the public,

and the assessment shall include both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the potential impacts of the proposed trade agreement, including social, economic, environmental, gender, human rights, labour, development and regional impacts,

(b) a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a draft of a negotiating mandate relating to the proposed trade agreement, setting out—

(i) all fields and sectors to be included in the proposed negotiations,

(ii) the principles to underpin the proposed negotiations,

(iii) any limits on the proposed negotiations, and

(iv) the desired outcomes from the proposed negotiations, and

(c) the House of Commons has approved by resolution a motion, drafted in terms which permit amendment, setting out a proposed negotiating mandate and authorising the Secretary of State to enter negotiations on the proposed trade agreement on the basis of that mandate, and the House of Lords has approved a resolution in the same terms as that approved by the House of Commons.

(2) The United Kingdom may not become a signatory to a free trade agreement unless—

(a) during the course of the negotiations, the text of the trade agreement as so far agreed or consolidated has been made publicly available within ten working days of the close of each negotiating round,

(b) between each round of negotiations, all documents relating to the negotiations have been made available for scrutiny by select committees in both Houses of Parliament,

(c) upon conclusion of the negotiations, the House of Commons has approved by resolution a motion, drafted in terms which permit amendment, setting out the text of the trade agreement as negotiated and authorising the Secretary of State to sign the proposed agreement, and the House of Lords has approved a resolution in the same terms as that approved by the House of Commons, and

(d) the text of the trade agreement includes provision for a review of the operation and impacts of the agreement no later than ten years after the day on which the agreement comes into force.”

This new clause would ensure that all new free trade agreements are subject to parliamentary scrutiny and consent.

New clause 6—Regulations: Parliamentary procedure

“(1) If the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to proceed with the making of regulations of a type which fall under section 2(4A)(a) or (b)), he or she must lay before Parliament—

(a) a draft of the regulations, and

(b) an explanatory document.

(2) The explanatory document must—

(a) explain under which power or powers in this Act the provision contained in the regulations is made;

(b) introduce and give reasons for the provision;

(c) identify and give reasons for—

(i) any functions of legislating conferred by the regulations; and

(ii) the procedural requirements attaching to the exercise of those functions;

(d) contain a recommendation by the Secretary of State as to which of the following should apply in relation to the making of regulations pursuant to the draft regulations—

(i) the negative resolution procedure (see subsection (6)) or

(ii) the affirmative resolution procedure (see subsection (7)); and

(e) give a reason for the Secretary of State’s recommendation.

(3) Where the Secretary of State’s recommendation under subsection (2)(d) is that the negative resolution procedure should apply, that procedure shall apply unless, within the 20-day period, either House of Parliament requires that the affirmative resolution procedure shall apply, in which case that procedure shall apply.

(4) For the purposes of this paragraph a House of Parliament shall be taken to have required a procedure within the 20-day period if—

(a) that House resolves within that period that that procedure shall apply; or

(b) in a case not falling within subsection (4)(a), a committee of that House charged with reporting on the draft regulations has recommended within that period that that procedure should apply and the House has not by resolution rejected that recommendation within that period.

(5) In this section the ‘20-day period’ means, for each House of Parliament, the period of 20 days on which that House sits, beginning with the day on which the draft regulations were laid before Parliament under subsection (1).

(6) For the purposes of this section, the ‘negative resolution procedure’ in relation to the making of regulations pursuant to a draft of the regulations laid under subsection (1) is as follows—

(a) the Secretary of State may make regulations in the terms of the draft regulations subject to the following provisions of this subsection;

(b) the Secretary of State may not make regulations in the terms of the draft regulations if either House of Parliament so resolves within the 40-day period;

(c) for the purposes of this paragraph regulations are made in the terms of the draft regulations if they contain no material changes to the provisions of the draft regulations; and

(d) in this subsection the ‘40-day period’ means, for each House of Parliament, the period of 40 days on which that House sits, beginning with the day on which the draft regulations were laid before Parliament under subsection (1).

(7) For the purposes of this section the ‘affirmative resolution procedure’ in relation to the making of regulations pursuant to a draft of the regulations being laid under subsection (1) is as follows—

(a) the Secretary of State must have regard to—

(i) any representations;

(ii) any resolution of either House of Parliament; and

(iii) any recommendations of a committee of either House of Parliament charged with reporting on the draft regulations, made during the 40-day period with regard to the draft regulations;

(b) if, after the expiry of the 40-day period, the Secretary of State wishes to make regulations in the terms of the draft, he must lay before Parliament a statement—

(i) stating whether any representations were made under subsection (7)(a)(i); and

(ii) if any representations were so made, giving details of them;

(c) the Secretary of State may after the laying of such a statement make regulations in the terms of the draft if they are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament;

(d) if, after the expiry of the 40-day period, the Secretary of State wishes to make regulations consisting of a version of the draft regulations with material changes, he must lay before Parliament—

(i) revised draft regulations; and

(ii) a statement giving details of—

(a) any representations made under subsection (7)(a)(i); and

(b) the revisions proposed;

(e) the Secretary of State may, after laying revised draft regulations and a statement under sub-paragraph (d), make regulations in the terms of the revised draft if they are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament;

(f) for the purposes of sub-paragraph (e) regulations are made in the terms of the draft regulations if they contain no material changes to the provisions of the draft regulations; and

(g) in this paragraph the ‘40-day period’ has the meaning given by subsection (6)(d).

(8) The provisions of this section shall apply to all agreements for which regulations would be of a type which falls under section 2(4A)(a) or (b)), notwithstanding that they constitute retained EU law and may be governed by the provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 or any other legislation with regard to Parliamentary scrutiny of regulations under this Act.”

This new clause would set up a triage and scrutiny system under the control of Parliament for determining how Orders under Clause 2 will be dealt with, in circumstances when the new UK FTA or international trade agreement is not in the same terms as the existing EU FTA or international trade agreement.

New clause 16—Transparency in trade negotiations

“(1) The Secretary of State shall not make regulations under section 2(1) of this Act for the implementation of an international trade agreement (subject to sections 2(3) and 2(4)) unless the condition in subsection (2) of this section has been complied with.

(2) The condition is that the Secretary of State has provided to Members of both Houses of Parliament any information specified in subsection (3) relating to the agreement, within seven days of any meeting to which subsection (3)(a) applies.

(3) The information is—

(a) minutes of any meeting, whether formal or informal, between a representative of the United Kingdom and a representative of any other signatory state to discuss the agreement;

(b) any points of divergence between the terms of the proposed agreement between the United Kingdom and the other signatory (or each other signatory) and the terms of the agreement in place before exit day between the European Union and the other signatory (or each other signatory), that were discussed at the meeting; and

(c) measures that the Secretary of State considers will be necessary in consequence of any points of divergence under paragraph (b) of this subsection.

(4) The Secretary of State may specify conditions under which the information shall be made available under subsection (2).”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to give MPs and Peers access to details of negotiations towards trade agreements with third countries if and when third countries seek changes to existing bilateral trade deals which the UK currently has through the EU.

New clause 20—Approval of negotiating mandates (devolved authorities)—

“(1) No negotiation towards an agreement that falls within section 2(2) shall take place unless—

(a) a draft negotiating mandate in respect of that agreement has been laid before—

(i) a committee including representatives from each devolved authority and constituted for the purpose of considering the draft, and

(ii) each devolved legislature,

and

(b) the draft negotiating mandate has been approved by resolution of—

(i) the committee constituted under (1)(a)(i) and

(ii) each devolved legislature.

(2) The committee in (1) shall be called the ‘Joint Ministerial Committee on Trade’ (‘JMCT’) and—

(a) may not approve a draft mandate other than by consensus,

(b) shall have the power to make its own standing orders,

(c) may include a Minister of the Crown or representative thereof,

(d) may be consulted on a draft mandate before it is finalised (but in such a case must also approve the finalised version), and

(e) shall only include a representative of a devolved authority if that representative has been appointed by the relevant devolved executive.

(3) The ‘devolved legislatures’ are—

(a) the Scottish Parliament,

(b) the Welsh Assembly, and

(c) the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(4) The devolved legislatures shall approve the draft mandate according to their own standing orders.

(5) If the negotiating mandate changes substantively during the process of negotiations then negotiations shall not proceed until the revised mandate has been approved by the JMCT.

(6) Each person who is—

(a) a member of the JMCT, or

(b) a Minister of the Crown

must co-operate with every other person who is within subsection (a), or (b) in any activity that relates to the drafting of a negotiating mandate as referred to in subsection (1).

(7) In particular, the duty imposed by subsection (6) requires a person—

(a) to engage constructively, actively, and on an ongoing basis in any process by means of which a negotiating mandate as referred to in subsection (1) is prepared; and

(b) to have regard to representations by any member of the JMCT or of a devolved executive in any process by means of which a negotiating mandate as referred to in subsection (1) is prepared.

(8) The ‘devolved executives’ are—

(a) the Scottish Government,

(b) the Welsh Government, and

(c) the Northern Ireland Executive.”

This new clause would ensure that any negotiating mandate is first approved by the devolved legislatures and creates a joint ministerial committee to encourage co-operation between the devolved administrations and the UK Government in drafting the negotiating mandates. It imposes a duty of co-operation on all parties in the preparation of the negotiating mandate.

New clause 22—Right of devolved legislatures to scrutinise trade negotiations

“(1) A Minister of the Crown shall provide a devolved authority with such information relating to an agreement falling within section 2(2) as is reasonably necessary for the purpose of subjecting that agreement to scrutiny in relation to—

(a) all areas of that devolved authority’s competence; and

(b) anything falling outside an area of that devolved authority’s competence but having an impact within the territory over which that devolved authority presides.

(2) The information in (1)—

(a) shall be provided at the request of a devolved authority;

(b) may relate to international trade agreements at any stage of development including—

(i) before negotiations begin,

(ii) during negotiations,

(iii) after negotiations have been completed.

(3) An appropriate authority shall not rely on Part II of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in relation to a request made under this section.

(4) If information requested by a devolved authority would fall within Part II of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, a Minister of the Crown may provide it exclusively to a committee of the relevant devolved legislature.

(5) A Minister of the Crown shall adhere to any reasonable time limit placed by a devolved authority on the provision of information under this section.”

This new clause would ensure that the devolved legislatures will have sufficient information to effectively scrutinise trade agreements and negotiations, without compromising negotiations or sensitive information.

New clause 23—Devolved consent

“(1) No agreement that falls within section 2(2) shall be ratified without the consent of the devolved legislatures to any parts of that agreement that fall within subsection (3) of this section.

(2) The ‘devolved legislatures’ are—

(a) the Scottish Parliament,

(b) the Welsh Assembly, and

(c) the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(3) The parts of an agreement to which the devolved legislatures must consent are—

(a) any part concerning an issue that falls within the competence of a relevant devolved authority as defined in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1, and

(b) any part concerning an issue not falling within subsection (3)(a) but having an impact within the territory over which the relevant devolved authority presides.”

This new clause would create a right for the devolved legislatures to approve those aspects of an ITA that fall within their competence.

New clause 24—Review of international trade agreements (devolved authorities)

“(1) No agreement that falls within section 2(2) of this Act shall be ratified unless it complies with subsection (2) of this section.

(2) An agreement that falls within section 2(2) shall include a clause which provides for that agreement to be—

(a) submitted for review by the appropriate bodies after five years from the date of ratification,

(b) submitted for review by the appropriate bodies every five years after the first review, and

(c) ended or amended based on the outcome of the reviews in subsections (2)(a) or (2)(b),

without sanction under the agreement.

(3) For the purposes of (2) the ‘appropriate bodies’ are—

(a) the UK Parliament,

(b) the Scottish Parliament,

(c) the Welsh Assembly, and

(d) the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(4) The appropriate bodies shall determine the procedure for the review in subsection (2) according to their own standing orders.

(5) Each international trade agreement shall be submitted to a review by the appropriate bodies according to the terms in subsection (2).

(6) A Minister of the Crown shall have regard to any representations made by an appropriate body resulting from a review undertaken under this section.”

This new clause would provide for Parliament and the devolved legislatures to review a trade agreement every five years and for the UK to bring an end to that trade agreement based on the outcome of those reviews without sanction under the agreement.

Government amendments 36 and 37.

Amendment 6, in clause 2, page 2, line 20, at end insert “, and”.

This amendment would provide that the Henry VIII provisions in Clause 2 may only be used when a new UK free trade agreement is in the same terms as an existing EU free trade agreement.

Government amendments 38 and 39.

Amendment 7, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert “, and”.

This amendment would provide that the Henry VIII provisions in Clause 2 may only be used when a new UK international trade agreement is in the same terms as an existing EU international trade agreement.

Amendment 8, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(4A) In circumstances where—

(a) a free trade agreement in respect of which regulations are to be made does not make the same provision, subject only to necessary changes in terminology, as a free trade agreement referred to in subsection (3)(a) or (b); or

(b) an international trade agreement in respect of which regulations are to be made does not make the same provision, subject only to necessary changes in terminology, as an international trade agreement referred to in subsection (4)(a) or (b);

an appropriate authority must not make regulations under subsection (1) unless the requirements of section [Regulations: Parliamentary procedure] have been met.”

Government amendment 42.

Amendment 19, in clause 2, page 2, line 40, at end insert—

“(a) No regulations may be made under subsection (1) in respect of a free trade agreement unless the text of that agreement has been subject to consultation prior to its ratification by Parliament, in line with any guidance or code of practice on consultations issued by Her Majesty’s Government.

(a) A consultation under paragraph (a) shall actively seek the views of—

(i) Scottish Ministers,

(ii) Welsh Ministers,

(iii) a Northern Ireland department,

(iv) representatives of businesses and trade unions in sectors which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, are likely to be affected by the proposed free trade agreement, and

(v) any other person or organisation which appears to the Secretary of State to be representative of interests affected by the proposed free trade agreement, including local authorities.”

This amendment would require the Government to have published the text of each UK free trade agreement and opened it to consultation with business, trade unions, the devolved administrations and other parties prior to its ratification.

Government amendment 4.

Amendment 9, in schedule 2, page 12, line 5, after “2(1)” insert

“(unless the regulations are of a type which fall under section 2(4A)(a) or (b))”.

This amendment is consequential on NC6.

Amendment 2, in schedule 2, page 12, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”

Government amendments 71 to 74.

Amendment 10, in schedule 2, page 12, line 20, at end insert

“(unless the regulations are of a type which fall under section 2(4A)(a) or (b))”.

This amendment is consequential on NC6.

Government amendments 75 and 79.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I am delighted to tell you, Mr Speaker, that I can accord with your wishes and those of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke).

The Government have been consistently clear that the priority for the UK’s existing trade relationships as we leave the EU is continuity. Our partner countries are clear on that, too, and this Bill is about continuity. Specifically, clause 2 creates a power to help with the implementation of obligations of the trade agreements that we are seeking to transition into UK-only agreements as we leave the EU. I recognise that Members are seeking reassurance that the Government will be transparent about the content of these transitioned agreements and about what might need to change to deliver this continuity, which we have championed for so long.

Indeed, I understand the purpose of the new clause 6 and the associated amendments, tabled in the names of my hon. Friends the Members for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly), for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) and for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill). My predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea and Fulham (Greg Hands), and I held constructive discussions with my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon to ascertain how best we could help that transparency. As a result, the Government have tabled new clauses 12 to 14 and amendments 4, 36 to 39, 42, 71 to 75 and 79. I will now explain them in a little detail.

New clause 12 and the associated Government amendments will place a duty on Ministers to lay a report in both Houses of Parliament. This report will explain any changes made to the continuity agreements when compared with the existing EU third country agreements. The report will be laid in Parliament before the continuity agreements are ratified or at least 10 Commons sitting days before any implementing regulations are laid under clause 2, whichever comes first. We want these reports to be as helpful as possible. That is why they will signpost any significant changes being made, to ensure that existing trade agreements can function effectively in the UK-only context. Implementing regulations made under the clause 2 will also now be subject to the affirmative resolution process, which will further enhance parliamentary scrutiny. I have also committed that, for each statutory instrument made under the clause 2 power, the accompanying explanatory memorandum will be explicit in referencing which of the changes identified in the report it plays a part in implementing.

With amendments 44 to 47, we are reducing from five years to three years the length of the period for which the implementing power can be used. The period will be renewable by agreement in both Houses of Parliament.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon agrees that these amendments address the spirit of the issues he was seeking clarity on and provide enhanced parliamentary scrutiny.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

We raised concerns in Committee about the Government’s power grab in the Bill. For 40 years, we have subcontracted our responsibility for trade agreements to the EU, while scrutiny has been delivered through the European Parliament and by our own European Scrutiny Committee, yet the Government are not proposing any equivalent scrutiny processes for agreements that will replace those we currently have through our membership of the EU. This lack of scrutiny is a major issue, and we raised the concerns of business, trade unions, civil society, consumers and many more in Committee.

The Labour party submitted a series of amendments in Committee that embodied a full process of parliamentary scrutiny and extra-parliamentary consultation. The Government responded by saying that the new UK agreements would just roll over the terms of existing EU agreements and would thus need no process of scrutiny, having already been scrutinised.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Does the hon. Gentleman not accept that we are dealing with existing EU agreements that have already been scrutinised in both Houses of Parliament and that in many cases have already been in effect for a long time—in some cases, decades? It is important to have the ability to scrutinise the agreements if they have changed, but in general I think that he is barking up the wrong tree in alleging that this is an attempt to avoid parliamentary scrutiny.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The former Minister should have waited, because he anticipated my remarks: the Government’s delegated powers memorandum told a different story. Paragraph 46 noted that the new UK agreements would not just be legally distinct but could include

“substantial amendments, including new obligations”.

In other words, these will not just be roll-overs; they will be new treaties that can introduce wholly new terms of trade between the UK and our trading partners—terms that will be binding on us for years to come.

Government new clause 12 is confirmation that Labour was right to identify the problem here. It will require a report to be laid before Parliament before the ratification of any free trade agreement that will highlight and explain any significant differences between the new agreement and the corresponding EU agreement on which the new agreement is based. It is disappointing, therefore, to see this concession wiped out immediately by Government new clause 13, which will allow them to sidestep the obligation to lay such a report. It will also allow the Government to ratify new agreements without having produced the report in question. Government new clause 14 picks up the same point prior to implementation, but by this time the trade agreement will already have been ratified.

We will support new clause 12, but if the Government really mean what they say, they should withdraw new clause 13. We will also support new clause 3, which pays us the compliment of replicating the amendments that we tabled in Committee and which sets out the scrutiny process that should be adopted for new trade agreements.

The Government have already started work towards new agreements to replace existing EU agreements in their trade working groups. Talks are under way behind closed doors to determine what our new trading arrangements might be, but we have no information whatsoever about what is being discussed or where the new terms might come into play. I commend new clause 16, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea West (Geraint Davies), which calls on the Government to start providing some information about what is going on in those meetings. The Minister would do well to accept it as a friendly amendment.

Our amendment 19 addresses the lack of proper consultation. The Government’s alienation of the business community has been quite remarkable. Businesses will be relieved that we no longer have a Foreign Secretary whose policy was to “f*** business”, but they remain deeply concerned that we still have an International Trade Secretary who is not prepared to take an informed approach to the development of international trade agreements, on which they and the rest of our country will depend.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

My hon. Friend has just raised a serious issue. There is a great deal of concern among businesses and trade union organisations, which fear that the Government are trying to slip things through without proper scrutiny. Does my hon. Friend agree that that is the nub of the problem?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Following the Committee, six major business organisations —the CBI, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Engineering Employers Federation, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses—took the unprecedented step of issuing a joint statement with the TUC, Unite, the Trade Justice Movement, the Consumers Association, or Which?, and other industry bodies, calling for a proper model of consultation and scrutiny to govern the UK’s policy-making process in future.

The Secretary of State delivered his statement to the House yesterday, telling us about future plans for a more transparent and inclusive UK trade policy, but at the same time reminding us that the future process would not apply to the Bill or the agreements that correspond to our existing EU agreements. That is why our amendment 19 is so important: it provides for proper consultation on any substantive new elements in the 40 trade agreements that we need to replace the EU’s existing trade deals. The involvement of the widest possible group of stakeholders is essential if we are to ensure that the new trade agreements are properly designed to give our businesses, consumers, workers and public services what they need.

We argued in Committee that any regulations made under the Bill should be subject to the affirmative procedure in Parliament, not the negative procedure, as originally stipulated in schedule 2. I am pleased to see that the Government have agreed that we were right to insist on parliamentary accountability, as their amendment 75 provides that any regulations made under clause 2(1) will indeed be subject to the affirmative procedure. That is not the further extension to which the Minister referred; it is entirely new, and it removes the need for the triage and scrutiny system proposed in new clause 6. However, it leaves any regulations to be made under clause 1(1), in relation to the World Trade Organisation’s Government procurement agreement, subject to the negative procedure. The Minister did not explain the logic behind that, and I should like him to do so, especially given that amendment 32 will grant the Government the power to extend the disciplines of the GPA to new bodies if they so choose, not just to renamed or merged Government entities.

Worse still, Government amendment 34 will introduce what is effectively a further Henry VIII clause, in that it will grant the Government the power under clause 1

“to modify retained direct EU legislation”

in respect of GPA implementation. Members should note that that is a power in perpetuity, as there is no sunset clause in relation to clause 1. In Committee, we argued for the removal of all Henry VIII powers from the Bill, and we support the further attempt to limit those powers in amendments 6 and 7, tabled by the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly).

The Government have told us:

“Retained direct EU legislation will operate in a different way to both primary and secondary legislation”,

with

“unique status within the domestic hierarchy.”

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 distinguishes between “minor” and “principal” types of retained direct EU legislation precisely so that Parliament can apply more rigorous powers of scrutiny to the more important elements. A modification of principal retained direct EU legislation, as envisaged in amendment 34, could therefore have a constitutional significance analogous to that of modifying primary legislation. Introducing to the Bill what is effectively yet another Henry VIII power, with no sunset clause to limit its future application, is a serious challenge to parliamentary democracy, and the Minister has not explained why the House should countenance such a move.

New clause 23 would give the devolved Administrations the right to veto a trade agreement before ratification. I simply point out that international agreements are a competence of the UK Government under the devolution settlement, which is why we will not support that proposal.

In his statement yesterday, the Secretary of State recognised the problems that are caused when Governments sign off trade deals that do not have public legitimacy. However, he has failed to follow the logic of his own statement in respect of the 40 agreements that we need to replace our existing EU deals. Even given the Government’s concessions, the Bill is still woefully lacking in transparency and scrutiny, and such a democratic deficit needs to be addressed. As the CBI representative asked us during the Committee, “If not now, when?”

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to speak in the debate.

I served on the Committee, and it is clear to me that we should pass the Bill in order to build the legal foundations that we need to support global trade by ensuring that existing trade agreements via the EU can continue, providing access to overseas procurement opportunities—an important market worth £1.3 trillion—and protecting our business from unfair practices via the new Trade Remedies Authority.

There is much debate about the shape of the future trading relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, but the Bill is required for every situation that our country will face as we leave the EU. It seeks to ensure that we will continue to enjoy the benefits of trade deals that the EU has done with more than 40 countries around the world. There is, however, an inherent assumption that the UK will reach agreement on the terms on which we continue trading with our biggest partner, the European Union. Any “no deal” scenario is likely to have an impact on how rules of origin are calculated in the trade agreements.

This is complex stuff. I think we all understand that we are making big decisions that will have an impact on businesses—both large multinationals and small and medium-sized enterprises—which export to or import from the EU. As someone who has worked in car manufacturing, financial services and technology for nearly 30 years, I am unfortunately burdened with some knowledge of how all this works and of the operating models that have emerged over the last 40 years, making many industries, such as car manufacturing, finally competitive. In the real world there is no such thing as a hard or a soft Brexit; there are just degrees of risk. The Prime Minister is seeking a low-risk Brexit in her Chequers White Paper—one that involves listening to businesses that have built highly integrated supply chains, such as Rolls-Royce in my constituency.

Of course it is possible to find examples of car parts coming from outside the EU without a problem, but the question is one of both scale and financial impact. Only a business will have a truly accurate view on this, but it is safe to assume that introducing costs will have a negative impact on businesses large and small throughout the country. They will want to avoid going back to the days when supply chains were not highly integrated and efficient. They will need to hold stocks in warehouses or lorry parks. I am probably the only person in the House of Commons who has sat in customs waiting to rescue a stranded part while a car production line lay idle. Delays are quite simply the difference between profit and loss. The same applies to agricultural goods. We have a thriving growers’ business in Chichester, and export more than £1 billion of perishable goods to the EU every year. Customs delays and perishable goods are two words that do not belong in the same sentence. That is why I completely support the pragmatic approach to goods set out in the Chequers White Paper and I believe it will also enable us to make future international trade agreements as envisaged in this Bill.

But as well as achieving these outcomes, we have to respect the referendum result. The British people voted to end freedom of movement and to get back control of their borders, laws and money. We can all have views on whether a better deal could be negotiated. These are views, not facts. However, I cannot help thinking that if we had been offered a deal a few years ago that ended free movement, stopped future payments to the EU, continued frictionless trade, and regained control over our fisheries and farming policies with no hard border in Northern Ireland, we would have readily agreed; in fact, we would have bitten the EU’s hand off.

Every successful negotiation requires compromise, and perhaps the Rolling Stones express our current predicament best in one of their greatest songs: “You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you can get what you need.”

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.
The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Order. In calling in a moment the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas), principally to speak to her new clause and in the knowledge that she is a celebrated and award-winning parliamentarian, I feel that I can say with total confidence that she will require no longer than five minutes to make her case.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Indeed, I do rise to speak to new clause 3, which is in my name and signed by more than 50 Members of the House from four different parties, and I give notice that I would like to move it when it comes to the votes.

This amendment essentially seeks to remedy the Bill’s failure to provide for a proper role for parliamentarians in the scrutiny and approval of trade agreements. At present, trade agreements can be negotiated, or renegotiated as is likely to be the case with many of the existing EU trade deals covered by this Bill, entirely under royal prerogative powers, essentially giving the Government free rein to decide when and with whom to start negotiations, to set their own priorities and objectives, to conduct the negotiations in great secrecy, and to conclude the deal without any meaningful parliamentary scrutiny. That not only sidelines Members of this House, but it also prevents valuable input by civil society organisations and the wider public. This Bill is supposed to help implement an independent trade policy following withdrawal from the EU, but it does nothing to put in place the kind of scrutiny and approval framework that should be required for an accountable trade policy in a modern democratic country. And this is the only legislative opportunity we are likely to have to put such a framework in place.

In his statement yesterday, the Secretary of State for International Trade once again sought to make a distinction between replacements for existing EU trade deals and future trade deals, but the fact is that effective parliamentary scrutiny and approval is needed for both, for it is increasingly clear that, contrary to the hope of Ministers, it is not going to be a simple case of transitioning, or “rolling over,” existing EU trade deals. Some or all of the countries in question are not simply going to be content to continue with the existing arrangements, and Ministers will have little choice but to negotiate a replacement deal. So while yesterday’s statement by the Secretary of State must be welcomed for its clear, if somewhat overdue, recognition of the current democratic deficit in the making of trade deals and the need to correct that if we are to have a modern, transparent and accountable trade policy, it needs to be applied much more fully and more extensively.

Unfortunately, the package of proposals set out yesterday falls well short of what is required, both because it does not apply to the existing EU trade deals covered by this Bill and because it does not go far enough. For example, it is welcome that the Secretary of State proposes a process for Ministers to set out their ambitions before embarking on a new set of negotiations, including scoping assessments, and the commitment to publish impact assessments is also a step forward, but the reality is that recent impact assessments by the Government on trade have focused purely on the impact for exporters, without taking into account at all the wider economic impacts, let alone social, environmental, gender and regional impacts and the effects on workers’ rights. So we need to see a much stronger commitment to transparency.

Most significantly of all, the Secretary of State’s proposals fail to give Parliament meaningful oversight of new trade deals. For that to happen, Members of this House need a guaranteed vote on the deal that emerges from the negotiations. Without that, all the other measures proposed by the Secretary of State yesterday risk being little more than window-dressing.

The Secretary of State contends that the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 is all that is needed. However, that process is an utterly inadequate rubber stamp: it gives Parliament a right to say whether a new trade deal should or should not be ratified, but does not enable Parliament to propose modifications. Moreover, as we know to our detriment time and again, Ministers can and do simply overrule Parliament and ratify the trade deal despite Parliament’s objections. In contrast, Members of both the European Parliament and the US Congress get an automatic vote. If this issue is about taking back control, why do we not take back some control in this Chamber and make sure we get the same kind of vote that other legislatures with whom we will be negotiating do?

Trade deals are not simply commercial negotiations; they are public policy negotiations and should be treated as such. Transparency, scrutiny and parliamentary approval should be embraced, not treated as a risk.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The hon. Lady’s new clause says the impact assessment should include

“both qualitative and quantitative assessments”.

Can she give an example?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

A qualitative impact would be the impact on the environment, for example. We want to know not just the economic quantity of the impacts in terms of how much trade gain we are going to get out of a negotiation, but the qualitative impact on the public policy areas that I am talking about. We cannot quantify necessarily the impact of a trade deal on our own environmental standards, but we can say whether qualitatively those standards are going to be degraded. That is why we need both those terms: we want to know the quantitative and the qualitative impacts. They are separate, and it is not that difficult to see the difference.

New clause 3 sets out the kind of framework we need. Before commencing the negotiation of a trade agreement, Ministers must bring before Parliament at the very least a sustainability impact assessment conducted by a credible independent body, covering not just the potential economic impacts, but also the social and environmental ones. The devolved authorities, businesses, trade unions and the public must be consulted about the potential agreement, as is required in the US. If the decision is to go ahead, Parliament would be required to give its consent to a mandate for the negotiations, setting guidelines and boundaries, a process based on the Danish model. The Government would conduct negotiations transparently, releasing texts before and after each negotiating round, building upon the procedure in the EU and following practices common in other areas of international negotiation, such as climate talks.

My amendment is a very basic and simple one. It is asking for things that are common in many other countries around the world, and saying that we should do the same.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

We are clearly in a very much better situation now with this Bill’s regulation scrutiny provisions than after the Second Reading in this House, and on that basis my recommendation will be that hon. Members do not vote for my new clause 6 or my amendments 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, but that they vote for the alternative Government amendments, new clauses 12, 13 and 14 and all their tabled amendments to clause 2. If the Government amendments pass, Henry VIII will have been banished from this Bill and a sensible compromise scrutiny system will have been inserted. The Government have listened and done the right thing and we should support them for that, but there are still issues, so let me explain my thinking.

This Bill applies to around 40 existing EU trade-related agreements involving some 70-plus third countries. This actually also includes some agreements that are concluded but are still due to be implemented, which I shall call collectively FTAs. It is estimated that 10 of the UK’s top 50 export markets are served by these EU FTAs, accounting for 35% of UK trade. I can therefore understand why the Government are keen for the UK to adopt these FTAs post Brexit, or “roll them over” in the terminology used by Ministers. In addition, I understand the practicalities of the situation: the Government have limited negotiating capacity and the idea of dealing with all of these 70 third countries and starting deals from scratch is undoubtedly unrealistic in the immediate term. Indeed, the average time for negotiating an FTA is seven years and the recent Canada deal took more like 15 years. So I understand that there is a lot at stake here for the UK, and I appreciate that the International Trade Department is under a lot of pressure to deliver.

Having said that, I do not think that the Department has covered itself in glory in its handling of these roll-overs. To start, I would make the point that we have been given a wall of silence. The International Trade Committee back in March asked the then Minister to prioritise these negotiations more, to publish a detailed timetable of the work-streams involved, to produce a risk register identifying clearly the agreements concerned and to have contingency plans even for where third countries have only given an assent in principle. It took the Government until 15 May to respond to the Committee report, and to call their response bland and non-committal would be an understatement. In the meantime, various leaks and rumours have been appearing, maintaining that some of the negotiations with third countries have not been going quite according to plan and that the EU has not been as helpful as the Ministers had originally thought it might be. This would include the EU telling us that it will not ask its FTA trade partners to allow the UK to benefit from their existing deals until the UK signs the final legal text of the Brexit deal. That could leave us with only a few months up to next March in which to negotiate the roll-overs.

Given all this, I have some sympathy with new clause 16, tabled by the hon. Member for Swansea West (Geraint Davies), which demands further details of the status of these proposed roll-over deals, and the Minister should acknowledge the frustration on this that is shared by everyone outside his own Department. We have received vague assurances from the Department that the roll-over discussions are going according to plan and that everything will be all right on the night. We are also being told that the Government need to have this legislation in place so that they can action the roll-overs, and that they need the regulatory powers to make this happen quickly if need be, including in the situation of our Brexiting with a no-deal scenario.

I am trying to show that the Government have asked for sweeping Henry VIII powers while keeping people pretty much in the dark as to what they might be needed for, and while providing little hard evidence of what has been achieved to date. Of course, UK business has also been crying out to know where we stand as regards these important overseas markets. I hope that the Government are right and that the roll-overs will take place as planned with no or few changes, but that does not mean that it would be acceptable that any material changes to the deals should just be waved through by Ministers without any parliamentary scrutiny. For instance, let us say that one of the EU third countries with whom we wish to roll over a deal says, “Yes, we agree that you can roll over, but let’s face it, you are a market of only 50 million people rather than 500 million, so we’ll agree to roll over, but only on condition that we also get 50,000 visas a year.” Under the Bill, that could be pushed through by Ministers on a negative order with no scrutiny at all. By the way, I do not see this as a remain argument or a leave argument; I see that as simply wrong. If Brexit is about returning power to Parliament, it is surely not about then just giving Ministers sweeping new powers, not least in a scenario where so little information has been given to hon. Members.

The Government have been maintaining that they wish to use these powers to roll over existing EU deals before possibly coming back to renegotiate substantive deals with the same countries, which would be subject to a scrutiny process yet to be proposed. However, I do not see why these same powers should not be capable of being used again after roll-over to make further changes to the same FTA during the five year period—a sunset period which, with a possible further five-year extension, is in my opinion much too long.

All those reasons led me to think that we have a real problem with these provisions and I therefore tabled my amendments, looking for a triage and scrutiny system. However, since tabling the amendments, I have had an ongoing dialogue with Ministers, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea and Fulham (Greg Hands) and more recently the Minister for Trade Policy, my hon. Friend the Member for Meon Valley (George Hollingbery). Discussions have been courteous and positive, and I am pleased to say that the Government have listened and tabled their own amendments—I think more than 40 of them—to clause 2.

This will mean that the first proposed statutory instruments related to an FTA will need to be laid not less than 10 sitting days after the issuing by a Minister of an explanatory report. The changes proposed in the report will then be cross-referred to in the related SI’s explanatory memorandum. Further, it is now proposed that all related SIs will be subject to the affirmative procedure, however material or immaterial they may be. This effectively takes away any need for sifting provisions. Finally, the sunset period is proposed to be cut from five to three years, plus up to a possible further three years following an affirmative resolution.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I have received many hundreds of emails from my constituents asking me to support my hon. Friend’s amendments in order to bring more transparency to the trade process. Can he confirm that the amendments that the Government have tabled today will meet their requests? I have had four times as many emails on this as I had on the White Paper.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Yes, the approach that has now been adopted is, I believe, a fair one, subject to some ironing out that might need to be done in the other place. Yes, it is a good deal for my hon. Friend’s constituents.

After no little discussion over the last few months, I think that the position is now very much improved. Let us keep in mind that a single FTA might have many SIs attached to it, so to have the report laid 10 sitting days in advance of the first SI, setting out all the changes in the proposed deal that will need to be considered, should be more transparent than just attaching a period for scrutiny to the SIs themselves. Furthermore, attaching the 10 sitting days’ time delay to the report will allow any comments that people wish to make to be made before the SI is laid, which is more effective from a review point of view.

I am concerned that these powers could be used multiple times on the same FTA—say, if different trading terms were agreed a couple of years after roll-over. I understand that this is not the Government’s intention and I believe that the effect of these Government amendments would be to prevent that, unless the proposed changes came within the scope of the initial report. However, if they did not come within the scope of the report, Ministers should be required to provide a further report. Clarification on this point, perhaps today from the Minister or in the other place, would be appropriate.

I note the insertion of a provision in new clause 13 saying that Ministers should not have to prepare a report on the proposed FTA in exceptional cases. Apparently the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 contains a similar provision. The Minister has assured me that this provision is unlikely ever to be used, and that if it was, a report would still need to be prepared and there would still be a need for an affirmative resolution. Again, I hope that the Minister will refer to this in his closing remarks.

A further issue is the need to confirm that the scrutiny provisions to be used on these FTAs will be those set out in this Trade Bill and not those in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This is provided for in my new clause 6. From discussions with the Minister, I understand that he has been advised that all regulations relating to rolled over EU FTAs will necessarily need to be dealt with under the terms of this Bill, but again, clarification would be helpful.

Yesterday we debated the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill, which itself contains its own powers to make orders. Although other colleagues have been focusing on that Bill, I remain concerned that the scrutiny system in today’s Bill ties in with that Bill. This is relevant because aspects of an FTA, which are customs related, will be dealt with by yesterday’s taxation Bill rather than by today’s Bill. The regulation provisions may therefore need to work in sync.

All hon. Members from both sides of the House have been involved in this, and I thank those who have supported my amendments. The outcome has not been a victory for any Brexit faction; it has been Parliament that has won this debate in upholding its right to review the actions of the Executive. Having said that, I would point out that more than 40 Government amendments were received within the last week. As welcome as they were, and while the principle of them is agreed, the details deserve a review by the other place. I have mentioned the interconnectivity between this Bill and the taxation Bill, and these would be good topics for further review.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I should like to speak to new clause 20, which is in my name and those of my hon. Friends. I shall also speak to new clauses 22, 23 and 24 and make brief reference to new clause 21. New clauses 20 to 24 combined are an attempt to provide and further strengthen a comprehensive framework for future trade negotiations. This is to ensure that the devolved nations are respected, consulted and fully engaged in trade deals, and that their voices and national interests are properly reflected in trade deals, from determining the negotiating mandate right through to reviewing progress on deals after ratification and implementation.

That is important because although the UK devolution Acts grant Westminster full power over international trade, the domestic impact of many trade agreements extends beyond the competence of Westminster. The devolved Administrations have responsibility for a broad range of policy issues including health, education, agriculture and the environment, and many modern trade agreements include provisions with the potential to lower environmental standards, open up public services to privatisation, expand intellectual property rights or risk increasing the cost of medicines. Those agreements can encroach on the devolved Administrations’ policy space, restricting their ability to make public policy in those areas. That is something that none of us wants to see.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

My hon. Friend is making an important point, and he is not asking to reinvent the wheel. In Canada, the International Trade Committee heard evidence from John Weekes, who is an ambassador to the World Trade Organisation and also a Canadian negotiator. He said that squaring off the provinces of Canada, though adding to complexity, made for better trade deals and a more harmonious Canada. Canada is obviously more interested in keeping itself together than the current United Kingdom is.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

My hon. Friend the Chair of the International Trade Committee makes an important point. We have already seen the impact of sub-state Parliaments in Europe on previous European trade deal discussions. Indeed, my hon. Friend is right that we have seen the impact of provincial governments in Canada, and we would do well to take that on board here. In a sense, that is what my new clauses are about.

New clause 20 sets the role of the devolved Administrations in helping to approve the negotiating mandate. It suggests that a joint ministerial committee on trade be set up with representatives from all the devolved Administrations, that that committee be required to reach consensus on any draft negotiating mandate, and that it be revisited if the mandate changes during the negotiations. New clause 20 also requires that the consent of the Scottish Parliament and the other devolved Administrations be secured specifically for areas under devolved control that may be affected by a trade deal. That is not a veto, as the Labour Front-Bench team would describe it; it represents responsibility for the areas that the devolved Governments have responsibility for. In short, new clause 20 ensures that any negotiating mandate is first approved by the devolved legislatures and that a joint ministerial committee is created to co-operate and agree the mandate.

New clause 21 lays out the process to include the devolved nations during negotiations, which would happen by ensuring that a negotiator from each of the nations would be on the UK negotiating team for each deal. New clause 22 ensures that Members of the Scottish Parliament and of the other Administrations should be given the legal right to see negotiating texts and scrutinise the negotiations from the perspective of the impact they might have on devolved competencies. I welcome what the Secretary of State for International Trade said yesterday about sharing information, but I got the impression that he would not go as far as new clause 22 seeks. However, the change is necessary so that the devolved Administrations can actually see what the real impact on their competencies might be.

New clause 23 creates a right for the devolved legislatures to approve those aspects of a trade deal that fall within their competence. Again, that is not a veto; it is responsibility for the things that they do. New clause 24 lays out that a trade agreement should be reviewed every five years by the UK Government, who should have the power to propose changes or even withdraw from it if necessary. The devolved Administrations should have an input and be able to propose changes and make recommendations to the UK Government. If we want the public to have confidence in our trade arrangements and if we want them to believe that trade agreements will benefit everyone in all the nations of the UK, we must ensure that proper structures are in place to include, formally and on a statutory basis, representatives from all the Administrations.

I will finish with why we want to make these changes. The Secretary of State said yesterday that he hoped soon to be able to announce the countries with which he wanted to start negotiating. When the dust has settled on Brexit in a year or two, I hope that he can come back to the Dispatch Box and announce a fantastic deal with a new third country. He may well say, “We’re going to sell hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of new Nissan cars from Sunderland.” Brilliant. However, if the quid pro quo is that the third country wants to sell soft fruit to the UK or have access to UK fishing waters—nothing wrong with that if that is the deal that is cut—even if there is a massive net economic gain to the UK, it would be a good deal for the north-east of England and a bad deal for the north-east of Scotland.

It is not seeking a veto or anything unusual to ask that the devolved Administrations be involved on a statutory basis. It is common sense to have equality and equity so that the devolved Administrations can have an input on a statutory basis throughout the process to ensure that the national interests of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are as protected as the interests of UK as a whole.

I am conscious that time is short. I hope to press new clause 20 to a vote and then we can move on to the other groups of amendments as quickly as possible.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.
The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Order. We are very constrained for time, and I know that the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham)—great diplomat of international renown that he is—will not absorb the House’s attention for more than five minutes, but we will savour those five minutes.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I welcome the Minister’s announcement that today’s debate is about continuity and transparency, but the truth is that it is laced with a cocktail of amendments with very different agendas. The two most popular agendas represent attempts to lock us into either the or a customs union, as in new clause 5, or to secure a customs union were the negotiations to fail to secure frictionless FTAs, which is in new clause 18. That would be the clearest invitation to the European Union to refuse those negotiations. The third one[Interruption.] Be patient.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I hope it is a point of order, not a point of frustration.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The hon. Gentleman is referring to new clause 18, which is in the next group. We have limited time and he is talking about the wrong section of the Bill.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Forgive me; because I was engaged in discussions at the Chair, I did not notice that. The hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) must focus with razorlike precision on the matters in this group. If he does not wish to do so, he must wait until we are discussing another group. If he can find a way of delicately relating his concerns to the group with which we are dealing, rather than one with which we are not, that would be in order.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. If the hon. Member for Swansea West (Geraint Davies) had waited but two seconds, he would have realised that I was precisely there with my third illustration of today’s agendas: the attempts to avoid free trade agreements altogether, of which new clause 3 is the most striking example, or to scrutinise them to death, as set out in new clause 20.

I wish to linger on new clause 3. It may appear to those outside this House that it contains reasonable requirements. It states that Ministers of the Crown should lay a draft of the negotiating mandate, setting out fields, sectors, principles, limits and desired outcomes of agreements that may well be an exact and absolute rollover of existing agreements that were negotiated decades ago. The truth is that this is the “we do not want any free trade agreements” clause. It would frankly be absurd to pretend that we could ever get anything done, given the requirement to ensure that

“between each round of negotiations”

of some 40 agreements

“all documents relating to the negotiations have been made available for scrutiny by select committees”,

unnamed and unnumbered. Those who drafted that new clause would clearly have been against the anti-corn laws of 1832 and against Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”. They would be against this country actually receiving anything at all in trade, specifically if we manufactured or produced it here in this country. Micro-management would run riot, and it would mean the end of all free trade agreements for all time. I therefore completely reject that approach.

My second point is that what we are talking about tonight ultimately comes down to difficult decisions about what type of nation we want to be when we leave the European Union. It has always been clear to me that if we are to leave the EU, we cannot stay in the or a customs union. It is bizarre that some Opposition Members do not see that our inability to decide our trade preferences, particularly with the poorer nations of the world that are currently disfavoured under the common external tariff regime, could not be significantly improved by having our own free trade agreements.

The next point—the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir Vince Cable) is a classic example of this particular school of thought—is that we will not be able to negotiate effective free trade agreements on our own once we have left the European Union and the customs union. I urge all those in this House who believe that to look closely at the potential of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the warm interest from all those involved in that complicated and important agreement in an area of vital growth to the world. The opportunity for us there is significant. We should not listen to those who put up new clauses that would get rid of free trade agreements forever, and we should seize the opportunities that leaving the customs union will offer us if we are to leave the European Union, which we are.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I will be brief. The Trade Bill is of course the latest part of the Brexit fantasy built on the illusion that the trade we lose from the EU will be made up by the US and, in particular in this Bill, by the continuation, without any change, of the existing 14% of our trade with third countries. We know from Donald Trump that we cannot rely on the US. This is about whether we can rely on the 70 countries and 40 agreements to deliver the 14% of our trade in the same way, and the simple fact is that, rather than negotiating as team EU, any country now looking to negotiate against the UK alone is bound to want a new agreement, because we are a much weaker party.

That is why, in speaking to new clause 16, I simply ask that MPs have information about the countries that ask for changes in those agreements. The current Minister and previous Ministers have claimed that no one is asking for any changes, but we already know that both Chile and South Korea are asking for such changes. This is about transparency and scrutiny.

As it stands, the Trade Bill gives Ministers the power to amend domestic law to match any new trading arrangements, so we are talking about Ministers having the right, behind closed doors, to change standards, to change tariffs, to change human rights, to enable visas, to change environmental protections, to undermine public health and to change workers’ rights. [Interruption.] There is a bit of heckling, but the reality is that in bilateral trade agreements if Ministers decide there will be different standards, rights and protections, that may be permitted without the scrutiny of this House. Indeed, tribunals and mechanisms like the investor-state dispute system could be introduced behind closed doors. All new clause 16 says is that there should be scrutiny of that.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

There is no time for me to give way. All I am asking with my simple amendment is that we have the power to know in advance when people ask for concessions. The Government should accept the amendment, because they claim that nobody is asking for any changes and that it is business as usual. If they deny the amendment, they will just be illustrating that, behind closed doors and under the cloak of darkness, we could see our protections and rights undermined.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

In speaking to the amendments on the transparency and scrutiny of free trade agreements, I ask the House to lift its eyes beyond the detailed scrutiny that will inevitably and necessarily take place in this House and consider whether we should not also be looking to join others not in the European Union but in free trade associations.

Pretty much every single country in the world is part of some kind of free trade association, whether a very close one or a much more loose-knit one—whether it is Mercosur in South America, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa or the North American free trade agreement. I therefore ask the Government to look at the European Free Trade Association, which is not synonymous with the EEA or with Switzerland. If it will have us, as I very much hope it will, EFTA would provide the ideal vehicle for both the withdrawal agreement and the transition arrangement of 21 months, during which time we will be members of the EEA, and for the association agreement thereafter.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The hon. Gentleman is fantastic in making the fundamental point that the rest of the world is in regional trade agreements. He is just about correct. Only five countries are not in regional trade agreements, which is what the UK is heading towards: East Timor, Somalia, South Sudan and, we think, Mauritania—

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Order. We do not have time for these long interventions. Short question, one sentence. Thank you.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Does the hon. Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) think it is incumbent on the UK to think again about being in that company?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.
The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Has the hon. Gentleman concluded his oration?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

indicated assent.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Magnificent. We are very grateful to him.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

This group of amendments is about parliamentary scrutiny, and in a way it is a shame that some on this subject are in later groups. The key thing I want is to ensure that appointments to the trade remedies authority are subject to confirmation by the International Trade Committee in the same way that the Treasury Committee has confirmation hearings on the Monetary Policy Committee and the Financial Policy Committee.

New clause 12 gives me a little tickle, a little laugh, because it says that Ministers will now come to report to the House when there are any significant differences in the free trade agreements we have as a member of the EU that will be rolled over. Apparently the agreements will be cut and pasted, and it was only at last year’s Conservative party conference that the Secretary of State for International Trade himself promised that, one second after midnight, all 40 agreements will be rolled over and available from March 2019. Well, it has not quite been going his way, because the Government have not got a single other jurisdiction to sign up legally to doing that.

In fact, many of the countries with which the UK enjoys free trade agreements by virtue of its membership of the EU customs union are now starting to say, “Well, we would quite like a few significant changes.” South Africa has indicated that it wants to use this opportunity to weave in a few differences—if it is to do a fresh agreement with the UK alone, maybe this is a chance to look at some particular issues. South Korea has done the same.

I challenge the Government to answer how they will roll over so simply the cut-and-paste free trade agreement we have with Turkey. Of course, in essence we enjoy a customs union with Turkey by virtue of our membership of the EU. Cutting and pasting our relationship with Turkey? Good luck with that one.

Our membership of these 40 free trade areas would be far safer if we remained a member of a customs union, which is of course the subject of new clause 18, to which my name has been added. I want to make sure the House has a chance to vote on new clause 18, although it is in a later group, because while providing a chance for the Government to try to get their way on the Chequers agreement for a free trade area on goods, there would be a customs union safety net in place if that did not work. We want to make sure the House has an opportunity to debate new clause 18.

The hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) mentioned new clause 17, which would similarly provide a safety net for the regulatory framework we currently enjoy for medicines. Some 45 million packets of medicines go between the UK and the EU every month. New clause 17 was tabled by the hon. Member for Bracknell (Dr Lee), and my name is on it, too. I hope we can press the amendment to a vote.

Today is the day that the European Union signs its free trade agreement with Japan. The UK is now benefiting, by virtue of our membership of the EU customs union, from a free trade zone with Japan that covers a third of the world’s GDP. By taking some of the decisions we might be taking to leave a customs union, we are putting at risk our stable and frictionless trade capacity with the EU, and now also with that wider part of the world. I hope we can stay in that arrangement and protect the jobs and livelihoods of our constituents.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.
The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Greg Hands, you have three minutes.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I welcome the return of the Bill to the House and, perhaps not surprisingly, I support the Government’s approach, having been the Minister responsible for the Bill until about three weeks ago. I commend the approach taken by my successor in moving a number of these issues forward, particularly in his discussions with my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly).

Parliamentary scrutiny is crucial for trade agreements, and we have seen the difficulties in recent years with trade agreements that have been insufficiently scrutinised, or where there was a feeling that there had been insufficient scrutiny—the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership perhaps being the most important example.

I very much welcome the Secretary of State’s proposals yesterday for the scrutiny of new trade agreements. Returning to where we started, it is vital to distinguish between the 40-plus existing EU trade agreements and what may happen for future agreements. No one should underestimate the importance of those EU agreements. With Japan being in scope, too, the volume of our trade that is done with countries for which there is an EU trade agreement—that is not the same as saying the volume of trade that is dependent on those agreements—rises to around 16%, which is an incredibly important part of our trade. As we know, none of these countries are in principle opposed to doing and rolling over these agreements. I have had productive talks with South Korea and South Africa, as I am sure my successor has. Various memorandums have been signed agreeing to transition these agreements. So I refer anybody who says that these countries have problems doing that to those agreements that were signed, for example, the one signed with the South African Trade Minister, Rob Davies.

I welcome the approach taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon and his agreement that we are now satisfied with and have coalesced around new clauses 12, 13 and 14. We are always trying to get a balance between ensuring that any significant change to a trade agreement is scrutinised by Parliament and not creating a laborious and cumbersome procedure that would potentially jeopardise the future of one or more of those 40-plus agreements. I am delighted that we seem to have reached that agreement. I have visited businesses that are directly impacted by some of these agreements, including the Ford factory just outside Johannesburg, which is very dependent on the EU-South African Development Community agreement, in terms not just of taking components for vehicles from the UK to South Africa, but exporting finished vehicles to the EU. The business voice is very much saying that it wants these agreements to continue—that is business’s principal concern.

Finally, I wish to argue against new clauses 3 and 16, and other proposals that seek to legislate now for future trade agreements. It is only fair that we look at the proposals made by the Secretary of State yesterday in this House and do not prejudge them by passing legislation today, as it would have an impact on future trade agreements. We must make sure we listen to all voices, so that they are included in consideration of where we take future trade agreements.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.
The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Order. I want to call the Minister to wind up at 3.25 pm, and I hope that the hon. Member for Bath (Wera Hobhouse) will take account of that.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. This Bill would not be needed if we remained in the customs union. The Government are repeating, like an old record, that, “Leaving the EU will transform us into global Britain, striking trade deals around the world. While striking them, we just carry over existing deals.” How realistic is that? Outside the EU, Britain is a much less attractive trading partner. Businesses invest in Britain because we are an entry point to the European market and the single market. Is it reasonable to think that the UK can negotiate alone the same deals it can when part of a block of 28 countries? Although some countries have indicated they are prepared to copy and paste over existing deals, others will be watching and waiting, reserving judgment to see exactly what access the UK will have to the EU after Brexit. For that reason, we simply cannot accept that existing trade deals will be copied and pasted; significant changes will come along.

I am pleased that the Government have recognised that Parliament needs some say in the matter by tabling amendment 75 and accepting my amendment 4. However, the Government’s understanding of parliamentary democracy remains pretty poor. Amendment 75 allows MPs to approve, by affirmative statutory instrument, any changes in the law required by one of these continuity deals. It is a take-it-or-leave-it vote. It is not amendable and it is not meaningful. That is why the Government need to meet the concern raised in new clause 3, which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) and which I support. People voted leave for different reasons, but nobody voted to make themselves poorer, to lose their job or to have food and product safety standards thrown out the back door.

With your permission, Mr Speaker, let me just say something about new clause 2, which is in the final group. The Government must be honest about the impact of any trade deals they sign and Parliament must be able to scrutinise this. The Tory leavers say, “Brexit is the will of the people”, but the Tories are in disarray, trying to work out among themselves what the will of the people actually is. As the chaos and confusion grows, it is time that more Members, on both sides of the House, joined the Liberal Democrats in supporting a people’s vote on the deal. We need to be honest with our constituents about the economic realities of Brexit and then give the people a final say on the deal.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I shall try to be brief, Mr Speaker. I thank the Opposition spokesman for his remarks, but I am going to limit my comments in return to saying that I am very disappointed that Labour Front Benchers could not welcome what is undeniably a good and robust scrutiny arrangement. We have hugely improved the position. The House will now have adequate and deep opportunity to challenge the Government’s proposals on any transitioned free trade agreement, and I just think it was a shame they could not say so.

The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) knows very well that this Bill is about the continuity of existing arrangements. The Secretary of State yesterday set out our approach to new trade arrangements in the House, with plans for extensive public consultation, continuous parliamentary engagement and the setting up of the strategic trade advisory group, and clear plans for engagement with the devolved authorities, civil sector and civil society more generally.

My hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly) asked several questions. I very much welcome his comments on our discussions and the fact that he is prepared to accept our amendments today. I can confirm that not all transitioned agreements will need clause 2 powers to implement changes. I can further confirm that it is not the intention to use powers in clause 2 to implement a transitioned free trade agreement more than once, although of course these will need to remain operable over time. In relation to the clause 2 power, “exceptional” is modelled on the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 process. The threshold is high and the flexibility provided is simply a matter of prudence. Finally, he asked for reassurance about powers in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. That Act allows regulations to be made that deal with matters arising from the UK’s exit from the European Union. The implementation of or transition to free trade agreements is not such a matter, so we cannot use that Act for the purpose of implementing a free trade agreement.

The hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) will know only too well that the Bill is about continuity: it is about not our future arrangements but our current arrangements. Yesterday, the Secretary of State comprehensively laid out our plans. We are committed to working with the devolved Administrations on our approach to the implementation of trade agreements that are signed after we have exited the EU, and they will also have a role in shaping the UK’s future trade negotiations. The Department held a successful deep dive on trade with devolved authorities in March 2018. A major outcome of that was the joint agreement on a regularised senior officials meeting, to take place every six weeks between the Department and the devolved authorities. A detailed rolling programme of policy and market-focused roundtables will take place over the rest of 2018. Beyond that, the hon. Gentleman has the reassurances that the Secretary of State gave yesterday on the devolved authorities’ participation. I hope that that at least gives him confidence that the Government are serious about their wish to negotiate with devolved authorities.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Will the Minister give way?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

No, I am afraid I will not.

Finally, I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea and Fulham (Greg Hands); my hon. Friends the Members for Chichester (Gillian Keegan) and for Gloucester (Richard Graham); and the hon. Members for Swansea West (Geraint Davies), for Nottingham East (Mr Leslie) and for Bath (Wera Hobhouse) for their contributions to the debate.

Question put and agreed to.

New clause 12 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 13

Reporting requirement not to apply in exceptional cases

“(1) Section (Report on proposed free trade agreement) does not apply to a free trade agreement if a Minister of the Crown is of the opinion that, exceptionally, the agreement needs to be ratified without laying before Parliament a report which meets the requirements of subsection (3) of that section.

(2) If a Minister determines that a free trade agreement is to be ratified without laying before Parliament a report which meets the requirements of section (Report on proposed free trade agreement)(3), the Minister must, as soon as practicable after the agreement is ratified, lay before Parliament—

(a) a report which meets those requirements, and

(b) a statement indicating that the Minister is of the opinion mentioned in subsection (1) and explaining why.”—(George Hollingbery.)

See Member’s explanatory statement for NC12.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 14

Report to be laid with regulations under section 2(1)

“(1) This section applies where a Minister of the Crown proposes to make regulations under section 2(1) for the purpose of implementing a free trade agreement to which the United Kingdom and another signatory (or other signatories) are signatories.

(2) A draft of the statutory instrument containing the regulations may not be laid before Parliament unless, at least 10 Commons sitting days before the draft is laid, a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a report which gives details of, and explains the reasons for, any significant differences between—

(a) the trade-related provisions of the free trade agreement to which the United Kingdom and the other signatory (or other signatories) are signatories, and

(b) the trade-related provisions of the existing free trade agreement.

(3) Subsection (2) does not apply if, at least 10 Commons sitting days before a draft of the statutory instrument containing the regulations is laid, a report in relation to the agreement has been laid before Parliament under section (Report on proposed free trade agreement)(3).

(4) In this section—

‘Commons sitting day’ means a day on which the House of Commons begins to sit;

‘the existing free trade agreement’ means the free trade agreement to which the European Union and the other signatory (or other signatories)—

(a) were signatories immediately before exit day, or

(b) where the report is laid before Parliament before exit day, are signatories on the day the report is laid before Parliament;

the ‘trade-related provisions’ of a free trade agreement are the provisions of the agreement that mainly relate to trade.”—(George Hollingbery.)

This new clause requires a Minister to lay a report before Parliament at least 10 Commons sitting days before regulations implementing a new free trade agreement are laid in draft under clause 2(1). The report is required to explain any significant differences between the new agreement and the existing agreement with the EU. The duty to lay a report does not apply if a report on the agreement has already been laid under NC12.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 3

Free trade agreements: Parliamentary scrutiny and consent

“(1) The Secretary of State shall not commence negotiations relating to a free trade agreement unless—

(a) a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a sustainability impact assessment conducted by a credible body independent of government following consultation with—

(i) each devolved authority,

(ii) public bodies, businesses, trade unions and non-governmental organisations which, in the opinion of the Minister, have a relevant interest, and

(iii) the public,

and the assessment shall include both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the potential impacts of the proposed trade agreement, including social, economic, environmental, gender, human rights, labour, development and regional impacts,

(b) a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a draft of a negotiating mandate relating to the proposed trade agreement, setting out—

(i) all fields and sectors to be included in the proposed negotiations,

(ii) the principles to underpin the proposed negotiations,

(iii) any limits on the proposed negotiations, and

(iv) the desired outcomes from the proposed negotiations, and

(c) the House of Commons has approved by resolution a motion, drafted in terms which permit amendment, setting out a proposed negotiating mandate and authorising the Secretary of State to enter negotiations on the proposed trade agreement on the basis of that mandate, and the House of Lords has approved a resolution in the same terms as that approved by the House of Commons.

(2) The United Kingdom may not become a signatory to a free trade agreement unless—

(a) during the course of the negotiations, the text of the trade agreement as so far agreed or consolidated has been made publicly available within ten working days of the close of each negotiating round,

(b) between each round of negotiations, all documents relating to the negotiations have been made available for scrutiny by select committees in both Houses of Parliament,

(c) upon conclusion of the negotiations, the House of Commons has approved by resolution a motion, drafted in terms which permit amendment, setting out the text of the trade agreement as negotiated and authorising the Secretary of State to sign the proposed agreement, and the House of Lords has approved a resolution in the same terms as that approved by the House of Commons, and

(d) the text of the trade agreement includes provision for a review of the operation and impacts of the agreement no later than ten years after the day on which the agreement comes into force.”—(Caroline Lucas.)

This new clause would ensure that all new free trade agreements are subject to parliamentary scrutiny and consent.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

Division 216

17 July 2018

The House divided:

Ayes: 284
Noes: 314

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83 E).

New Clause 20

Approval of negotiating mandates (devolved authorities)

“(1) No negotiation towards an agreement that falls within section 2(2) shall take place unless—

(a) a draft negotiating mandate in respect of that agreement has been laid before—

(i) a committee including representatives from each devolved authority and constituted for the purpose of considering the draft, and

(ii) each devolved legislature,

and

(b) the draft negotiating mandate has been approved by resolution of—

(i) the committee constituted under (1)(a)(i) and

(ii) each devolved legislature.

(2) The committee in (1) shall be called the “Joint Ministerial Committee on Trade” (“JMCT”) and—

(a) may not approve a draft mandate other than by consensus,

(b) shall have the power to make its own standing orders,

(c) may include a Minister of the Crown or representative thereof,

(d) may be consulted on a draft mandate before it is finalised (but in such a case must also approve the finalised version), and

(e) shall only include a representative of a devolved authority if that representative has been appointed by the relevant devolved executive.

(3) The “devolved legislatures” are—

(a) the Scottish Parliament,

(b) the Welsh Assembly, and

(c) the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(4) The devolved legislatures shall approve the draft mandate according to their own standing orders.

(5) If the negotiating mandate changes substantively during the process of negotiations then negotiations shall not proceed until the revised mandate has been approved by the JMCT.

(6) Each person who is—

(a) a member of the JMCT, or

(b) a Minister of the Crown

must co-operate with every other person who is within subsection (a), or (b) in any activity that relates to the drafting of a negotiating mandate as referred to in subsection (1).

(7) In particular, the duty imposed by subsection (6) requires a person—

(a) to engage constructively, actively, and on an ongoing basis in any process by means of which a negotiating mandate as referred to in subsection (1) is prepared; and

(b) to have regard to representations by any member of the JMCT or of a devolved executive in any process by means of which a negotiating mandate as referred to in subsection (1) is prepared.

(8) The “devolved executives” are—

(a) the Scottish Government,

(b) the Welsh Government, and

(c) the Northern Ireland Executive.”—(Stewart Hosie.)

This new clause would ensure that any negotiating mandate is first approved by the devolved legislatures and creates a joint ministerial committee to encourage co-operation between the devolved administrations and the UK Government in drafting the negotiating mandates. It imposes a duty of co-operation on all parties in the preparation of the negotiating mandate.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Division 217

17 July 2018

The House divided:

Ayes: 37
Noes: 316

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

Clause 2

Implementation of international trade agreements

Amendments made: 36, page 2, line 18, leave out “the regulations are made” and insert

“a draft of the regulations is laid”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 37, page 2, line 20, leave out “the regulations are made” and insert

“a draft of the regulations is laid”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 38, page 2, line 27, leave out “the regulations are made” and insert

“a draft of the regulations is laid”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 39, page 2, line 29, leave out “the regulations are made” and insert

“a draft of the regulations is laid”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 42, page 2, line 37, at end insert—

“(6A) In this section, a reference to a draft of regulations being laid is to a draft of the regulations, or the instrument containing the regulations, being laid before—

(a) each House of Parliament, in the case of regulations to which paragraph 3A(1) or 3B of Schedule 2 applies (regulations of a Minister of the Crown, or a Minister of the Crown acting jointly with a devolved authority);

(b) the Scottish Parliament, in the case of regulations to which paragraph 3A(2) of Schedule 2 applies (regulations of the Scottish Ministers);

(c) the National Assembly for Wales, in the case of regulations to which paragraph 3A(3) of Schedule 2 applies (regulations of the Welsh Ministers);

(d) the Northern Ireland Assembly, in the case of regulations to which paragraph 3A(4) of Schedule 2 applies (regulations of a Northern Ireland department).”—(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment proposed: 19, page 2, line 40, at end insert—

“(a) No regulations may be made under subsection (1) in respect of a free trade agreement unless the text of that agreement has been subject to consultation prior to its ratification by Parliament, in line with any guidance or code of practice on consultations issued by Her Majesty’s Government.

(b) A consultation under paragraph (a) shall actively seek the views of—

(i) Scottish Ministers,

(ii) Welsh Ministers,

(iii) a Northern Ireland department,

(iv) representatives of businesses and trade unions in sectors which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, are likely to be affected by the proposed free trade agreement, and

(v) any other person or organisation which appears to the Secretary of State to be representative of interests affected by the proposed free trade agreement, including local authorities.”—(Barry Gardiner.)

This amendment would require the Government to have published the text of each UK free trade agreement and opened it to consultation with business, trade unions, the devolved administrations and other parties prior to its ratification.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Division 218

17 July 2018

The House divided:

Ayes: 285
Noes: 315

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details
The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There is a great deal of concern across Parliament about the mysterious disappearance of the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir Vince Cable). He has been missing since last night. This morning, he was texting about being the only person really fighting Brexit. I just wonder if you and the parliamentary authorities could ascertain his whereabouts and whether he is indeed safe, and report back to me and all those people who are so concerned.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I would not want to take upon my shoulders such a major responsibility. I must advise the hon. Gentleman that I wish all the best to the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir Vince Cable). I have no reason to be perturbed on his account. I am not aware that he is indisposed, and I very much hope that he is not. The right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) is beaming in a mildly eccentric manner from a sedentary position.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Thank you for letting me raise this. On the same subject, have you had any concerns raised with you about the absence of the Leader of the Opposition in relation to fighting against Brexit for the past two years? Has anyone shared any concerns that they may have on that score?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I am not concerned unduly about either matter. They do not fall within the auspices of the Chair, but the point has been made by each right hon. and hon. Member, and I trust that we can leave it there.

Schedule 2

Regulations under Part 1

Amendments made: 4, page 12, line 5, leave out “or 2(1)”.

Amendment 71, page 12, line 7, leave out “or 2(1)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 72, page 12, line 11, leave out “or 2(1)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 73, page 12, line 13, leave out “or 2(1)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 74, page 12, line 20, leave out “or 2(1)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 75, page 13, line 30, at end insert—

Part 2A

Scrutiny of regulations under section 2(1)

Scrutiny of regulations made by Minister of the Crown or devolved authority acting alone

“3A (1) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(2) Regulations of the Scottish Ministers under section 2(1) are subject to the affirmative procedure (see section 29 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (asp 10)).

(3) A statutory instrument containing regulations of the Welsh Ministers under section 2(1) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the National Assembly for Wales.

(4) Regulations of a Northern Ireland department under section 2(1) may not be made unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(5) This paragraph does not apply to regulations to which paragraph 3B applies.

Scrutiny of regulations made by Minister of the Crown and devolved authority acting jointly

3B (1) This paragraph applies to regulations of a Minister of the Crown acting jointly with a devolved authority under section 2(1).

(2) The procedure provided for by sub-paragraph (3) applies in relation to regulations to which this paragraph applies as well as any other procedure provided for by this paragraph which is applicable in relation to the regulations concerned.

(3) A statutory instrument which contains regulations to which this paragraph applies may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(4) Regulations to which this paragraph applies which are made jointly with the Scottish Ministers are subject to the affirmative procedure.

(5) Section 29 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (asp 10) (affirmative procedure) applies in relation to regulations to which sub-paragraph (4) applies as it applies in relation to devolved subordinate legislation (within the meaning of Part 2 of that Act) which is subject to the affirmative procedure (but as if references to a Scottish statutory instrument were references to a statutory instrument).

(6) Section 32 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (laying) applies in relation to the laying before the Scottish Parliament of a statutory instrument containing regulations to which sub-paragraph (4) applies as it applies in relation to the laying before the Scottish Parliament of a Scottish statutory instrument (within the meaning of Part 2 of that Act).

(7) A statutory instrument containing regulations to which this paragraph applies which are made jointly with the Welsh Ministers may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the National Assembly for Wales.

(8) Regulations to which this paragraph applies which are made jointly with a Northern Ireland department may not be made unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the Northern Ireland Assembly.” —(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment provides for regulations under clause 2(1) of the Bill (implementing international trade agreements) to be subject to the affirmative procedure in Parliament when made by a Minister of the Crown, and in the relevant devolved legislature when made by a devolved authority. Where the regulations are made jointly by a Minister and a devolved authority (by virtue of paragraph 5 of Schedule 1) they are required to be approved in draft by both Parliament and the devolved legislature in question.

New Clause 4

Convention about Parliament legislating on devolved matters

“(1) Regulations made under section 1(1) by a Minister of the Crown, may not normally make provision which would be within the devolved competence of a devolved authority unless—

(a) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Scottish Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1), the Scottish Ministers consent, or

(b) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Welsh Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1), the Welsh Ministers consent, or

(c) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of a Northern Ireland department (within the meaning of paragraph 9 of Schedule 1), unless the Northern Ireland department has given consent.

(2) Regulations made under section 2(1) by a Minister of the Crown, may not normally make provision which would be within the devolved competence of a devolved authority unless—

(a) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Scottish Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1), the Scottish Ministers consent, or

(b) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Welsh Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1), the Welsh Ministers consent, or

(c) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of a Northern Ireland department (within the meaning given in paragraph 9 of Schedule 1), unless the Northern Ireland department has given consent.

(3) This paragraph does not apply to regulations made by the Secretary of State under—

(a) section 35 or 58 of the Scotland Act 1998 (as amended),

(b) section 82 or 114 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (as amended), or

(c) section 25 or 26 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (as amended).”—(Barry Gardiner.)

This new clause would ensure that regulations made by a Minister of the Crown within devolved competence require the consent of Ministers in devolved authorities in accordance with the convention about Parliament legislating on devolved matters while making clear that this does not alter the current powers of Ministers of the Crown in respect of international agreements.

Brought up, and read the First time.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 21—Right of devolved authorities to appoint negotiators

“(1) Each devolved authority shall have the right to appoint one member of any delegation tasked with negotiating an agreement with another state on behalf of the UK if that agreement falls within section 2(2).

(2) A devolved authority shall not make an appointment under subsection (1) unless the person appointed is reasonably competent to carry out the role of a trade negotiator.”

This new clause would permit the devolved authorities to each appoint one member of any negotiating delegation and would ensure that the person appointed is competent to carry out the role.

Amendment 25, in clause 1, page 1, line 15, at end insert—

“(1A) No regulations may be made under this subsection by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Scottish Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1), unless the Scottish Ministers consent.

(1B) No regulations may be made under this subsection by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Welsh Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1), unless the Welsh Ministers consent.”

This amendment and Amendment 26 seek to ensure that regulations cannot be made without consent from devolved Ministers.

Amendment 26, in clause 2, page 2, line 40, at end insert—

“(7A) No regulations may be made under subsection (1) by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Scottish Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1), unless the Scottish Ministers consent.

(7B) No regulations may be made under subsection (1) by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Welsh Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1), unless the Welsh Ministers consent.”

See explanatory statement for Amendment 25.

Amendment 27, in clause 2, page 3, line 3, at end insert—

“(10) No regulations may be made under subsection (8)(b) unless the Secretary of State has consulted with the Scottish Ministers and the Welsh Ministers.”

This amendment would require the Secretary of State to consult with Scottish Ministers and Welsh Ministers before deciding whether or how to prolong the period during which implementing powers can be used.

Government amendments 49, 50 and 61 to 63.

Amendment 28, in schedule 1, page 7, line 24, at end insert—

“(4) This paragraph does not apply to regulations made under section 1(1) or 2(1) by the Scottish Ministers or the Welsh Ministers.”

This amendment would remove the constraints on Scottish and Welsh Ministers in making regulations under this Act which modify retained EU law.

Government amendments 64 to 67.

Amendment 29, in schedule 1, page 8, line 5, at end insert—

“(4) This paragraph does not apply to regulations made under section 1(1) or 2(1) by the Scottish Ministers or the Welsh Ministers.

Requirement for consultation in certain circumstances

3A (1) No regulations may be made by the Scottish Ministers or the Welsh Ministers acting alone under section 1(1) or 2(1) so far as the regulations are to come into force before exit day unless the regulations are, to that extent, made after consulting with a Minister of the Crown.

(2) No regulations may be made by the Scottish Ministers or the Welsh Ministers acting alone under section 2(1) so far as the regulations make provision about any quota arrangements or are incompatible with any such arrangements unless the regulations are, to that extent, made after consulting with a Minister of the Crown.

(3) In sub-paragraph (2) ‘quota arrangements’ has the same meaning as in paragraph 3.”

This amendment would follow amendments made to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to replace a requirement to seek the consent of the UK Ministers before making regulations to be commenced before exit day, or regulations making provision about quota arrangements, with a requirement to consult.

Government amendments 68, 69 and 76 to 78.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I rise to speak to new clause 4, which stands in my name and those of my right hon. and hon. Friends.

The extent to which the Bill encroaches on matters of devolved competence and undermines the power of devolved authorities is of particular concern. I am proud that it was a Labour Government who delivered the devolution settlements. They were established with a presumption of full devolution, except in matters considered reserved to the Government of the United Kingdom. Indeed, amendments to devolution legislation contained in the Scotland Act 2016 and the Wales Act 2017 specifically put that presumption on to a legislative footing, stipulating that Ministers would not legislate on matters that fell within devolved competence without “normally” seeking the consent of the appropriate devolved Government. However, the Bill seeks to do exactly that.

The Public Bill Committee heard in great detail the serious consequences the Bill would have for the United Kingdom and each of the devolved nations and their respective Administrations.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

A little later.

Certainly, my good friend the shadow Secretary of State for Scotland has impressed on me the deficiencies of the Government’s approach, and it is with her strong advice that I have sought, in consultation with the shadow Secretaries of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, to propose a strong new clause that absolutely and even-handedly respects the devolution settlements and the Sewel convention.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Once I have explained a little bit about what new clause 4 would do, I will happily give way to the hon. Gentleman.

The provisions in clauses 1 and 2, taken with the Government’s latest amendment 34, would allow the Government in Westminster to use Henry VIII powers to modify primary legislation or retain direct EU legislation in areas of devolved competence, such as procurement, agriculture and food standards, without the consent of the relevant devolved authority—even without any consultation. That goes far beyond the convention of not “normally” legislating in matters of devolved competence without such consent.

Just as the Government have erred on one side by proposing in the Bill a disrespectful power grab downwards into areas of devolved competence, so the Scottish National party, in seeking to amend the Bill, have erred in the other direction by failing to respect the boundaries of the devolution settlement and seeking a power of veto and co-decision making in matters that were always reserved to the United Kingdom sovereign Parliament. We must be clear that international trade is a matter of exclusive competence of the UK Government. At no stage has any devolved authority had any competence in respect of matters of international trade, but I will deal with the Government’s amendments first.

Modern trade agreements are so complex and so extensive that there are areas where matters of trade competence do cross over into matters that would otherwise be devolved competence: food standards, animal welfare standards, access to fishing waters, determination of regulatory and oversight bodies, and so on. All these are the substance of international trade agreements, and where such agreements have been negotiated, a devolved authority is entirely right to consider that its consent must be sought prior to regulations to implement the agreement on such matters being made in accordance with the powers in the Bill.

That the Bill allows for Ministers to act in contravention of that convention and without seeking consent from or even consulting the relevant devolved authority is precisely why neither the Welsh nor the Scottish Government have agreed to give the Bill their legislative consent. That is why Labour said in Committee that it would table an amendment to require the convention to be observed, while ensuring that no power of veto was afforded to a devolved Government on matters that were the exclusive competence of Her Majesty’s Government.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I am just about at the point where I will.

Our new clause 4 would achieve this by setting out that normally the Government must seek the consent of the devolved Governments before making such regulations, ensuring that the convention is protected in the Bill, while similarly allowing the Government to use existing powers where a devolved Government act or—importantly—fail to act in such a way that ensures the UK is in compliance with its legally binding obligations arising from an international trade agreement.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The hon. Gentleman is getting this completely wrong. The Scottish Government do not want a veto; the Scottish National party does not want a veto. We recognise that trade is a reserved matter. Our amendments simply say that Scottish Ministers should be consulted, or their consent sought, when UK policy intersects with devolved policy. This is not a veto on a reserved matter. It is common sense. It is equality—it is parity—in respect of implications for devolved matters. Labour Members should go back to the drawing board, because they are simply getting it wrong.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I note the hon. Gentleman’s objections. We clearly have a different view of the nature of the devolution settlement. I will try to take his amendments in turn and explain to him precisely why I believe that he is mistaken.

Let us imagine circumstances in which a devolved Administration simply failed to introduce implementing regulation to an aspect of a trade treaty that that Administration did not like. It would be the UK Government, not the devolved Administration, who were held to be in breach and subject to any penalties that might be imposed. That is why the relevant devolution Acts provide that—not “normally”, but in such exceptional circumstances—the UK could implement such regulations without consent to ensure that the UK complied with its international obligations.

Of course, other amendments have been tabled on these issues. New clause 20, tabled by SNP Members, calls for the devolved authorities to have a right to vote on whether Her Majesty’s Government may exercise what is currently the Government’s exclusive competence to begin trade talks. Our new clause states that negotiating mandates should be formulated transparently and with formal engagement with key stakeholders, including the devolved authorities. However, a right of veto on whether trade talks can begin is a power that no legislature in the country—including the House of Commons—currently has, and it would constitute a substantial new power for the devolved authorities.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

My hon. Friend’s definition of a veto seems to be disputed by the Scottish National party. Does he agree that, in terms of initiating as well as ratifying any trade negotiations, if the Scottish Parliament withholds its consent, that is, in effect, a veto?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

My hon. Friend has put it very succinctly, and he is absolutely correct. That is why the SNP’s new clause 20 does not respect the devolution agreements; nor is it about ensuring that devolved authorities have a say. If that were the case, I would have expected SNP Members to support the amendment that we tabled in Committee, which called for the Joint Ministerial Committee to be convened to consult on the implementation of regulations under the Bill and on negotiations on future trade agreements. Indeed, our new amendment 19 would ensure that such consultation frameworks are established.

Similarly, in new clause 21, the SNP have sought to ensure that each devolved authority takes aspects of trade competence from Her Majesty’s Government and to provide for devolved authorities to have their own appointed trade negotiators at trade talks. Our new clause 4 could does not support that, because it could ultimately lead to several trade negotiators’ working against each other to secure the best terms only for their respective territories. Such a bunfight at the negotiating table would allow negotiating partners to play our own negotiators off against each other.

We believe that trade deals must ensure that benefits are delivered across the United Kingdom and that a whole UK approach must be taken to negotiations. That is why we have called for advanced consultation to ensure full and proper representation in those negotiations. It is also why we would have been happy to support new clause 22 had it been put to the vote. It sought to ensure transparency on trade talks, and it would have afforded a right to the devolved Parliaments to scrutinise all aspects of a trade agreement and related correspondence or documents as they so required.

Our new clause 4 would absolutely guarantee the right of consent to devolved Administrations whenever a Government sought to implement regulations to carry out their obligations under international treaties. What it would not do is give the devolved Administrations a power of veto over the ratification of international treaties, the negotiation of which is a matter for the Westminster Government. SNP Members would seek to secure the ultimate power of veto that has thus far eluded them in other amendments and that they have been very clear about seeking.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I am pressed for time. I know that you want me to conclude my remarks very shortly, Madam Deputy Speaker.

While other amendments are about consent before the making of regulations implementing obligations arising under a trade agreement, that clause would prevent the trade agreement from ever having legal effect, as it could not be ratified unless the devolved authorities had consented. It has been carefully worded, but its intent is clear: it is not limited only to matters of devolved competence, but covers all trade agreements in their entirety even if no aspect of that agreement would touch on devolved competence and even if absolutely no regulations were required to implement that agreement. New clause 23(3)(b) would ensure that any trade agreement

“having an impact within the territory over which the devolved authority presides”

was subject to this consent power. Quite clearly, every single trade agreement will be, as there will be exporters across the UK who can trade under the terms of that agreement. It is a thinly veiled attempt at securing the Wallonian veto power that the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown) told us in the Committee was his intention.

The Committee took many more pieces of evidence. I will not detain the House with them today, but simply say that new clause 4 absolutely respects the devolution settlement. It sets out the right relationship so that Government cannot overreach into devolved competence nor the devolved authorities reach up into powers that are reserved for this sovereign Parliament.

I also support new clause 19, but I will not detain the House any longer.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I shall speak to amendment 25 in my name and to amendments 26, 27, 28 and 29. New clause 21 is in this group, but I referred to it earlier so will not do so again now.

First, however, let me make an observation about the Labour party’s position. It seems to rely on the new form of words that the UK Government would not normally legislate or do this or do that in relation to anything that was a devolved competence. If we were talking about normal, reasonable people in normal, sensible times when they did not interfere at all except in extremis, perhaps we could accept that. However, they have taken the Scottish Government to court to undermine a democratic decision of the Parliament, so, of course, we accept the principles of devolution, but to make them work there now must be formal arrangements and consent must be sought. We can no longer rely on the formulation of the UK Government not normally doing x, y or z.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Does it not also show, sadly, a centrist approach from the Labour party, which cannot adopt the maturity of Trudeau’s Canada and scoffs at the fact that Belgium is not such a control-freak state that it can allow Wallonia some say in the governance of Belgium?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

“International” only goes so far—perhaps just to the white cliffs of Dover.

The Trade Bill among other things ensures that the UK can implement any procurement obligations that arise from it being a member of the GPA—agreement on Government procurement—in its own right and ensures that agreements with partner countries corresponding to the EU’s free trade agreements are in place prior to Brexit. If that is all the Bill did, and it maintained all the rights and responsibilities, it might not be great, but it would make sense and probably go through on the nod. The problem is that it goes further than that: it carries on from the provisions in the EU withdrawal Bill limiting the actions of the Scottish Government and other devolved Administrations in areas that are, or ought to be, devolved, and—this goes to the first point about the GPA—that includes procurement.

That is why when the Scottish Government lodged a legislative consent motion in the Scottish Parliament initially, it explained their objections to the Trade Bill with the recommendation that Parliament could not consent to it being introduced. While they welcomed the powers being conferred on Scottish Ministers, the LCM made it clear that they could not accept the constraints placed on the use of those powers, which were analogous to those in the EU withdrawal Bill.

Legislative consent is required for part 1 of the Bill, but is not required for some of the other parts. Specifically, consent is required for the purposes within the devolved competence of the Parliament, which is that the Trade Bill seeks to maintain continuity in the UK’s trade and investment relationships through two implementation powers: implementation of the agreement on Government procurement as an independent member of the WTO; and assisting in the transition of current trade arrangements by enabling, so far as may be required, the implementation in UK domestic law of trade agreements the UK intends to conclude after withdrawal from the EU. These powers may be exercisable within devolved areas, and that is why this is important.

The Bill also affects provisions altering and constraining the Executive competence of Scottish Ministers. That means that, as with the powers in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, UK Ministers are given powers, as are Scottish Ministers, in devolved areas, and that those powers are exercisable without any devolved consent being required. Therein lies the problem. We are not seeking a veto. We are not seeking anything different. We are simply seeking the same rights and responsibilities over devolved matters that UK Ministers are giving themselves. That is why we have tabled amendments 25 to 30, in order to remove some of the restrictions that are now in place.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I want to be able to understand whether this is a real problem. Can the hon. Gentleman give me a specific example of where he thinks the UK Government might assert a power that they should not assert, and how that might arise?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

That is a reasonable question, and I will answer it properly. Clearly we cannot tell precisely where the problems will arise, because we do not yet know precisely what the UK Government might do. Having said that, the Bill gives back to Ministers discretionary powers over procurement. In Scotland, because of the actions taken there, 78% of publicly procured contracts go to small and medium-sized enterprises, 60% to Scottish SMEs. The UK Government figure is 20%. If that power is taken back, and if oversight is retained by Westminster, there would be a real risk that we could lose that economic diversity and that fantastic achievement in a real-life area. That is a real concern that I hope the right hon. Gentleman will share.

I shall turn briefly to the amendments. Amendments 25 and 26 seek to address an issue in the Bill that has a direct read-across to clauses in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 that confer powers on UK Ministers in devolved areas without any form of devolved consent. No amendments have been made to the Act to alter that approach or to require the consent of Scottish Ministers when UK Ministers make regulations in devolved areas. Amendments 25 and 26 seek to ensure that the UK Government seek consent from devolved Ministers before amending legislation in devolved areas.

Before I move on, I meant to say that I recognise that Government amendments 64 and 66, and consequential amendments 65 and 67, now require Scottish Ministers only to consult and not to seek consent in certain areas. However, the number of areas is limited, and the amendments do not address all the problems.

Amendment 27 requires the Secretary of State to consult Scottish Ministers before deciding whether, or for how long, to prolong the period during which implemented powers can be used. That is important because there is no equivalent provision in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and because no amendment has been made to the existing provisions in the Trade Bill that allow the UK Government unilaterally to alter the powers of Scottish Ministers in relation to grandfathering trade arrangements for further periods of up to five years at a time.

At present, it is envisaged that the powers in the Trade Bill relating to the grandfathering of existing free trade arrangements with third countries would have to be used in only a very small number of cases that could not be dealt with under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act—for example, for reasons of timing. However, with so much uncertainty around the ease with which existing agreements will be rolled over, it is possible that this restriction could have a more significant impact, not least because many of the 24 areas likely to be subject to the clause 11 regulations—that is, the power grab—are highly relevant to the world of trading and trade deals. If left unamended, or amended only along similar lines to the amendments in the withdrawal Act, this provision in the Trade Bill would in effect allow the UK Government to change the law in devolved areas to allow for the implementation of these arrangements, which might not necessarily remain exactly as they are at present. In essence, that is close enough to having an ability to implement a new trade Bill with almost no consultation or consent at all. Our amendment 28 deals with that problem.

Amendment 29 is small and seeks a direct read across from the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. It would replace the need for consent from UK Ministers in certain circumstances with the need only to consult. As I said, I note the Government amendments in that regard.

We are not arguing for vetoes for Scotland nor for any sense of Scottish exceptionalism; we are simply looking at the facts, understanding what is going on and what needs to happen. If Scottish Ministers are required to consult or seek consent when Scottish parliamentary responsibilities intersect with UK responsibilities, we are simply arguing that UK Ministers should be under the same obligation to consult or seek consent where UK policy responsibilities intersect with those of the devolved Administrations. It was said in the last debate that that happens with the Parliaments of Belgium, and it also happens with the Canadian provinces. The world does not collapse when proper respect and statutory weight is given to the rights and responsibilities of sub-state administrations. It is common sense. We are trying to improve the situation to make it work and to ensure that our voices and our national interests are protected and that the rights of the devolved Administrations are respected.

Time is short, and we do not want many votes on this group so as to allow time for the last group, particularly new clause 18, which needs to be properly debated, but I hope to press amendment 25 to a vote.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I will not speak for long because our Front-Bench spokesperson, my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) has covered the issues well, but I want to talk briefly about why it is important that the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Ministers and the Scottish people in general should have more of a say in deals going forward than is proposed by the UK Government.

In recent times, the UK Government have not had responsibility for signing off and negotiating trade deals. They have not been the key player. Therefore, they have not been able to undertake some of the practices that we think they could undertake, so it is understandable that the Scottish people are worried given that we have been monumentally badly served by the UK Government over decades. Just look at the roll-out of universal credit, the bedroom tax, the rape clause and the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018—legislation that happened despite the Scottish Parliament refusing consent. All those things show the ways in which the UK Government are badly serving Scotland.

Until I was an MP, I genuinely thought that the UK Government were, at times, probably trying their best. When I got elected to this place, I discovered that when the UK Government propose legislation and we say to them, “Have you thought about how this will affect Scotland?” the answer is not that they are trying to do anything bad, it is just that they forget we exist. They just do not even consider the views of Scotland or the differences in Scotland. Look at how the common fisheries policy has been negotiated by the UK Government, for example. The way that the Government negotiated swaps removed quota rights from Scottish fishermen to the benefit of fishermen in the south of England. Such choices made by the UK Government have a direct negative impact on Scottish people. On that basis, it is understandable that we are worried that the UK Government will not take decisions in Scotland’s best interests because they may simply forget that we exist.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Does the hon. Lady understand that the common fisheries policy and international trade deals have been entirely in the power of the European Union? To the extent that they do not suit Scotland, it is the EU’s fault. Can she not see that power is coming back to the benefit of Scotland and the United Kingdom?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman did not hear what I said. The issue is that the UK Government have chosen to negotiate swaps that directly disadvantage Scottish fishermen. The concern is that the weight of the population in the south of England will mean that the UK Government continue to take decisions that improve life for people in the south of England without taking account of the fact that those decisions are detrimental to people in Scotland.

The amendments we have tabled would therefore ensure that, in decisions that are taken in this place—decisions on which the UK Parliament will have more power than it has had in recent decades—the voice of Scotland is heard, because we need decisions that do not disadvantage the people of Scotland.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

You catch me finishing off a Trebor extra-strong mint, Madam Deputy Speaker, and very nice it was, too.

At a time when the House is investigating bilateral trade agreements, my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen North (Kirsty Blackman) made the fantastic point that for 40 years the UK Government stipulated in their bilateral trade agreements, “London airports only.” It was only when they demanded that Iceland should fly to London airports and Iceland said, “There is no way we’re flying to a London airport to get the sleeper back to Glasgow,” that some change was brought about—that was relayed to me by the Icelanders themselves.

Trade agreements, by their very nature, require trade-offs, and there should be aggregate gains to the two parties involved. Within those aggregate gains, there will be people in certain sectors who lose. My International Trade Committee heard about that from Kevin Roberts of Meat Promotion Wales. He told us that some 80% of Wales is either upland hills or pasture and is suitable only for livestock farming, which is a fragile sector. About 80% of the net farm incomes of Wales come from EU subsidies, which is another matter.

Let us consider a situation in which the UK Government find themselves in a trade negotiation with somebody who says, “Do you know what? See if you could let us have some access to your market for our lamb and we’ll give you something else.” Wales would lose out. The aggregate gain to UK GDP would be increased—the right hon. Member for Wokingham (John Redwood) spoke on this point—but there would be a loss to Wales and there would be resentment in the UK to fiscal transfers back to Wales, which had sacrificed and given up things for the aggregate gain of the UK as a unit. That is one reason why many countries do not have the control freakery of the Labour and Conservative parties and allow territories, states and subnational Governments to have a voice at the table.

We should remember that Wales is not a member of the UK in the same way as Ireland is a member of the European Union. Ireland, as we have seen week in and week out, day in and day out, month in and month out, and hour in and hour out, has a real voice in Europe. In fact, some Brexiteers complain that Ireland is now the tail that wags the EU dog. If only that were a possibility for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland within the UK, there might not then be the concerns that my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) raised. That is why there should be some responsibility and some form of acknowledgement from the big beast of the UK—England, or the south-east of England—that it might gain from a free trade agreement at the expense of other places. We need some counterbalancing measures.

In a way, the Brexiteers are constitutional gold dust, because I want to see Scotland catching up with Ireland at the top of the EU growth league, rather than being at the bottom with the UK. This is putting a strain on the United Kingdom. As Laura Dunlop, QC, told the Exiting the European Union Committee:

“At the moment, there is a sense of a double-whammy: that the international arrangements, whatever they are going to be, will be negotiated by the UK Government, and then the UK Government will be telling the devolveds what they have to do to comply with them. The participation is minimal.”

That is an unsustainable way forward. It does not respect the words we heard in 2014, “Scotland, stay in and lead. Do not just be a part; lead the UK.” When push comes to shove, as we have seen all the way through the European Union withdrawal process, Scotland is shoved to one side. It is all rhetoric. If the Government had the grace to put some of their rhetoric into action, they would be accepting some of the amendments here today. This is not big stuff in any other country, so why is it a big deal in the centralised UK, both to the Tory Government and, sadly, to the Labour Opposition, who feel that they must also adopt the centralising approach. It is really disappointing from both of them.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

It is important to reiterate that the Government are committed to ensuring that withdrawal from the EU is a successful and smooth process for the whole of the UK. As set out in our trade White Paper, our intention, working closely with the devolved Administrations, is to seek to transition all existing EU trade agreements and other EU preferential arrangements.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

In a reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Ceredigion (Ben Lake) yesterday, the Secretary of State said the following in respect of having agreements ratified by the devolved legislatures:

“I would imagine that, in line with other agreements, we would seek legislative consent from the devolved Administrations where there were elements in which they were required to apply parts of those negotiations.”—[Official Report, 17 July 2018; Vol. 645, c. 51.]

Is that the Government’s settled view on this matter? Notwithstanding the shortness of time, will the Minister give us a brief example of how that would apply?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. What I can say on that is that the Scottish National party has already welcomed a number of measures in the Bill today. The negotiations are ongoing with the Welsh Government and I would hope that in due course we will reach those legislative consent motions.

As I was saying, this will ensure that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland maintain the greatest amount of certainty, continuity and stability in our trade and investment relationships for our businesses, citizens and trading partners. I am certain that all Members across the House support the importance of maintaining these trading opportunities for business across the UK, such as we see with the 10% of Scotch whisky exports that go to countries with which we wish to transition existing trade agreements. As parts of these agreements will touch on devolved matters, this legislation creates powers for devolved Administrations to implement them. These powers will be held concurrently by the devolved Administrations and the UK Government. That approach will ensure that where it makes practical sense for regulations to be made once for the whole UK, it is possible for this to happen. However, in the trade White Paper, and throughout the Committee stage, the Government have publicly and repeatedly committed to not normally use the powers in the Bill to amend legislation in devolved areas without the consent of the relevant devolved Administrations—and not without first consulting them. I make that commitment again today. As such, new clause 4 is unnecessary.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I take in good faith the assurance the Minister has given across the Dispatch Box that the Government would not normally do that, but surely he cannot equate that with having the security of that commitment in the Bill. He must accept that on this side of the House we have tried to be even-handed in ensuring that the terms of the devolution settlement are respected both by government and by the nationalists in Scotland. If he is simply saying, “Everybody must rely on an assurance across the Dispatch Box”, that is not good enough.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I say to the hon. Gentleman that the Sewel convention is well established. It has been in place for many years and it has proved more than adequate up to now. We believe it is the right way forward to handle this particular issue, so we see no need for new clause 4 to be in the Bill.

We will work closely with the devolved Administrations to deliver an approach to the implementation of trade agreements that works for the whole of the UK, reflecting the needs and individual circumstances of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Government’s approach respects a long-standing and robust convention between the UK Government and the devolved Administrations.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Will the Minister explain how he is going to work with the devolved Administrations on this? For example, would this involve a UK council of Ministers?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Our intention is to carry on negotiating with the devolved authorities to find a way forward to get the signatures on the legislative consent motions that we wish to sign, and that we believe we are in a position to sign with those Administrations if we continue to co-operate with them and to negotiate properly.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.
The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

If Members do not mind, I shall make a little more progress.

Concurrent functions have always been a normal part of our devolution arrangements, and the Bill broadly replicates the concurrent approach taken under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. That has proved an efficient and effective precedent for the devolved Administrations and the UK Government. I thank the hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) for raising the issue of the devolved authorities’ role in the transitional agreements and any extension of the sunset provision. I am happy to confirm that, should they make the decision to use the three-year sunset extension or provision, the Government commit to engaging the devolved Administrations in that decision-making process in advance.

The Government have made a number of their own amendments to reduce restrictions on the powers conferred on devolved Ministers, bringing greater parity between UK Ministers’ powers and devolved Ministers’ powers. I particularly wish to draw the House’s attention to two changes. Government amendments 64 to 67 change the requirement on devolved Ministers from seeking the consent of UK Ministers to consulting UK Ministers before making regulations under the Bill’s powers that relate to quotas or the pre-exit commencement of regulations.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I am concerned about what the Minister said. Does he not accept that if the provisions in clauses 1 and 2 are taken in conjunction with Government amendment 34, they will allow the Westminster Government to use Henry VIII powers to modify primary legislation or retained direct EU legislation in areas that are a matter of devolved competence? That is to go beyond “not normally”, which is why new clause 4 is essential.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Order. May I just emphasise that there is no obligation to continue up to the wire? I know that sometimes some people on the Government Bench say “Keep going till the cut-off point,” but it is not necessary to do so. There is a lot of other material to be debated. The Minister, who is a most courteous fellow, was extremely succinct earlier; he should not think that that was unpopular in the House.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

You will be glad to hear, Mr Speaker, that I do not have a great deal more to say.

Let me engage with the shadow Secretary of State’s point. The powers that the Government are taking relate to where any regulations under section 12 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act are in force and intersect with devolved Ministers’ rights to modify retained direct EU law. We are carving out an area in which the UK Government believe it is right and proper that the interests of the wider United Kingdom have precedence. I think the shadow Secretary of State understands what I mean; indeed, from the look on his face I believe he probably secretly agrees with what I am saying.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

indicated dissent.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The hon. Member for Dundee East will know that work is ongoing around the extent of the areas which I have just outlined to the shadow Secretary of State and which will be covered by section 12. The changes I have outlined recognise the important role that the devolved Administrations will play in implementing trade continuity agreements in devolved areas. I reiterate that, in line with convention, UK Government will not normally implement such measures in devolved areas without the consent of the devolved Administrations.

The amendments demonstrate significant progress in our discussions with the devolved Administrations.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

On a very quick point, is it not true that the working relationship between the UK Government and the Scottish Government is much more positive and much more healthy than we would be led to believe from listening to the rhetoric of the SNP Members in this place?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

It is not for me to make judgments on how people approach negotiations, save to say that the experience of Government officials is that deep, proper and real conversations have occurred at Scottish Government level between officials and indeed between those in the Executive.

Let me reiterate that, in line with convention, the UK Government will not normally implement in devolved areas without the consent of the devolved Administrations. These amendments demonstrate significant progress in our discussions with the devolved Administrations to whom we have been listening throughout the passage of this Bill, as has been admirably demonstrated. We will continue to engage actively with the devolved Administrations to achieve the agreement of a legislative consent memorandum. As such, I hope that the hon. Member for Dundee East will now feel able not to push amendment 29 to a vote.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

Division 219

17 July 2018

The House divided:

Ayes: 248
Noes: 315

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83 E).

Clause 1

Implementation of the Agreement on Government Procurement

Amendment proposed: 25, page 1, line 15, at end insert—

‘(1A) No regulations may be made under this subsection by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Scottish Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1), unless the Scottish Ministers consent.

(1B) No regulations may be made under this subsection by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Welsh Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1), unless the Welsh Ministers consent.”—(Stewart Hosie.)

This amendment and Amendment 26 seek to ensure that regulations cannot be made without consent from devolved Ministers.

Question put.

The House proceeded to a Division.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. What is going on?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

What is going on is that a Member is being exhorted to remove himself from the Division Lobby, and that will happen. The result of the vote will be declared very soon. I understand the consternation of the right hon. Gentleman, but I have his and all other Members’ interests at heart. We will not long be delayed before proceeding with the next group, for which there is very little time. We must not dilly-dally on this matter any longer.

Division 220

17 July 2018

The House having divided:

Ayes: 37
Noes: 318

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

Clause 4

Interpretation of Part 1

Amendments made: 49, page 3, line 19, at end insert “or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 50.

Amendment 50, page 3, line 20, leave out from “authority” to end of line 22.—(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment makes clear that a Minister of the Crown and a devolved authority cannot make regulations under Clause 1 or Clause 2 jointly (except as required by paragraph 5 of Schedule 1).

Schedule 1

Restrictions on devolved authorities

Amendments made: 61, page 7, line 5, leave out “regulations” and insert “provision”.

This amendment makes clear that the usual rule on ultra vires provision in devolved SIs applies: if one provision is ultra vires it does not follow that the entire instrument is ultra vires.

Amendment 62, page 7, line 6, leave out “every provision of them” and insert “the provision”.

See the explanatory statement for Amendment 61.

Amendment 63, page 7, line 10, leave out paragraph 2 and insert—

2 (1) No provision may be made by the Scottish Ministers under section 1(1) or 2(1) so far as the provision—

(a) modifies any retained direct EU legislation or anything which is retained EU law by virtue of section 4 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and

(b) would, when made, be in breach of—

(i) the restriction in section 30A(1) of the Scotland Act 1998 if the provision were made in an Act of the Scottish Parliament, or

(ii) the restriction in section 57(4) of the Scotland Act 1998 if section 57(5)(c) of that Act were ignored.

‘(2) No provision may be made by the Welsh Ministers under section 1(1) or 2(1) so far as the provision—

(a) modifies any retained direct EU legislation or anything which is retained EU law by virtue of section 4 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and

(b) would, when made, be in breach of—

(i) the restriction in section 80(8) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 if section 80(8A)(c) of that Act were ignored, or

(ii) the restriction in section 109A(1) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 if the provision were made in an Act of the National Assembly for Wales.

(3) No provision may be made by a Northern Ireland department under section 1(1) or 2(1) so far as the provision—

(a) modifies any retained direct EU legislation or anything which is retained EU law by virtue of section 4 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and

(b) would, when made, be in breach of—

(i) the restriction in section 6A(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 if the provision were made in an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly, or

(ii) the restriction in section 24(3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 if section 24(4)(c) of that Act were ignored.

(4) No provision may be made by a devolved authority under section 1(1) or 2(1) so far as, when made, the provision is inconsistent with any modification (whether or not in force) which—

(a) is a modification of any retained direct EU legislation or anything which is retained EU law by virtue of section 4 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018,

(b) is made by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 or by a Minister of the Crown under that Act, or by a Minister of the Crown under this Act, and

(c) could not be made by the devolved authority by virtue of sub-paragraph (1), (2) or (as the case may be) (3).

(5) For the purposes of sub-paragraphs (1)(b), (2)(b) and (3)(b), the following provisions, any regulations made under them and any related provision are to be assumed to be wholly in force so far as that is not otherwise the case—

(a) sections 30A and 57(4) to (15) of the Scotland Act 1998,

(b) sections 80(8) to (8L) and 109A of the Government of Wales Act 2006, and

(c) sections 6A and 24(3) to (15) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

(6) References in this paragraph to section 80(8) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 are to be read as references to the new section 80(8) of that Act provided for by paragraph 2 of Schedule 3 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

(7) In this paragraph “domestic law” means the law of England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.”

This amendment provides that the devolved authorities may not make provision under Clause 1(1) or 2(1) that: (a) modifies retained direct EU legislation or anything which is retained EU law by virtue of section 4 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018; and (b) would breach the relevant devolved competence restriction in the devolution settlements (as amended by that Act).

Amendment 64, page 7, line 27, leave out

“without the consent of a Minister of the Crown”.

This amendment and Amendment 65 provide that the devolved authorities need only consult with a Minister of the Crown before making regulations that are to come into force before exit day.

Amendment 65, page 7, line 28, at end insert

“, unless the regulations are, to that extent, made after consulting with a Minister of the Crown”.

See the explanatory statement for Amendment 64.

Amendment 66, page 7, line 30, leave out

“without the consent of a Minister of the Crown”.

This amendment and Amendment 67 provide that the devolved authorities need only consult with a Minister of the Crown before making regulations about, or which are incompatible with, quota arrangements.

Amendment 67, page 7, line 32, at end insert

“, unless the regulations are, to that extent, made after consulting with a Minister of the Crown”.

See the explanatory statement for Amendment 66.

Amendment 68, page 10, line 36, leave out “and (5)”.

This amendment removes an unnecessary reference to subsection (5) of section 57 of the Scotland Act 1998.

Amendment 69, page 11, line 15, leave out “and (4)”. —(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment removes an unnecessary reference to subsection (4) of section 24 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

Schedule 3

Exceptions to restrictions in the devolution settlements

Amendments made: 76, page 13, line 41, leave out from “2018)” to end of line 3 on page 14 and insert

“omit the “or” at the end of paragraph (a) and, at the end of paragraph (b) insert— “, or

(c) to the making of regulations under section 1(1) or 2(1) of the Trade Act 2018.””

This amendment updates the numbering of the inserted text, following changes to text added by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

Amendment 77, page 14, line 7, leave out from “2018)” to end of line 10 and insert “omit the “or” at the end of paragraph (a) and, at the end of paragraph (b) insert— “, or

(c) to the making of regulations under section 1(1) or 2(1) of the Trade Act 2018.””

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 76.

Amendment 78, page 14, line 14, leave out from “2018)” to end of line 17 and insert

“omit the “or” at the end of paragraph (a) and, at the end of paragraph (b) insert— “, or

(c) to the making of regulations under section 1(1) or 2(1) of the Trade Act 2018.””—(George Hollingbery.)

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 76.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

We come now to the third and final group of new clauses and amendments, beginning with Government new schedule 1. In the friendliest and most convivial possible spirit, I remind the Minister on the Treasury Bench that it is not necessary for him to speak at length. It might make him even more popular than he already is if he does not.

New Schedule 1

Transfer Schemes

“1 (1) The Secretary of State may make one or more staff transfer schemes in connection with the establishment of the TRA by this Act.

(2) A ‘staff transfer scheme’ is a scheme providing for the transfer from the Secretary of State to the TRA of any rights or liabilities under or in connection with a contract of employment.

2 (1) A staff transfer scheme may, among other things, make provision—

(a) for the transfer of rights and liabilities that could not otherwise be transferred;

(b) for the transfer of rights and liabilities arising after the making of the scheme;

(c) which is the same as or similar to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/246);

(d) creating rights, or imposing liabilities, in relation to rights or liabilities transferred;

(e) about the continuing effect of things done by the Secretary of State in respect of any rights or liabilities transferred;

(f) about the continuation of things (including legal proceedings) in the process of being done by, or on behalf of, or in relation to, the Secretary of State in respect of any rights or liabilities transferred;

(g) for references to the Secretary of State in an instrument or other document in respect of any rights or liabilities transferred to be treated as references to the TRA;

(h) that is supplementary, incidental, transitional or consequential.

(2) A staff transfer scheme may provide—

(a) for the scheme to be modified by agreement after it comes into effect, and

(b) for any such modifications to have effect from the date when the original scheme comes into effect.

3 For the purposes of this Schedule—

(a) an individual who holds employment in the civil service of the State is to be treated as employed by virtue of a contract of employment, and

(b) the terms of the individual’s employment in the civil service of the State are to be regarded as constituting the terms of the contract of employment.”—(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment inserts a Schedule that sets out powers for the Secretary of State to make a scheme providing for the transfer of staff from the Secretary of State to the Trade Remedies Authority.

Brought up, and read the First time.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I beg to move, That the schedule be read a Second time.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendment 58.

Amendment 12, in schedule 4, page 14, line 34, at end insert

“with the consent of the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons,”.

This amendment would give the International Trade Select Committee scrutiny and consent powers for the appointment of Chairs of the Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 30, in schedule 4, page 14, line 34, at end insert—

“(aa) a non-executive member appointed by the Secretary of State with the consent of the Scottish Ministers,

(ab) a non-executive member appointed by the Secretary of State with the consent of the Welsh Ministers,”

The Trade Remedies Authority will undertake trade remedies investigations across the UK, which will inevitably touch on devolved areas or areas of significance to Scotland. This amendment would require the consent of Scottish and Welsh Ministers to the appointment of one non-executive board member each.

Amendment 13, in schedule 4, page 14, line 35, at end insert

“with the consent of the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons,”.

This amendment would give the International Trade Select Committee scrutiny and consent powers for the appointment of other non-executive members of the Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 22, in schedule 4, page 14, line 35, at end insert

“including representatives of UK manufacturing sectors and trade unions in manufacturing”.

This amendment would ensure that UK producers including manufacturers, and their employees, are included in the corporate governance of the new Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 80, in schedule 4, page 14, line 35, at end insert

“including representatives of—

(i) producers,

(ii) trade unions, and

(iii) each one of the devolved administrations.”

This amendment would ensure that the Trade Remedies Authority includes, among its non-executive members, representatives of key stakeholder bodies.

Amendment 14, in schedule 4, page 14, line 37, after “State” insert

“, and with the consent of the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons,”.

This amendment would give the International Trade Select Committee scrutiny and consent powers for the appointment of the chief executive of the Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 15, in schedule 4, page 14, line 38, after “State” insert

“with the consent of the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons,”.

This amendment would give the International Trade Select Committee scrutiny and consent powers for the appointment of the inaugural chief executive of the Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 23, in schedule 4, page 15, line 2, leave out from “must” to end of line 3 and insert

“, before appointing the other non-executive members, consult

(a) the Chair,

(b) organisations representing UK manufacturing sectors, and

(c) trade unions in manufacturing.”

This amendment would ensure that UK producers including manufacturers, and their employees, are included in the corporate governance of the new Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 16, in schedule 4, page 15, line 12, at end insert—

“4A It must be publicly disclosed if any candidate for appointment as a non-executive member of the TRA has, in the last five years, been employed by a political party, held a significant office in a political party, has stood as a candidate for a political party in an election, has publicly spoken on behalf of a political party, or has made significant donations or loans to a political party.”

This amendment would require candidates for appointment as non-executive members of the TRA to disclose political activity, consistent with guidelines set out in the Cabinet Office Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Amendment 17, in schedule 4, page 15, line 16, at end insert—

“5A It must be publicly disclosed if any candidate for appointment as an executive member of the TRA has, in the last five years, been employed by a political party, held a significant office in a political party, has stood as a candidate for a political party in an election, has publicly spoken on behalf of a political party, or has made significant donations or loans to a political party.”

This amendment would require candidates for appointment as executive members of the TRA to disclose political activity, consistent with guidelines set out in the Cabinet Office Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Amendment 18, in schedule 4, page 15, line 31, at end insert—

“10A A member of the TRA, whether executive or non-executive, shall not actively engage in any business, vocation or employment which may give rise to a potential conflict of interest, for the duration of their service on the TRA.”

This amendment would militate against conflicts of interest by precluding TRA members from engaging in any commercial activity for the duration of their time on the TRA.

New clause 1—EU customs union

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement which enables the UK to participate after exit day in a customs union with the EU in the same terms as existed before exit day.

(2) Exit day shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

New clause 2—Review of the impact on the UK economy

“(1) Before the end of the initial five year period, the Secretary of State must publish and lay before both Houses of Parliament an assessment of the impact of all international trade agreements implemented under section 2 of this Act on—

(a) the economy of the United Kingdom,

(b) the economy of the different parts of the United Kingdom and different regions of England, and

(c) individual economic sectors.

(2) The assessment in subsection (1) must so far as practicable analyse the expected difference in outcomes between the international trade agreements implemented under section 2 of this Act and those international trade agreements to which the United Kingdom would have been a signatory had it continued to participate in the EU Customs Union.

(3) In this section—

‘the initial five year period’ has the same meaning as in section 2(8)(a),

‘parts of the United Kingdom’ means—

(a) England,

(b) Scotland,

(c) Wales, and

(d) Northern Ireland

‘regions of England’ has the same meaning as that used by the Office for National Statistics.”

New clause 5—Implementation of a customs union with the EU

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement which enables the UK to participate after exit day in a customs union with the EU.

(2) Exit day shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

New clause 8—Internal Market Negotiating Objective

“It shall be a negotiating objective of Her Majesty’s Government to ensure the United Kingdom has full access to the internal market of the European Union, underpinned by shared institutions and regulations, with no new impediments to trade and common rights, standards and protections as a minimum.”

New clause 9—UK membership of EFTA and the European Economic Area

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to achieve before exit day the implementation of an international agreement to enable the UK to become a member of the European Free Trade Association and continue as a signatory to the EEA Agreement.

(2) ‘Exit day’ shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

New clause 10—UK membership of EFTA

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to achieve before exit day the implementation of an international agreement to enable the UK to become a member of the European Free Trade Association.

(2) ‘Exit day’ shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

New clause 11—Assessment of slavery or servitude

“The Secretary of State shall, before concluding negotiations relating to an international trade agreement, make an assessment of the steps taken by the other signatory to the agreement (or each other signatory) to prevent and punish activity which, if undertaken in England or Wales, would constitute an offence under section 1 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour).”

New clause 15—Ratification of international trade agreements

“An international trade agreement shall not be ratified unless it enables the United Kingdom to require imports to—

(a) comply with any standards laid down by primary or subordinate legislation in the United Kingdom regarding food safety, the environment and animal welfare, or

(b) have been produced to standards that are deemed by the Secretary of State to be comparable in effectiveness to those of the United Kingdom in protecting food safety, the environment and animal welfare.”

This new clause would ensure that UK standards regarding food safety, the environment and animal welfare could not be undermined by imports produced to lower standards.

New clause 17—UK participation in the European medicines regulatory network

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement, which enables the UK to fully participate after exit day in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the European Union, European Economic Area and the European Medicines Agency.

(2) Exit day shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

This new clause would ensure that it is a negotiating objective for the UK Government to secure an international agreement through which the UK may continue to participate in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the EU, EEA and the European Medicines Agency, ensuring that patients continue to have access to high-quality, effective and safe pharmaceutical and medical products, fully aligned with the member states of the EU and EEA.

New clause 18—Free trade area for goods

“(1) Before exit day it shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to achieve the implementation of an international agreement to enable the United Kingdom to establish a frictionless free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU.

(2) If an international agreement of the type set out in subsection (1) has not been agreed by 21st January 2019 then it shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to achieve the implementation of an international agreement which enables the United Kingdom to participate after exit day in a customs union with the EU.

(3) ‘Exit day’ shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

This new clause would make it a negotiating objective of the UK to establish a free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU and if that cannot be agreed then it should be the objective of the UK to secure an agreement to enable the UK’s participation in a customs union with the EU.

New clause 19—Reporting on trade between the United Kingdom’s devolved nations and regions with the Republic of Ireland

“(1) The Secretary of State shall, no earlier than 12 months and no later than 18 months after Royal Assent has been given to this Act—

(a) lay before both Houses of Parliament an assessment of the implications of this Act for trade between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and

(b) make arrangements for the assessment to be laid before the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(2) In preparing the assessment under subsection (1), the Secretary of State shall consult with—

(a) the Scottish Ministers, the First Minister or the Lord Advocate,

(b) the Welsh Ministers, and

(c) a Northern Ireland devolved authority.”

This new clause would ensure that the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union on trade across the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and between the Republic of Ireland and other parts of the United Kingdom is properly reviewed and reported to Parliament.

New clause 25—Trade agreement with the EU: mobility framework

“It shall be the objective of the Secretary of State to take all necessary steps to secure an international trade agreement with the European Union which includes a mobility framework that enables all UK and EU citizens to exercise the same reciprocal rights to work, live and study.”

Government amendments 31 to 35.

Amendment 11, in clause 2, page 2, line 12, at end insert—

“or (c) a regulatory cooperation agreement.”

This amendment would ensure that HM Government is able to efficiently replicate existing regulatory cooperation agreements that may be required for continuity of business arrangements if the UK exits the European Union.

Amendment 3, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(4A) Regulations under subsection (1) may make provision for the purpose of implementing an international trade agreement only if:

(a) the provisions of that international trade agreement do not conflict with, and are consistent with—

(i) the provisions of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015,

(ii) international human rights law and international humanitarian law,

(iii) the United Kingdom’s obligations on workers’ rights and labour standards as established by but not limited to the commitments under the International Labour Organisation’s Declaration on Fundamental Rights at Work and its Follow-up Conventions,

(iv) the United Kingdom’s environmental obligations in international law and as established by, but not limited to, the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the Convention on Biological Diversity, including the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,

(v) existing standards for food safety and quality as set and administered by the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency and any other public authority specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State,

(vi) the United Kingdom’s obligations as established by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and

(vii) the sovereignty of Parliament, the legal authority of UK courts, the rule of law and the principle of equality before the law.

(a) the provisions of that international trade agreement do not in any way restrict the ability to determine whether public services at a national or local level are delivered by public sector employees, and

(b) the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament an assessment that considers the potential economic, social, human rights and environmental impacts of the international trade agreement on the contracting parties.”

Amendment 24, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(4A) Regulations under subsection (1) may make provision for the purpose of implementing an international trade agreement only if the Secretary of State has made an assessment under section (Assessment of slavery or servitude) in respect of that agreement.”

Amendment 81, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(4A) Regulations under subsection (1) may make provision for the purpose of implementing an international trade agreement only if a principle of non-regression, according to which the protection of the environment, ensured by legislative and regulatory provisions relating to the environment, is incorporated.”

This amendment would ensure that environmental standards are not lowered in a new UK international trade agreement by maintaining and continually updating current standards through an environmental non-regression clause.

Government amendments 40, 41 and 43.

Amendment 20, in clause 2, page 2, line 40, at end insert

“and shall include any agreement to which the UK is party by virtue of membership of a free trade association, including the European Free Trade Association”.

This amendment would make it clear that the implementation powers under the Act would apply equally to implementation of any free trade agreement to which the UK is party through EFTA.

Amendment 5, in clause 2, page 2, line 40, at end insert—

“(7A) No regulations made under subsection (1) shall preclude the United Kingdom from participating in a customs union with the European Union following exit day.”

This amendment allows for the implementation of international trade agreements while leaving open the possibility of negotiating a customs union with the EU.

Government amendments 44 to 48 and 51 to 57.

Amendment 1, in clause 6, page 4, line 10, at end insert—

“(aa) the conduct of trade within a customs union within the meaning of section 31 of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018,”.

Amendment 21, in clause 6, page 4, line 10, at end insert—

“(aa) the consequences for the UK of membership of the European Free Trade Association,”.

This amendment would place a duty on the TRA to give advice to the Secretary of State on the consequences of membership of EFTA.

Government amendments 59 and 60.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

There is a wide range of issues covered by this final group of amendments we are debating today. I therefore propose to focus on the Government amendments in my opening remarks.

We are committed to creating a world-class Trade Remedies Authority. That is why Government have already begun recruiting TRA staff into the Department for International Trade, so that they can be properly trained before the TRA becomes fully operational. Once the TRA is legally established, staff who have been recruited into the Department will be transferred over to the TRA. Government new schedule 1 and Government amendment 58 are crucial to ensuring that this transfer can take place. This is standard practice when establishing a new arm’s-length body, as set out in the Cabinet Office’s statement of practice on transfers of staff in the public sector.

Trade remedies cases can have material impacts on markets and jobs. We must therefore create an independent investigation process that businesses can trust. That is why we are setting up the TRA as an arm’s-length body, giving it the appropriate degrees of separation from government, and ensuring that people with the right qualities and qualifications are appointed to the board to oversee this new function.

There are other amendments in this group, tabled by other hon. Members, on the TRA. I will wait to hear the points they make before responding to the detail of those amendments. Before I sit down, however, I will underline the point made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade yesterday in his statement to the House. The Bill is about continuity rather than future arrangements. This is why we have now separately set out the role that Parliament, the devolved Administrations, the public, business and civil society will have in our future trade agreements. We believe our approach makes good on our commitment to build an inclusive and transparent future trade policy.

Amendments 44 to 47 reduce the sunset period and renewal periods from five to three years. This has been discussed in previous debates. Amendments 31 and 32 allow Agreement on Government Procurement, or GPA, power to reflect updates to the list of Government entities in the UK’s GPA schedule. Amendments 34, 40, 41 and 48 clarify the scope of the powers in clause 1 and 2. Amendments 59 and 60 update references to data protection legislation, and amendments 31, 35, 43, and 51 to 57 are drafting changes.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

It is a pleasure to follow the Minister and to contribute to the Report stage of this important Bill.

I rise to propose amendment 80, in my name and that of my hon. Friends, on the Trade Remedies Authority, and to speak to the other clauses and amendments in this group. Labour supports new clause 5 and our own amendment 5 on the implementation of a customs union with the EU. Labour’s policy is for a new customs union with the EU to protect jobs and the economy, and to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. We will also be supporting new clause 18, as it keeps open the possibility of a customs union with the EU.

My Labour colleagues and I tabled amendment 5, which requires that any international trade agreement must not stop the UK participating in a customs union with the EU. This is in line with our party’s policy to negotiate a new customs union with the EU. As the Bill deals with international trade agreements, we wish to ensure that no other trade agreements impede on the UK’s capacity to enter into such a new customs union with the EU.

On new clause 18, as I have said, Labour believes that the only way to deliver frictionless trade and to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland is to negotiate a comprehensive customs union with the EU. The Chequers White Paper published by the Government put forward a different proposal. We think that the so-called “facilitated customs arrangement” is unnegotiable, undeliverable and unworkable, but it at least accepts the need for frictionless trade and to prevent a customs border between the UK and the EU.

We understand that Government Members want to give their Prime Minister a chance to try to negotiate that, but if and when the Government prove that they cannot negotiate the unnegotiable, it is important that we take the obvious path to achieving frictionless trade—that is, a customs union. The Government should do as we have done and listen to the business community on this point. That is what new clause 18 will achieve. Although Labour thinks that the Government should not waste time on the facilitated customs arrangement, we will support the amendment. We will also support new clause 17, which deals with UK participation in the European medicines regulatory network.

I turn to the Trade Remedies Authority and amendment 80 in my name and that of my hon. Friends, and amendment 22. The Government made no major improvements to the Bill with regards to the Trade Remedies Authority, despite the unanimous criticism that was presented by business, trade unions and experts in the Bill Committee. Gareth Stace of UK Steel warned us:

“If we get this…wrong, we become the dumping ground—not just in Europe, but for the rest of the world.”––[Official Report, Trade Bill Committee, 23 January 2018; c. 66, Q127.]

The Trade Bill sets up the Trade Remedies Authority and I am afraid that the Government have got it wrong.

At the time, we tabled amendments aiming to establish robust procedures for appointing non-executive members of the Trade Remedies Authority and to make it answerable to Parliament. Most importantly, we tabled an amendment seeking to ensure that the Trade Remedies Authority includes in its non-executive members representatives of producers, trade unions and each of the devolved Administrations. We therefore support the principle of amendment 22, as it calls for representatives of UK manufacturing sectors and trade unions to be included in the corporate governance of the TRA. It is a shame that the amendment has omitted representation of the devolved Administrations on the TRA board. That is why we have tabled amendment 80, which would have representatives of producers, trade unions and each of the devolved Administrations included among the non-executive members of the Trade Remedies Authority.

We also welcome amendment 30 in the name of the hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie), which calls for Scottish and Welsh Ministers to give their consent to the appointment of one non-executive member to the TRA from each devolved nation. We regret that there is no mention of Northern Ireland in the amendment, and we believe that the amendment’s purpose is also served by our amendment 80.

Finally, we support the Government’s new schedule 1, allowing them to move staff from the DIT to the TRA.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

It is a great pleasure to speak on Report and I rise to support new clause 9, amendments 20 and 21 and new clause 18. Let me start briefly with new clause 9. We are leaving the European Union and I accept the result of the referendum, but that referendum did not tell this House and this Parliament how we should do so. That is what Parliament is here to decide and what it is going to do.

I think the Common Market principles are the best way to leave the EU. The Common Market principles that I am referring to are the removals of barriers for trade between the United Kingdom and the EU and the protection and development of complex supply chains across the continent, which will protect, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry) said yesterday, the jobs and livelihoods of our constituents. As we leave the European Union, I believe that should be the key priority of this House.

New clause 9 refers to the European economic area and the European Free Trade Association. EEA and EFTA members incorporate most of the single market regulations. Most goods are not checked for compliance with EU regulations at the border and I think that would go a long way to mitigate complex supply chains and the Irish border issue, as well as the potential congestion at UK ports. That is one reason I support the White Paper; it refers to a common rulebook.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Does he understand that last year 21% of all the components needed for making cars under just-in-time principles came from outside the EU and passed our borders without friction or difficulty?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The right hon. Gentleman has just made the point that 79% of them do, and in business I was always taught the 80/20 rule, which I would advise him to apprise himself of.

As I was saying, the White Paper is very similar to the common rulebook, and that I think is appropriate. I will not dally too long on clause 9, but I think that the EEA-EFTA, as an institutional structure, is off the shelf, tested and something the EU is familiar with and which we could engage with. I accept, however, that the White Paper sets out a different direction, and I want to make sure we keep the White Paper and the plan negotiated and moving forwards.

What I really want to talk about tonight is new clause 18. I would contend, and I say to my Front Bench, that new clause 18 is exactly in line with their White Paper. It says that,

“it shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to achieve the implementation of an international agreement to enable the United Kingdom to establish a frictionless free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU.”

That is absolutely in line with the White Paper. What causes the Government and others in the House concern is the word “union”.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

It might help if I could advise the House that, in recognition of contributions from right hon. and hon. Members today, it is my intention to bring forward an amendment in the other place—[Laughter.] If I may. [Interruption.] If I may. Thank you.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.
The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

It is my intention to bring forward an amendment in the other place that takes in the essence of new clause 18 but removes the defective element relating to the customs union. The Government amendment will restate our intention to establish a customs arrangement with the EU. [Interruption.]

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Order. We must hear the hon. Member for Wimbledon.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Very few people ever say that, Mr Speaker.

It is a generous offer from the Front Bench, and one that I am tempted to accept, but I would say to the Minister: let’s do this the other way around. I will make him a generous offer. Why does he not accept new clause 18 today and then amend it in the Lords? [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!] I will tell the House why. Subsection (2) of my new clause is entirely in line with the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which is now part of our law in this country, the House having passed it. All it says is that it should be the objective, after 21 January, which date is in clause 13(10) and (11).

Had I used any other word than “union”, the Front Bench would have accepted it. Frankly, I do not see the problem. Yesterday, we took several amendments that we were told did not undermine the Bill, and this does not undermine the Bill either. It keeps the plan on the road. I say to my Front Bench in all good faith: why not do it this way round? Accept new clause 18 now and I will work with them to find something in the Lords that they find acceptable.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

It is the policy of the Government not to remain part of a customs union. That is why we cannot accept the amendment today. Clearly, we would not be able to implement any independent free trade deals and would still be a member of the commercial policy. We are absolutely clear that we wish to work with my hon. Friend to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to him. We will do that in the Lords over the next several weeks and come to a conclusion on this matter.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The Minister is a generous man—

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

And a good man.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

And a good man, as my right hon. Friend says, and I know that he is fulfilling the Government’s wishes. But I remind him that I stood on a Conservative manifesto that said we were leaving “the” customs union. New clause 18 does not commit us to “the” customs union. It commits us to “a customs union”, which is a customs arrangement or a customs partnership. There is a slight deviation in the definition. This absolutely does not affect our ability to engage in international trade, for other customs unions with the EU are already in place. So I ask the Minister to think again during the 25 minutes before we vote on this matter, and to accept new clause 18.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I do hope that we can vote on new clause 17. NHS patients will not be helped if we leave the European Medicines Agency. Being part of the EMA means that when a new drug is developed, a common set of protocols is followed to get that medicine approved. The UK is a world leader in pharmaceuticals and biomedical sciences. We have been the driving force behind the EMA, which has provided significant employment and revenue here in London, and has helped to raise and maintain standards for patients throughout Europe. We have already lost the EMA to Amsterdam, but although we have lost it geographically, we still have the chance to be part of the European medicines regulatory network partnership, and continue to benefit from the work of the EMA.

There are three big markets for new drugs in the world: the United States, Japan and the EU. Companies already have to follow different processes to get their drugs approved in those countries, but, together with the EU, we are part of a single powerful block that represents 22% of the global pharmaceutical market. Companies prioritise getting their drugs to us, because we provide a single European system. If we leave the EMA, we will have only 3% of the global market. Quite simply, we will not be a priority for new drugs. Switzerland and Canada have separate approval systems, and typically get their new drugs six months later than the EU. That is the cost of leaving the EMA: a six-month delay. Try explaining to a patient that a new life-saving cancer drug will not be available to them because we left the EMA!

So why are we leaving? Our life sciences industry is not complaining about EU “red tape”; it likes the common system. According to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry,

“Creating a standalone UK regulator would require significant resource, time and expertise, and...would…still leave the UK behind the US and EU”.

We are leaving the EMA because people voted to leave the EU, but how many people knew that when they voted to leave the EU, they voted to increase the cost of new medicines regulation, a cost that will be passed on to the NHS; to reduce the UK's international influence and excellence in this area of life sciences; and to delay access to new drugs for cancer patients? New clause 17 asks that we “take all necessary steps” to continue to participate in the European medicines regulatory network partnership. We could do that by remaining a member of the EU, by becoming a member of the European Free Trade Association, or by negotiating an associate membership of the EMA.

We are already seeing the high cost of Brexit to the NHS. We are seeing an exodus of EU staff which is making recruitment challenges much harder, we are seeing the threat to the supply chain if we leave the customs union, and now we face delays in the delivery of new drugs to cancer patients. It does not have to be this way. I will be voting for new clause 17 tonight, and I hope that Members in all parts of the House will put the interests of NHS patients above Brexit ideology and join me in voting to remain part of the European medicines regulatory partnership.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Stockton South (Dr Williams), who is a co-signatory to my new clause 17, as are other medically qualified Members: the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford) and my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston), the Chairman of the Health Committee.

We all recognise the importance of remaining part of the European medicines regulatory network partnership. New clause 17 would make it a “a negotiating objective” for the Government to secure an agreement that would allow the United Kingdom to continue to participate fully in the partnership. This is vital because it is how we get our people and our NHS the medicines they need. It is also important for our pharmaceutical sector, about which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has observed that it is hard to think of an industry of greater strategic importance to Britain and that does so much to improve the lives of patients around the world. Let me explain further. The European medicines regulatory network partnership makes the process of accessing life-saving new medicines and moving medicines quick and easy. If we leave that partnership, the NHS would get ground-breaking new drugs like those for cancer, dementia and diabetes long after other parts of the world. That is because pharmaceutical companies will apply for licences in the much larger American, European and Asian markets before they come to the UK. It would also be harder to get the medicines we need when we need them. This is particularly worrying for time-critical drugs and equipment. For example, some of the trauma treatments used for victims of last year’s Manchester Arena bombing were stocked in Amsterdam; we got them straight away because there were no borders or checks. After Brexit we could, in effect, create a hard border so this would not be so easy.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

AstraZeneca has a supply line of 4,000 people in the north-west. They assist in the manufacturing of a cancer drug that is exported to Europe. Without that export to Europe it would not be viable, because it helps 130,000 people across Europe. Does my hon. Friend agree that remaining in the European Medicines Agency would allow such frictionless trade to carry on?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I do. A number of pharmaceutical companies have already made plans for no deal by taking warehouse space to import drugs in advance of 29 March so that patients do not go without their medications.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee overwhelmingly showed the importance to patients of our maintaining close regulatory alignment not only here, but across the EU. Does my hon. Friend agree with the Committee that we must do more to publish the contingency planning and the consequences of not maintaining alignment so that the public can see this?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

rose—

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Order. We must hear the response to that question, but we must also hear from other Members, including the Father of the House.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I will be as brief as possible, Mr Speaker.

Yes, I do agree with my hon. Friend’s comments. Every month 45 million patient-packs of medicine go to the EU from the UK and 37 million packs move the other way. It is hard to think of a single other product that illustrates so well the importance of frictionless trade.

This amendment supports the Government’s intentions as explained in the Prime Minister’s Mansion House speech and their White Paper, but we must go further and enshrine them in law because of the very real impact on people’s lives, on the NHS’s ability to operate, on the industry, and on investment in the UK. That is why I will press this new clause to a vote.

I will also support new clause 18 this evening. Yesterday was the worst experience in politics I have had in eight years, and I am sorry that it has changed the dynamic. I started the week intending to support our Prime Minister in her deal and the White Paper. Yesterday changed that, and that is why I will be supporting other colleagues on these Benches when we come to new clause 18 this evening.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I shall speak briefly on new clause 11 in my name and the names of 20 of my Co-operative party colleagues—the Co-operative party being the third largest party in this House, despite what some in here say.

New clause 11 simply asks the Secretary of State to make an assessment of slavery and servitude as part of any new trade deals. Modern slavery is a stain on society and we in this country are making great headway in tackling it through the Modern Slavery Act 2015, particularly sections 1 and 54, but, sadly, slavery is all too apparent in some parts of the world. Most people in this room will be wearing an item of clothing that has been made by a slave, and we should be using our international prowess and purchasing power to try to deliver a reduction in slavery and servitude.

Amendment 22, which was very kindly tabled by the hon. Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy), supported by the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double), relates to trade remedies. The British Ceramic Confederation has worked very hard on this. I shall also be supporting amendment 80, because that will also help to protect our manufacturing base.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I shall be voting for new clauses 9, 17 and 18. I will not repeat the very eloquent arguments that have already been put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond), the hon. Member for Stockton South (Dr Williams) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bracknell (Dr Lee), who have put the case perfectly. I do not see any answer to it. The only question I wish to pose relates to my understanding that the Government are resisting these new clauses, which I find completely incomprehensible, particularly since yesterday. I personally cannot see why we are leaving the single market and the customs union, because that does not follow on from the referendum at all. However, I accept that staying in them has been ruled out and, in the spirit of getting a reasonably broad compromise, I am prepared to give the Government a chance to produce some other version that will preserve totally frictionless trade and no barriers to trade and investment with Europe, if they think that there is one. Therefore, I would not press new clauses 1 and 5 to a vote, and I do not think that my right hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry) would do so. Let us give the White Paper a chance, which is what new clause 18 does. What I do not understand, given that the White Paper also supports keeping our present arrangements, if we can, by remaining within the European Medicines Agency, is why on earth these proposals are being resisted.

Yesterday, I was astonished that the Government used a three-line Whip to secure a majority for my hon. Friend the Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg) and his European Research Group faction, which they only just managed to do, by chance. The Government actually whipped my party to defeat their own policy, as set out in the White Paper. Today, we have amendments that are entirely consistent with the White Paper, but the Government are so terrified of the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and the European Research Group that they are now applying the whip to try to defeat these measures. I really hope that they will go away for the summer and have a good rest—perhaps they should lie in a quiet, dark room at some stage—then come back and tell us exactly how they intend to negotiate these serious matters relating to the future of our country.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.
The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Order. Two-minute speeches are now required.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Surely new clause 17 is a no-brainer. If we are going to preserve anything, we must surely keep the frictionless flow of medicines and treatments for our national health service going. If ever there were an example of an ideology getting in the way of common sense, it would be that of a hard Brexit attitude physically placing itself at the border in the way of the free flow of those medicines. We know that 45 million packages of medicines cross that border every month. That is how essential this is, so new clause 17 has to be supported.

New clause 18 has been tabled by the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond). I have to say to him that he is being incredibly generous to the Government in relation to this proposal. He is giving them the benefit of the doubt on the free trade area in goods. It is true that, whatever we get, the lowest common denominator will be a free trade area in goods. We will have to get that. But frankly, I am really quite surprised by the way in which some Conservative Members have been treated by the Government in respect of the ERG amendments—all of which were accepted without any objection—when some of them are trying their best to preserve the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan. Those Conservative Members are being very generous, but I think it is reasonable to put in place a safety net in the form of a customs union in January. I hope that, on this one occasion, we can put party politicking to one side and do the right thing for our country.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Thank you. Two minutes, please. I call John Redwood.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Every day, a large number of components come into our country from outside the EU and they meet the deadlines of the just-in-time systems, as do the components from the EU. My hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) should understand that you cannot send a car out with only 79% of its components assembled because they are the ones that came from the EU. Manufacturers send their cars out with 100% of their components, including the non-EU ones, which are coming in perfectly well. More than half our trade is done with non-EU countries that are not part of the single market or the customs union. We have already thought about the need to get rid of frictions on the borders for non-EU trade. We have worked internationally through the WTO which, through its trade facilitation agreement, has several instructions for us and for the EU to ensure that there is a minimum of friction at the border for non-EU, non-customs-union trade as well, which is why our manufacturers can work with it.

EU trade is not without administration and bureaucracy. The Intrastat declaration must be made, the commodity code must be identified, the VAT has to be settled and the excise must be settled if necessary. Those things are not done at the border. The lorry drivers do not have to stand in a queue while trying to work things out. When we are outside the EU’s customs union, the situation will be the same for everything else that does not come in within the customs union framework. This is the modern world. It is electronic. There are computers. There is the off-site settlement of taxes and of customs. The WTO knows about that.

The future for us will be great, but we must be free to have our own international trade policy and our own agreements with countries other than those in the EU. We must have the ability to set out our laws and spend our own money. The British public would expect no less of this Parliament, and they will not accept any higgling of their decision to leave the EU.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

For less than two minutes, I call Emma Reynolds.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

If the customs union is not important, why have BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Airbus suggested that they need to keep the current border arrangements. If we are to preserve just-in-time manufacturing in this country—Jaguar Land Rover is on the outskirts of my constituency—we must either have a customs union or find an equivalent, as suggested by the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond), who is being patient with the Government. The suggestion from some Members, as we have just heard, that the customs union or an equivalent is not important flies in the face of the evidence and what businesses up and down the country are telling us.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I will necessarily keep my remarks extremely brief. I cannot match the magnificence of my right hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry) when she spoke yesterday, but let me say the following to the Chamber. Brexit is a matter of national interest. It is time to put party politics aside, which is why I welcome the fact that Labour Members are open to supporting the Chequers proposals, as captured in new clause 18, which I rise to support. I hear what the hon. Member for Bradford South (Judith Cummins) said about her scepticism regarding whether the proposals could work, but the Prime Minister did the right thing in the national interest by putting on the table a workable, practical proposal, captured at Chequers, that could be negotiated with the EU.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

No. Some Government Members chose to try to scupper that agreement and those proposals yesterday. Some of us tried to stop that; but sadly, we failed. What is proposed in new clause 18—I am delighted to join my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) in proposing it—is eminently sensible. We want to give the Prime Minister space for the negotiations, and it is clear that there is a majority in this House for a customs union to safeguard business, jobs and our constituents’ future financial security. I hope that the House will have the opportunity to demonstrate that shortly.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The majority of the world’s countries are in a customs union. We need to be in a customs union and, I would argue, the single market. The damage that will result from not being in those two things and instead having a free trade, or less trade, agreement with the EU will be 6% of GDP. The panacea often offered is the United States of America, but the US will counter that drop to the tune of 0.2%. To make up for the damage that will be done by not being in the customs union and the single market, we need 30 US-style agreements. The US has a population of about 300 million, and a deal with it will yield a 0.2% gain in GDP. By that arithmetic, we need to make US-style agreements with about 9 billion people, but there is one problem for the Brexiteers: the population of the world is only about 7.4 billion. They should be listening to their friends and colleagues and making absolutely sure that they are not playing fast and loose with jobs, security, employment and with the life chances of people in the UK, young and old. It is a pity for me that Scotland is hitched to this lot at the moment.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

There are three or four very strong arguments not to be in a customs union as outlined in new clause 18. First, being in a customs union puts massive restrictions on having an independent trade policy. Trade agreements are all about WTO schedules, and if we are in a customs union, we cannot have our own WTO schedules. Secondly, who would run trade remedies in such a position? Would trade remedies be run in London or would they be run in Brussels, and in whose interest? With British jobs and British companies on the line, it is incredibly important that we have the ability to run trade remedies.

Thirdly, on the subject of trade preferences, we want to do better for the developing world. Being in a customs union would prevent that. Finally—

Debate interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83E), That the schedule be read a Second time.

Question agreed to.

New schedule 1 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Clause 5

The Trade Remedies Authority

Amendment made: 58, in clause 5, page 4, line 6, at end insert—

‘(3) Schedule (Transfer Schemes) contains provision about schemes for the transfer of staff in connection with the establishment of the TRA.”—(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment introduces new Schedule (Transfer Schemes) which provides that the Secretary of State can make a scheme providing for the transfer of staff from the Secretary of State to the Trade Remedies Authority.

Schedule 4

The Trade Remedies Authority

Amendment proposed: 80, in schedule 4, page 14, line 35, at end insert “including representatives of—producers, trade unions, and each one of the devolved administrations.”

(i) producers,

(ii) trade unions, and

(iii) each one of the devolved administrations.”—(Barry Gardiner.)

This amendment would ensure that the Trade Remedies Authority includes, among its non-executive members, representatives of key stakeholder bodies.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Division 221

17 July 2018

The House divided:

Ayes: 295
Noes: 314

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

New Clause 17

UK participation in the European medicines regulatory network

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement, which enables the UK to fully participate after exit day in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the European Union, European Economic Area and the European Medicines Agency.

(2) Exit day shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”—(Dr Phillip Lee.)

This new clause would ensure that it is a negotiating objective for the UK Government to secure an international agreement through which the UK may continue to participate in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the EU, EEA and the European Medicines Agency, ensuring that patients continue to have access to high-quality, effective and safe pharmaceutical and medical products, fully aligned with the member states of the EU and EEA.

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Division 222

17 July 2018

The House divided:

Ayes: 305
Noes: 301

Question accordingly agreed to.

View Details

New clause 17 added to the Bill.

New Clause 18

Free trade area for goods

‘(1) Before exit day it shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to achieve the implementation of an international agreement to enable the United Kingdom to establish a frictionless free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU.

(2) If an international agreement of the type set out in subsection (1) has not been agreed by 21st January 2019 then it shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to achieve the implementation of an international agreement which enables the United Kingdom to participate after exit day in a customs union with the EU.

(3) “Exit day” shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

This new clause would make it a negotiating objective of the UK to establish a free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU and if that cannot be agreed then it should be the objective of the UK to secure an agreement to enable the UK’s participation in a customs union with the EU.

Brought up.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

With a heavy heart, I beg to move, That new clause 18 be added to the Bill.

Question put.

Division 223

17 July 2018

The House divided:

Ayes: 301
Noes: 307

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

Clause 1

Implementation of the Agreement on Government Procurement

Amendments made: 31, page 1, line 13, leave out “or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 32.

Amendment 32, page 1, line 15, at end insert—

“(e) in consequence of a modification of the list of central government entities in Annex 1 to the United Kingdom’s Appendix I to the 1994 GPA, or

(f) in consequence of a modification of the list of central government entities in Annex 1 to the United Kingdom’s Appendix I to the Revised GPA.”

This amendment provides that the power in clause 1 can be exercised to reflect updates to the list of UK government entities covered by Annex 1 to the UK’s Appendix I to the 1994 GPA and the Revised GPA.

Amendment 33, page 2, line 3, at end insert—

“(e) in the case of regulations under subsection (1)(e) or (f), the day the modification becomes effective.”

This amendment provides that regulations implementing a modification of Annex 1 can only come into force on or after the day that the modification becomes effective.

Amendment 34, page 2, line 3, at end insert—

‘(3) Regulations under subsection (1) may make provision modifying retained direct EU legislation.”—(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment makes clear that the power in clause 1 can be exercised to modify retained direct EU legislation. “Retained direct EU legislation” is defined in the Interpretation Act 1978

Clause 2

Implementation of international trade agreements

Amendments made: 35, page 2, line 9, leave out subsection (2)

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 53.

Amendment 40, page 2, line 33, after “modifying” insert

“retained direct EU legislation or”

This amendment makes clear that the power in Clause 2 can be exercised to modify retained direct EU legislation. “Retained direct EU legislation” is defined in the Interpretation Act 1978.

Amendment 41, page 2, line 35, after “discretion” insert

“but not including a power to make subordinate legislation”

This amendment makes clear that the power in Clause 2 cannot be exercised to confer a power to make subordinate legislation. Amendment 55 includes a definition of subordinate legislation.

Amendment 43, page 2, line 38, leave out subsection (7)

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 52.

Amendment 44, page 2, line 42, leave out first “five” and insert “three”

This amendment provides that the power in Clause 2 can be exercised only for a period of three years from exit day.

Amendment 45, page 2, line 42, leave out second “five” and insert “three”

See the explanatory statement for Amendment 44.

Amendment 46, page 3, line 1, leave out “five” and insert “three”

This amendment provides that the sunset period in subsection (8) may only be extended for further periods of three years.

Amendment 47, page 3, line 3, leave out “five” and insert “three”—(George Hollingbery.)

See the explanatory statement for Amendment 46.

Clause 3

Regulations: devolved authorities and general provision

Amendment made: 48, page 3, line 9, at end insert—

‘(1A) Regulations under section 1(1) or 2(1) that modify—

(a) retained direct EU legislation,

(b) anything which is retained EU law by virtue of section 4 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, or

(c) any other retained EU law,

may be made before exit day so long as they come into force on or after exit day.”—(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment puts beyond doubt that amendments purporting to modify retained EU law (which, under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, will come into being on exit day) can be made before exit day so long as they come into force on or after exit day.

Clause 4

Interpretation of Part 1

Amendments made: 51, page 3, leave out lines 27 and 28

This amendment omits the definition of “exit day”, which is no longer needed now the relevant amendments to the Interpretation Act 1978 made by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 are in force.

Amendment 52, page 3, line 28, at end insert—

““free trade agreement” means an agreement that is or was notifiable under—

(a) paragraph 7(a) of Article XXIV of GATT, or

(b) paragraph 7(a) of Article V of GATS;”

This amendment defines “free trade agreement” for the purposes of Part 1. The definition is in the same terms as the current definition in clause 2(7).

Amendment 53, page 3, line 32, at end insert—

““international trade agreement” means—

(a) a free trade agreement, or

(b) an international agreement that mainly relates to trade, other than a free trade agreement;”

This amendment defines “international trade agreement” for the purposes of Part 1. The definition is in the same terms as the current definition in Clause 2(2).

Amendment 54, page 3, leave out lines 38 and 39

This amendment omits the definition of “retained EU law”, which is no longer needed now the relevant amendments to the Interpretation Act 1978 made by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 are in force.

Amendment 55, page 3, line 39, at end insert— “

““subordinate legislation” has the same meaning as in section 21 of the Interpretation Act 1978;”

This amendment defines “subordinate legislation” for Amendment 41.

Amendment 56, page 3, line 41, at end insert—

‘(2) In this Part a reference to being a signatory to an international trade agreement includes a reference to—

(a) exchanging instruments, where the exchange constitutes the agreement;

(b) acceding to the agreement.

(3) In this Part a reference to ratifying an international trade agreement is a reference to doing an act specified in subsection (4) which establishes consent to be bound by the agreement as a matter of international law.

(4) The acts are—

(a) depositing or delivering an instrument of ratification, accession, approval or acceptance;

(b) depositing or delivering a notification of completion of domestic procedures.”

This amendment provides for references in Part 1 to being a “signatory” to an international trade agreement to be read as covering doing anything that would amount to a consent to be bound by the agreement as a matter of international law. It also provides for references to “ratifying” an agreement to be read as doing an act that establishes consent to be bound as a matter of international law.

Amendment 57, page 3, line 41, at end insert—

‘(5) References in this Part to anything which is retained EU law by virtue of section 4 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 include references to any modifications, made by or under that Act or by other domestic law from time to time, of the rights, powers, liabilities, obligations, restrictions, remedies or procedures concerned.”—(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment provides for references in Part 1 to anything which is retained EU law by virtue of section 4 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (directly effective Treaty rights etc) to catch modifications of the rights etc concerned, as well as the rights etc themselves.

Clause 8

Disclosure of information by HMRC

Amendments made: 59, page 5, line 38, leave out “Data Protection Act 1998” and insert “data protection legislation”

This amendment and amendment 60 reflect the fact that the Data Protection Act 2018 has now replaced the Data Protection Act 1998.

Amendment 60, page 5, line 40, at end insert—

‘( ) In this section “the data protection legislation” has the same meaning as in the Data Protection Act 2018 (see section 3 of that Act).”—(George Hollingbery.)

See the explanatory statement for Amendment 59.

Title

Amendment made: 79, line 1 after “the” insert “ratification and”—(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment is consequential on NC12.

Third Reading.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Let me begin by thanking right hon. and hon. Members from across the House who have shared their time and expertise to help enhance the Bill. We have spent today on Report thoroughly examining the measures in this short but significant proposed legislation. This followed four days of line-by-line scrutiny in Public Bill Committee. I would like to thank those who gave oral evidence to the Committee, and the individuals and organisations who provided written evidence and recommendations. I also extend particular thanks to the members of the Committee, on which the hon. Member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner) led for the Opposition and the hon. Member for Aberdeen North (Kirsty Blackman) led for the Scottish National party, for their detailed examination of the Bill and the positive way in which they contributed to debates on its provisions. I would also like to pay particular thanks to my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea and Fulham (Greg Hands), who as Minister of State for Trade Policy played a vital role in developing the Bill and in steering it through the preceding parliamentary stages. I, and all my parliamentary colleagues, owe him a great debt.

This is an important Bill. It provides continuity and stability as the UK leaves the European Union for individuals, businesses and our international trading partners. It will be the confident first step that the UK takes towards establishing itself as an independent training nation for the first time in over 40 years. As the hon. Member for Brent North concluded on Second Reading:

“The need for a Bill to establish a trade remedies authority, to establish our independent membership of the WTO government procurement agreement, to enable us to maintain strong trading ties with partner countries that have had historical agreements with us through the EU, and to establish the power to collect and share…information—all are uncontroversial requirements.”—[Official Report, 9 January 2018; Vol. 634, c. 221.]

I wholeheartedly concur.

As the UK leaves the EU, the Government are committed to seeking continuity in our current trade relationships. One way we will achieve this is by introducing powers to let us make domestic legislation implementing our independent membership of the Agreement on Government Procurement, or GPA. This continuity is important for both business and the taxpayer. GPA membership will maintain the access of UK businesses to a global public procurement market estimated at £1.3 trillion every year, across major economies such as the United States, Canada and Japan.

Taxpayers and users of public services will also benefit. The GPA has led to increased choice, quality and value for money in the public sector. TheCityUK, which represents financial and related professional services, wrote to the Public Bill Committee to say:

“We fully recognise the need for the UK to become a party to the WTO GPA”.

As it explained:

“The GPA requires that open, fair and transparent conditions of competition be ensured in government procurement…which cover both goods and services”.

The Federation of Small Businesses said:

“it is essential that the UK is able to become an independent member of the GPA, allowing small businesses to have continued access to government contracts and procurement opportunities.”

It is clear that the agreement is of great value to UK businesses and its importance is endorsed by organisations representing their interests.

As an EU member, the UK participates in many trade agreements with partner countries. We want continuity as far as possible in our existing trading relationships with these existing partners. As these agreements account for 12% of the UK’s total international trade, this will be important in preventing disruption to businesses, consumers and workers. The International Trade Committee observed in a recent report that:

“Almost no one who contributed to our inquiry suggested that the Government’s policy objective of seeking continuity was the wrong one.”

Additionally, the Scotch Whisky Association, which I have much pleasure in promoting at home and abroad, has said that

“continuity of current EU trade agreements is vitally important to us”.

British Sugar stated:

“We support the Government’s overriding intention to maintain continuity by replicating existing trade as closely as possible and believe that this is the best means by which to provide certainty to business.”

Continuity for the taxpayer, businesses, consumers and our international partners—that is what this Bill is about. To be absolutely clear, and as I made clear in my statement yesterday, this Bill is not about signing new trade agreements or making substantial changes to existing ones.

Despite many misleading claims to the contrary, the Government will not use measures in the Bill to implement substantially different agreements with existing partner countries. Our policy has always been, and remains, one of securing continuity first and seeking new opportunities second. We have been clear with our trading partners that continuity remains our primary objective, as I made clear earlier this evening. However, as debated on Report, to further reassure the House, the Trade Bill requires the Secretary of State to table a report outlining all the changes made to existing agreements as part of the transition into UK-only agreements. This places in statute the Government’s clear commitment to transparency—to aid appropriate parliamentary involvement, allowing Members of both Houses of Parliament the opportunity to see what changes have been made to secure continuity.

Additionally, the use of the clause 2 power will now be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, allowing both Houses to debate regulations made under that power. The Government will not use the powers in the Bill to implement the obligations of new free trade agreements—ones with countries with whom the EU does not already have a free trade agreement. We consider these to be future trade agreements and we announced this week our proposals for them.

The Bill also provides for the establishment of the Trade Remedies Authority. The World Trade Organisation allows its members to provide a safety net to protect domestic industries against injury caused by unfair trading practices, such as dumping and subsidies, and unforeseen surges in imports. Trade remedies level the playing field and restore the competitive balance. They are key to ensuring an effective rules-based system for international trade. The European Commission is currently responsible for undertaking trade remedies investigations and imposing measures on behalf of the UK. The Government are establishing the TRA to ensure that the UK can continue to provide a safety net for domestic industries after we have left the EU. I am grateful to Members on both sides of the House for the support that they have given on this issue.

Specifically, the TRA will be responsible for making an assessment in a case for a trade remedies measure, based on the evidence available. It will then make impartial recommendations to Ministers. This includes protection from goods that are heavily subsidised or dumped in the UK market at below domestic price. It also includes injury caused by unforeseen surges in imports. The investigative and decision-making framework that the TRA will be responsible for delivering is set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill.

The Government’s commitment to establishing the TRA has been recognised by stakeholders—by both producers and consumers. The Public Bill Committee was told by the British Ceramic Confederation:

“It is clear that we need a TRA, and it is certainly welcome that the Bill establishes one.”––[Official Report, Trade Public Bill Committee, 23 January 2018; c. 64, Q123.]

In its written evidence, consumer organisation Which? stated that it

“recognises the need to develop a trade remedies regime and establish a new TRA which will be able to consider the need for remedies objectively, on a case by case basis”.

As the International Trade Committee also recently acknowledged:

“Establishing a trade defence regime is critical to protect UK domestic industries from injury from adverse trading practices.”

The Committee described the Trade Bill and the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill as “important, necessary steps” and stated that

“we welcome the Government’s attention to this subject.”

The Bill also includes measures that will allow HMRC to collect more detailed information on trade and share it with appropriate bodies, primarily the Department for International Trade. This will allow the Government a sharper picture of how the UK trades and where we can best target support for British businesses. These provisions will also ensure that the UK is able to fulfil its international transparency obligations to share data with organisations such as the WTO. This function is currently undertaken by the European Union and it is vital that the UK can take over this responsibility, if we are to operate an independent trade policy.

Appearing as an expert witness before the Public Bill Committee, Professor Winters of the UK Trade Policy Observatory said:

“Information is very important, not least in my trade, for analysing what goes on. The case for collecting reasonable amounts of information, as long as it is cheap to do so, is very strong indeed”.––[Official Report, Trade Bill Public Bill Committee, 23 January 2018; c. 57, Q108.]

In a similar vein, the British Chambers of Commerce told that Committee:

“If, in the future, there can be a more robust collection of data and stronger assessments of UK-third country trade, that would be helpful.”––[Official Report, Trade Bill Public Bill Committee, 23 January 2018; c. 72, Q136.]

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Given the vote just now and that the UK is turning its back on the customs union, we will most likely have a border in Ireland. In that eventuality, we will not have a transition agreement with the Republic of Ireland. If we have a border but no transition agreement, will the Government be ready in March 2019 with the TRA and will they have in place the 40 trade agreements that are vital for industry?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I do not accept that the Government’s proposals will require a border in Ireland. In fact, the Cabinet took a specific decision to bring forward a proposal to take to the EU that will prevent us from having that border. Nor will we accept a border down the Irish sea, because all parts of the UK, however much the hon. Gentleman might dislike it, will be treated the same by this Government, who are proud to be a Conservative and Unionist Government.

The Bill also brings forward measures that will ensure a joined-up UK approach to implementing the GPA and continuity trade agreements. However, the Government respect the devolution settlement, as reflected by the amendments tabled by the Government on Report and accepted by the House. We have worked closely with the devolved Administrations to make progress towards legislative consent. Let me reiterate the Government’s commitment to not normally using the powers in the Bill in areas of devolved competence without the consent of the devolved Administrations. These powers are primarily here for administrative efficiency. We will not be taking back any powers currently in the hands of the devolved Administrations, however much the nationalists pretend that we will be. In fact, as powers return from Brussels, more will sit with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments than ever before.

As we leave the European Union, we want to provide continuity for businesses, for consumers and for our trading partners. This Bill sets the scene for the United Kingdom’s independent, sovereign trade policy. We will approach that with optimism and confidence. I commend the Bill to the House.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I thank the Minister for Trade Policy for stepping into the shoes of the right hon. Member for Chelsea and Fulham (Greg Hands) with great aplomb. He has displayed his customary tact in all our engagements and has helped the Government deliver the Bill, despite all the pressures he has faced. I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly), who I thought made an exceptionally thoughtful speech on Report and gave the Government a great deal of wise counsel that they might have done better to take even more notice of than they did.

In particular, of course, I want to thank my hon. Friends the Members for Sefton Central (Bill Esterson) and for Bradford South (Judith Cummins) for their exceptional work in preparing for the debates on Report and in Committee. It has been a long process since last October. We were not quite sure whether we would see the Bill this side of the summer recess, or whether it would even resurface before Christmas, but it is a great tribute to them that they were able to scrutinise the Bill with the care it deserved.

I echo the Secretary of State’s remarks about the expert witnesses. It is one of the great features of the innovations over the past 15 to 20 years in this House that expert witnesses now give their testimony to Committees at the beginning and inform our procedures. We certainly benefited hugely from all they said. Of course, I wish that the Secretary of State and the Minister had taken a little more notice of what they said, because they were often extremely critical of the Government, but that was not to be.

Finally, let me apologise to the Government Whips. I am not known in this place for speaking with brevity, and I must apologise to the Whips because when I curtailed my remarks this afternoon, it meant that the session did not go the full length, and I think that they took their wrath out on the Minister for ending it early.

Debate interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83E), That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Division 224

17 July 2018

The House divided:

Ayes: 317
Noes: 286

Question accordingly agreed to.

View Details

Bill read the Third time and passed.