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House of Commons Hansard
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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill
08 January 2020
Volume 669

Further considered in Committee (Progress reported, 7 January)

[Sir Roger Gale in the Chair]

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Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We now embark on the second day of scrutiny of the withdrawal agreement Bill by a Committee of the whole House. I again gently remind hon. Members that Mr Speaker has determined that this is not a suitable vehicle for maiden speeches. Any colleagues wishing to make a maiden speech should consult the Table Office, which they will find most helpful.

Clause 18

Main power in connection with other separation issues

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I beg to move amendment 38, page 20, line 10, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment would ensure that Ministers can only bring forward regulations when it is necessary to do so.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 39, page 20, line 18, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment would ensure that Ministers can only bring forward regulations when it is necessary to do so.

Amendment 47, page 20, leave out lines 25 and 26.

Removing this subsection prevents Ministers from using secondary legislation to amend primary legislation in order to implement the withdrawal agreement.

Clause 18 stand part.

Amendment 40, in clause 19, page 21, line 15, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment would ensure that Ministers can only bring forward regulations when it is necessary to do so.

Amendment 41, page 21, line 25, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment would ensure that Ministers can only bring forward regulations when it is necessary to do so.

Amendment 42, page 21, line 34, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment would ensure that Ministers can only bring forward regulations when it is necessary to do so.

Amendment 43, page 21, line 44, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment would ensure that Ministers can only bring forward regulations when it is necessary to do so.

Clause 19 stand part.

Amendment 24, in clause 20, page 24, line 2, at end insert—

“(1A) The payment from the Consolidated Fund or the National Loans Fund to the EU or an EU entity of each sum under section (1) which results from the imposition of any penalty shall be subject to approval by resolution of the House of Commons.”

This amendment is intended to require parliamentary approval for the payment of any fines or penalty under the withdrawal agreement.

Clause 20 stand part.

Amendment 44, in clause 21, page 24, line 37, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment would ensure that Ministers can only bring forward regulations when it is necessary to do so.

Amendment 1, page 25, leave out lines 1 and 2 and insert—

“(2) A Minister of the Crown must, on or before 30 June 2020, publish a comprehensive economic impact assessment of the effect of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol and regulations made under subsection (1) on—

(a) the UK’s Internal Market and the access of Northern Ireland goods to Great Britain and Great British goods to Northern Ireland;

(b) the Northern Ireland economy, including levels of imports and exports;

(c) fiscal and regulatory compliance of goods travelling from NI to GB and from GB to NI; and

(d) barriers to entry for third-country goods entering NI and GB from Ireland, the rest of the EU and third countries.

(2A) The Secretary of State must make arrangements for—

(a) a copy of each report published under subsection (2) to be laid before each House of Parliament, and conveyed to the Presiding Officer of each devolved legislature, by the end of the day on which it is published;

(b) a motion in neutral terms, to the effect that the House of Commons has considered the report, to be moved in the House of Commons by a Minister of the Crown; and

(c) a motion for the House of Lords to take note of the report to be tabled in the House of Lords and moved by a Minister of the Crown.

(2B) The motions required under subsections (2A)(b) and (c) must be moved in the relevant House by a Minister of the Crown within the period of five calendar days beginning with the end of the day on which the report is laid before Parliament.

(2C) The Secretary of State shall make a further report under subsection (2) on or before 31 October 2020 and at least every 12 months thereafter.”

This amendment would require the Government to deliver full transparency on the implications of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol including barriers to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Amendment 48, page 25, line 2, leave out “(including modifying this Act).”

This amendment would prevent Ministers making regulations under this section to modify the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

Amendment 33, page 25, line 2, at end insert “except repealing section 7A.”

This amendment would remove the uncertainty as to whether Ministers could amend or repeal the proposed new section 7A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

Amendment 50, page 25, line 3, leave out “may” and insert “must”.

In conjunction with Amendment 12, this would require the Government to ensure unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the GB market when it makes regulations implementing the Protocol.

Amendment 12, page 25, line 4, after first “the” insert “unfettered”.

This amendment would require regulations to facilitate unfettered access of qualifying Northern Ireland goods to the market within Great Britain.

Amendment 13, page 25, line 16, at end insert—

“(6A) Regulations under subsection (1) must include provision to prevent any direct or indirect commercial discrimination that may arise to the detriment of businesses (including farms) in Northern Ireland as a result of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.”

This amendment is intended to prevent direct or indirect commercial discrimination against Northern Ireland products.

Amendment 14, page 25, line 16, at end insert—

“(6B) Regulations under subsection (1) must include provision to prevent non-tariff barriers being imposed in Great Britain to exclude Northern Ireland products except to the extent strictly required by the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol as long as it remains in force.”

This amendment is intended to prevent a ‘not available in / do not ship to NI’ approach where no sound competitive reasoning is supplied, in order to protect Northern Ireland consumers and businesses.

Amendment 15, page 25, line 16, at end insert—

“(6C) Regulations under subsection (1) must include provision to prevent the exclusion of Northern Ireland produce or products from British marketing campaigns or assurance, trade and labelling schemes.”

This amendment is intended to prevent Northern Ireland products being excluded from ‘Red Tractor’ or ‘Buy British’ marketing schemes.

Amendment 10, page 25, line 27, at end insert—

“(8) But regulations under this section may not—

(a) impose or increase taxation or fees,

(b) make retrospective provision,

(c) create a relevant criminal offence,

(d) establish a public authority,

(e) amend, repeal or revoke the Human Rights Act 1998 or any subordinate legislation made under it, or

(f) amend or repeal the Scotland Act 1998, the Government of Wales Act 2006 or the Northern Ireland Act 1998.”

This amendment would apply the usual restrictions on Ministers’ delegated power to make regulations under the Government’s proposed new section 8C of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

Clause 21 stand part.

Amendment 45, in clause 22, page 25, line 37, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment would ensure that Ministers can only bring forward regulations when it is necessary to do so.

Amendment 46, page 26, line 3, leave out “appropriate” and insert “necessary”.

This amendment would ensure that Ministers can only bring forward regulations when it is necessary to do so.

Amendment 51, in clause 22, page 26, line 13, leave out “may” and insert “must”.

In conjunction with Amendment 16, this would require devolved authorities to ensure unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the GB market when making regulations implementing the Protocol.

Amendment 16, page 26, line 14, after first “the” insert “unfettered”.

This amendment would require regulations to facilitate unfettered access of qualifying Northern Ireland goods to the market within Great Britain.

Amendment 17, page 26, line 25, at end insert—

“(6A) Regulations under sub-paragraph (1) must include provision to prevent any direct or indirect commercial discrimination that may arise to the detriment of businesses (including farms) in Northern Ireland as a result of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.”

This amendment is intended to prevent direct or indirect commercial discrimination against Northern Ireland products.

Amendment 18, page 26, line 25, at end insert—

“(6B) Regulations under sub-paragraph (1) must include provision to prevent non-tariff barriers being imposed in Great Britain to exclude Northern Ireland products except to the extent strictly required by the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol as long as it remains in force.”

This amendment is intended to prevent a ‘not available in / do not ship to NI’ approach where no sound competitive reasoning is supplied, in order to protect Northern Ireland consumers and businesses.

Amendment 19, page 26, line 25, at end insert—

“(6C) Regulations under sub-paragraph (1) must include provision to prevent the exclusion of Northern Ireland produce or products from British marketing campaigns or assurance, trade and labelling schemes.”

This amendment is intended to prevent Northern Ireland products being excluded from ‘Red Tractor’ or ‘Buy British’ marketing schemes.

Clause 22 stand part.

Amendment 34, in clause 23, page 28, line 3, at end insert—

“(2) For the avoidance of doubt and without prejudice to the generality of Schedule 3, the reference in Section 7A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (other directly applicable or directly effective aspects of the withdrawal agreement) to rights, powers, liabilities, obligations, restrictions that as in accordance with the withdrawal agreement are without further enactment to be given legal effect or used in the United Kingdom, includes Article 2(1) of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland of the withdrawal agreement.”

This amendment would ensure that any person may rely directly on Article 2(1) of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland before any courts in the United Kingdom against all public bodies, including UK Ministers, and private bodies, such as employers.

Clause 23 stand part.

Amendment 32, in schedule 3, page 61, line 17, at end insert—

“4A After section 69D insert—

‘69E Notice to be given to Commission

(1) A court or tribunal shall order notice of any issue which affects law or practice relating to the protection of human rights in any proceedings before it to be given to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (unless the Commission is a party to the proceedings).

(2) Where notice is given to the Commission under subsection (1), the court or tribunal shall—

(a) annex a copy of the writ, originating summons or other process by which the proceedings were begun; and

(b) on request from the Commission, provide it with a copy of the pleadings and any decision of the court.

(3) For the purposes of this section, “decision” shall include reasons for a decision; an award of compensation or a determination that one party is required to pay a sum to another; the amount of any relevant compensation or payment; or any order for costs, allowances, preparation time or wasted costs.’”

This amendment would ensure the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is notified of cases relevant to the exercise of its functions under section 69 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, similar to devolution notices provided to the Attorney General; and to ensure coherence with exercise of functions under the new dedicated mechanism provisions.

Amendment 30, page 63, line 39, at end insert—

“(3) A court or tribunal shall order notice of any issue which arises under Article 2(1) of the Protocol on Ireland/ Northern Ireland in the EU withdrawal agreement in any proceedings before it to be given to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (unless the Commission is a party to the proceedings).

(4) Where notice is given to the Commission under subsection (3), the court or tribunal shall—

(a) annex a copy of the writ, originating summons or other process by which the proceedings were begun; and

(b) on request from the Commission, provide it with a copy of the pleadings and any decision of the court.

(5) For the purposes of this section, ‘decision’ shall include reasons for a decision; an award of compensation or a determination that one party is required to pay a sum to another; the amount of any relevant compensation or payment; or any order for costs, allowances, preparation time or wasted costs.”

This amendment would create a requirement for a court or tribunal to notify the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission of cases relevant to the dedicated mechanism, similar to devolution issue notification already provided to the Attorney General. The proposal would result in an amendment to new section 78C of the Norther Ireland Act 1998.

Amendment 31, page 63, line 39, at end insert—

“(3) A court or tribunal shall order notice of any issue which arises under Article 2(1) of the Protocol on Ireland/ Northern Ireland in the EU withdrawal agreement in any proceedings before it to be given to the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland (unless the Commission is a party to the proceedings).

(4) Where notice is given to the Commission under subsection (3), the court or tribunal shall—

(a) annex a copy of the writ, originating summons or other process by which the proceedings were begun; and

(b) on request from the Commission, provide it with a copy of the pleadings and any decision of the court.

(5) For the purposes of this section, ‘decision’ shall include reasons for a decision; an award of compensation or a determination that one party is required to pay a sum to another; the amount of any relevant compensation or payment; or any order for costs, allowances, preparation time or wasted costs.”

This amendment would create a requirement for a court or tribunal to notify the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland of cases relevant to the dedicated mechanism, similar to devolution issue notification already provided to the Attorney General. The proposal would result in an amendment to new section 78C of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

That schedule 3 be the Third schedule to the Bill.

Amendment 36, in clause 24, page 28, leave out line 15.

This amendment removes the bar on the Joint Committee recommending an alteration in the functions of an existing implementation body under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

Clauses 24 and 25 stand part.

Amendment 49, in clause 26, page 30, leave out lines 9 to 49 on page 30 and lines 1 to 15 on page 31.

This amendment would remove the power of Ministers to specify the circumstances in which lower courts within the domestic legal systems of the UK could depart from the rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union after the transition or implementation period.

Clauses 26 to 36 stand part.

Amendment 29, in clause 37, page 37, line 2, leave out from “Europe),” to the end of line 19 and insert

“after subsection (1) insert—

‘(1A) In seeking to negotiate an agreement under subsection (1), it shall be an over-riding objective of the Minister of the Crown to secure outcomes which match as closely as possible those which applied before exit day under Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast) in so far as they relate to an application for the UK to take charge of or take back an applicant who is an unaccompanied.’”

This amendment seeks to maintain the status quo for applications for international protection lodged by unaccompanied children who are third-country nationals or stateless persons.

Amendment 26, page 37, line 3, leave out from “Europe)” to the end of line 19 and insert

“the following amendments are made—

‘(a) After subsection (1) insert—

(1A) The Secretary of State must, before IP completion day, make provision to ensure that, after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, an unaccompanied child who has made an application for international protection to a member State may, if it is in the child’s best interests, come to the United Kingdom to join a relative who—

(a) is a lawful resident of the United Kingdom, or

(b) has made a protection claim which has not been decided.”

(b) In subsection (2) after “(1)(a)(i)” insert “and (1A)(a)”.

(c) In subsection (3) after “(1)(a)(ii)” insert “and (1A)(b)”.’”

This amendment would require the UK Government to guarantee continued family reunion rights for unaccompanied child refugees, while retaining the requirement on the Government to negotiate an agreement with the EU that protects those rights.

Amendment 4, page 37, line 3, leave out from “Europe)” to the end of the Clause and insert

“after subsection (3) insert—

‘(3A) If, three months after this Act comes into force, no agreement achieving the objective contained in subsection (1) has been concluded with the European Union, a Minister of the Crown must make a statement to the House of Commons setting out—

(a) the steps taken by Her Majesty’s government, and the progress made in negotiations with the European Union, for the purpose of achieving the objective in subsection (1); and

(b) whether in the Minister’s opinion an agreement with the European Union achieving the objective of subsection (1) is likely to be achieved by IP completion day and, if not, setting out the reasons for this.

(3B) Following the making of the first Statement referred to in subsection (2), and until such time as an agreement satisfying the objective contained in subsection (1) is reached with the European Union, the Minister shall, at least as frequently as every 28 days thereafter, make further statements in accordance with sections (3A)(a) and (b).’”

This amendment would protect the right for unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their family after Brexit.

Amendment 28, page 37, leave out lines 5 to 19 and insert—

“(1) A Minister of the Crown must, within 3 months of this Act coming into force, make provision for take charge requests from unaccompanied minors.

(1A) Regulations made under subsection (1) must operate in such a way that the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 as they relate to unaccompanied minors are effective in UK domestic law.

(1B) The Immigration, Nationality and Asylum (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 are amended by omitting subparagraph 3(h) in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to those Regulations.

(1C) In this section, “take charge requests” and “unaccompanied minor” have the same meaning as under Regulation (EU) No 604/2013.”

This amendment will ensure that the UK continues to accept take charge requests from unaccompanied minors.

Clause 37 stand part.

New clause 1—Parliamentary sovereignty over negotiations for the future relationship

‘After section 13B of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (certain dispute procedures under withdrawal agreement) (for which see section 30 above) insert—

“13C Negotiations for future relationship

(1) A Minister of the Crown must, before the end of the period of 30 Commons sitting days beginning with the day on which exit day falls, make a statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU.

(2) A Minister of the Crown may, at any time after the initial statement is made, make a revised statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU.

(3) A Minister of the Crown may not engage in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU unless—

(a) a statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU has been approved by the House of Commons on a motion moved by a Minister of the Crown that can be amended by the House of Commons so as to change the objectives for the future relationship, and

(b) a motion for the House of Lords to take note of that statement has been moved in that House.

(4) Prior to the House of Commons’s consideration of a motion under subsection (3)(a), a Minister of the Crown must have consulted with each devolved administration on the negotiating mandate.

(5) In conducting negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, a Minister of the Crown must seek to achieve the objectives set out in the most recent statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU to have been—

(a) approved by a resolution of the House of Commons on a motion moved by a Minister of the Crown, and

(b) the subject of a motion of the kind mentioned in subsection (3)(b).

(6) The Secretary of State must publish the negotiating text of a proposed future relationship agreement on the same day that they are shared with EU negotiators.

(7) After the end of each reporting period, a Minister of the Crown must—

(a) lay before each House of Parliament a report on the progress made, by the end of the period, in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, including—

(i) the Minister’s assessment of the extent to which the outcome of those negotiations is likely to reflect the most recent statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU to have been approved by the House of Commons, and the subject of a motion in the House of Lords, as mentioned in subsection (3), and

(ii) if the Minister’s assessment is that the future relationship with the EU is, in any respect, not likely to reflect that statement, an explanation of why that is so, and

(b) provide a copy of the report to the Presiding Officer of each of the devolved legislatures and to—

(i) the Scottish Ministers,

(ii) the Welsh Ministers, and

(iii) the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland or the Executive Office in Northern Ireland.

(8) Subsections (9) and (10) apply if, in the opinion of a Minister of the Crown, an agreement in principle has been reached with the EU on a treaty the principal purpose of which is to deal with all or part of the future relationship with the EU.

(9) A Minister of the Crown must, within one week of an agreement outlined in subsection (8), lay before each House of Parliament—

(a) a statement that political agreement has been reached, and

(b) a copy of the negotiated future relationship treaty.

(10) Prior to the laying of the text of the proposed treaty, the Secretary of State must have consulted with each devolved administration on the text of the proposed agreement and taken their views into account, with special consideration given to matters relating to devolved competences.

(11) A treaty in the same form, or to substantially the same effect, as the negotiated future relationship treaty may be ratified only if the negotiated future relationship treaty has been approved by a resolution of the House of Commons on a motion moved by a Minister of the Crown and—

(a) the House of Lords has not resolved, within the period of 14 Lords sitting days beginning with the day on which the negotiated future relationship treaty is laid before that House, that any treaty resulting from it should not be ratified, or

(b) if the House of Lords has so resolved within that period, a Minister of the Crown has laid before each House of Parliament a statement indicating that the Minister is of the opinion that the treaty should nevertheless be ratified and explaining why.

(12) Section 20 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (treaties to be laid before Parliament before ratification) does not apply in relation to a treaty if subsection (11) applies in relation to the ratification of that treaty.

(13) In this section—

“devolved legislature” means—

(a) the Scottish Parliament,

(b) the National Assembly for Wales, or

(c) the Northern Ireland Assembly;

“future relationship with the EU” means the main arrangements which are designed to govern the security and economic aspects of the long-term relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU after IP completion day and to replace or modify the arrangements which apply during the implementation period, but does not include the withdrawal agreement;

“negotiated future relationship treaty” means a draft of a treaty identified in a statement that political agreement has been reached;

“negotiations” means negotiations the opening of which, on behalf of the EU, has been authorised under Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

“reporting period” means—

(a) the period of three months beginning with the first day on which a statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU is approved by a resolution of the House of Commons on a motion moved by a Minister of the Crown, and

(b) each subsequent period of one month;

“statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU” means a statement—

(a) made in writing by a Minister of the Crown setting out proposed objectives of Her Majesty’s Government in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, and

(b) published in such manner as the Minister making it considers appropriate;

“statement that political agreement has been reached” means a statement made in writing by a Minister of the Crown which—

(a) states that, in the Minister’s opinion, an agreement in principle has been reached with the EU on a treaty the principal purpose of which is to deal with all or part of the future relationship with the EU, and

(b) identifies a draft of that treaty which, in the Minister’s opinion, reflects the agreement in principle;

“treaty” has the same meaning as in Part 2 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (see section 25(1) and (2) of that Act).”’

This new clause restores the role for Parliament in providing scrutiny and oversight in the negotiations over the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

New clause 6—Parliamentary approval of the future relationship

“(1) The Secretary of State may not engage in negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU until a Minister of the Crown has laid a draft negotiating mandate before each House of Parliament and—

(a) moved an amendable motion in the House of Commons containing the text of the draft negotiating mandate;

(b) the draft negotiating mandate (as amended) has been approved by a resolution of the House of Commons, and

(c) a motion for the House of Lords to take note of the draft negotiating mandate has been moved in that House by a Minister of the Crown.

(2) The draft negotiating mandate must set out in detail—

(a) the UK’s negotiation objectives,

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

(c) the principles to underpin the proposed negotiation,

(d) any limits on the proposed negotiations, and

(e) the desired outcomes from the proposed negotiations.

(3) Prior to laying the draft negotiating mandate, a Minister of the Crown must have consulted each devolved administration on the negotiating mandate.

(4) Prior to the House’s consideration of a motion under subsection (1)(b), a Minister of the Crown must lay before both Houses of Parliament a sustainability impact assessment conducted by a credible body independent of government following consultation with—

(a) each devolved administration,

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

(c) the public.

(5) The assessment shall include both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the potential impacts of the proposed trade agreement, including—

(a) social,

(b) economic,

(c) environmental,

(d) gender,

(e) equalities,

(f) climate change,

(g) human rights,

(h) labour,

(i) development, and

(j) regional

impacts.

(6) In conducting negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, a Minister of the Crown must seek to achieve the objectives set out in the negotiating mandate approved under subsection (1)(b).

(7) After the end of each reporting period, a Minister of the Crown must—

(a) lay before each House of Parliament a report on the progress made, by the end of the period, in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, including—

(i) the Minister’s assessment of the extent to which the outcome of those negotiations is likely to reflect the negotiating mandate approved under subsection (1)(b), and

(ii) if the Minister’s assessment is that the future relationship with the EU is, in any respect, not likely to reflect that mandate, an explanation of why that is so, and

(b) lay before each House of Parliament the latest rounds of negotiating texts, by the end of each reporting period, and

(c) provide a copy of the report to the Presiding Officer of each of the devolved legislatures and to—

(i) the Scottish Ministers,

(ii) the Welsh Ministers, and

(iii) the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland or the Executive Office in Northern Ireland.

(8) Subsections (9) to (13) apply if, in the opinion of a Minister of the Crown, an agreement in principle has been reached with the EU on a treaty the principal purpose of which is to deal with all or part of the future relationship with the EU.

(9) A Minister of the Crown must lay before each House of Parliament—

(a) a statement that political agreement has been reached, and

(b) a copy of the negotiated future relationship treaty.

(10) Prior to the laying of the text of the proposed treaty, the Secretary of State must have consulted with each devolved administration on the text of the proposed agreement and taken their views into account, with special consideration given to matters relating to devolved competences.

(11) Prior to considering a motion approving the text of the negotiated future relationship treaty, the Government must lay before each House of Parliament a response to any report by a relevant Parliamentary committee (such as the Exiting the EU select committee) containing a recommendation in relation to the ratification of the agreement.

(12) A treaty in the same form, or to substantially the same effect, as the negotiated future relationship treaty may be ratified only if the negotiated future relationship treaty has been approved by a resolution of the House of Commons on an amendable motion moved by a Minister of the Crown and—

(a) the House of Lords has not resolved, within the period of 14 Lords sitting days beginning with the day on which the negotiated future relationship treaty is laid before that House, that any treaty resulting from it should not be ratified, or

(b) if the House of Lords has so resolved within that period, a Minister of the Crown has laid before each House of Parliament a statement indicating that the Minister is of the opinion that the treaty should nevertheless be ratified and explaining why.

(13) Section 20 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (treaties to be laid before Parliament before ratification) does not apply in relation to a treaty if subsection (11) applies in relation to the ratification of that treaty.”

This new clause ensures that MPs get a guaranteed vote with an amendable motion on the EU-UK Future Relationship and negotiating objectives, and sets out scrutiny of the negotiating mandate. It requires a sustainability impact assessment of the future relationship; the regular release of negotiation texts; and engagement with devolved administrations.

Amendment (a) to new clause 6, in line 39, after “(j) regional” insert “(k) health”

New clause 11—Consent and the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol

“(1) Nothing in this Act affects section 4(5) and 42 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

(2) Accordingly, if 30 of its members petition the Northern Ireland Assembly expressing their concern about a matter which is to be voted on by the Assembly, the vote on that matter shall require cross-community support.

(3) ‘Cross-community support’ in relation to a vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly on any matter, means—

(a) the support of a majority of the members voting, a majority of the designated Nationalists voting and a majority of the designated Unionists voting; or

(b) the support of 60 per cent of the members voting, 40 per cent of the designated Nationalists voting and 40 per cent of the designated Unionists voting.

(4) “Designated Nationalist” means a member designated as a Nationalist in accordance with standing orders of the Northern Ireland Assembly and ‘designated Unionist’ is construed accordingly.”

This new Clause re-states the existing law on the operation of cross-community support in votes of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

New clause 12—Consent and the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol (No. 2)

“(1) Notifying the European Union of the outcome of the democratic consent processes under Article 18 of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol is a matter for the Government of the United Kingdom under paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

(2) The Government of the United Kingdom must seek to apply any democratic consent process under or in connection with the Withdrawal Agreement in conformity with existing practice on votes requiring cross-community support in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(3) The Government of the United Kingdom must accordingly seek to withdraw and replace any parts of the Declaration of 17 October 2019 by Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning the operation of the Democratic consent in Northern Ireland provision of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland which conflict with the existing practice on votes of the Northern Ireland Assembly requiring cross-community support.”

Paragraph 3(a) of the Declaration of 17 October 2019 by Her Majesty’s Government concerning the operation of the Democratic consent in Northern Ireland provision of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol requires a threshold of a majority of members of the Northern Ireland Assembly present and voting. This new Clause seeks to replace that threshold with the normal cross-community support process.

New clause 13—UK internal market

“(1) The Government of the United Kingdom must maintain and strengthen the integrity and smooth operation of the internal market of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

(2) Accordingly it is a priority for the Government of the United Kingdom in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU to reach agreement to supersede any provisions of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol which impede or conflict with the duty in subsection (1).”

This new Clause seeks to replace any provisions of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol which fail to maintain and strengthen the integrity and smooth operation of the internal market of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

New clause 14—Sovereignty and Northern Ireland

“(1) Nothing in this Act contradicts Article 6 of the Union with Ireland Act 1800.

(2) Accordingly, Her Majesty’s subjects of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are entitled to the same privileges, and to be on the same footing as to encouragements and bounties on the like articles, being the growth, produce, or manufacture of either country respectively, and generally in respect of trade and navigation in all ports and places in the United Kingdom and its dependencies; and that in all treaties made by Her Majesty, her heirs, and successors, with any foreign power, Her Majesty’s subjects of Northern Ireland shall have same the privileges, and be on the same footing as Her Majesty’s subjects of Great Britain.”

This new Clause re-states the fundamental constitutional principle of unfettered trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

New clause 15—Sovereignty and Northern Ireland (No.2)

“(1) Nothing in this Act affects the status of Northern Ireland set out in section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

(2) Accordingly, Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom and shall not cease to be so without the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section in accordance with Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998.”

This new Clause re-states the fundamental constitutional principle of Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom, unless a majority of the people of Northern Ireland vote to decide otherwise.

New clause 17—Objectives during negotiations

“(1) A Minister of the Crown may not engage in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU unless—

(a) a statement on objectives for the future relationship with the EU has been approved by the House of Commons on a motion moved by a Minister of the Crown,

(b) a motion for the House of Lords to take note of that statement has been moved in that House by a Minister of the Crown,

(c) a motion relating to that statement has been approved by a resolution of the National Assembly for Wales,

(d) a motion relating to that statement has been approved by a resolution of the Scottish Parliament,

(e) a motion relating to that statement has been approved by a resolution of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection 1(e), a Minister of the Crown may engage in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU if the Northern Ireland Assembly has not approved the appointment of a First Minister and deputy First Minister within six weeks of the day on which this Act is passed.”

This new clause would require the Government to seek the consent of all the parliaments of the UK for its objectives during negotiations on the future relationship with the EU.

New clause 21—International trade

“(1) The Government shall, during the implementation period, use its flexibilities under Article 129(4) of the Withdrawal Agreement to negotiate trade agreements with other parties.

(2) The Government shall, from 1 February 2020, and subject to the procedures for participation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), exercise full rights as an individual member of the WTO and shall seek to—

(a) join any relevant committees and sub-committees that serve the UK‘s national interest, and

(b) speak in the WTO on all matters that serve the UK‘s national interest, notwithstanding the Duty of Sincere Co-operation under Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European Union and the Common Commercial Policy which are applicable during the implementation period.”

This new clause would mandate the Government to participate actively in the World Trade Organisation to serve the UK’s national interest.

New clause 22—Joint Committee representation from Northern Ireland

“After section 15B of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Ministerial co-chairs of the Joint Committee) (for which see section 34 above) insert—

‘15BA Joint Committee representation from Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom delegation to the Joint Committee must always include representation from Northern Ireland, namely either—

(a) a representative agreed jointly by the First Minister and deputy First Minister, or

(b) in period when there is no Northern Ireland Executive, a representative nominated by the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.’”

This new clause would require Northern Ireland to be represented on the Joint Committee.

New clause 23—Joint Committee and the Belfast Agreement

“After section 15B of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Ministerial co-chairs of the Joint Committee) (for which see section 34 above) insert—

‘15BB  Joint Committee and the Belfast Agreement

The United Kingdom representatives on the Joint Committee must have due regard for all aspects of the Belfast Agreement within their work.’”

This new clause would require UK representatives on the Joint Committee to have due regard for all aspects of the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement within their work.

New clause 24—Joint Committee and Article 50 phase 1 report

“After section 15B of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Ministerial co-chairs of the Joint Committee) (for which see section 34 above) insert—

‘15BC  Joint Committee and Article 50 phase 1 report

The United Kingdom representatives on the Joint Committee must have due regard within their work to the UK government commitments in the joint report from the negotiators of the EU and the United Kingdom Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.’”

This new clause would require UK representatives on the Joint Committee to have due regard within their work to the UK government commitments in the joint report of 8 December 2017 from the negotiators of the EU and the UK on phase 1 of the Article 50 negotiations, including its references to unfettered access for Northern Ireland businesses to the whole of the United Kingdom internal market.

New clause 25—Specialised Committee on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol Group representation from Northern Ireland

“After section 15B of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Ministerial co-chairs of the Joint Committee) (for which see section 34 above) insert—

‘15BD  Specialised Committee on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol Group representation from Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom delegation on the Specialised Committee on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol Group must always include representation from Northern Ireland, either—

(a) agreed jointly by the First Minister and deputy First Minister, or

(b) in period when there is no Northern Executive, nominated by the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.’”

This new clause would require Northern Ireland to be represented on the Specialised Committee on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol Group established under Article 14 of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.

New clause 26—Joint Consultative Working Group representation from Northern Ireland

“After section 15B of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Ministerial co-chairs of the Joint Committee) (for which see section 34 above) insert—

‘15BE  Joint Consultative Working Group representation from Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom representatives on the Joint Consultative Working Group must always include representation from Northern Ireland, either—

(a) agreed jointly by the First Minister and deputy First Minister, or

(b) in period when there is no Northern Executive, nominated by the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.’”

This new clause would require Northern Ireland to be represented on the Joint Consultative Working Group established under Article 15 of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.

New clause 39—Fisheries

“(1) Ministers of the Crown have as an objective in negotiations with the EU on the future relationship preserving, protecting and promoting the future of the fisheries industry based in Northern Ireland.

(2) In order to promote unfettered access of Northern Ireland fishermen to the UK internal market, Ministers must seek an agreement with the EU that fish caught in compliance with UK fisheries policy by trawlers based in Northern Ireland and landed in UK harbours for the UK internal market will not require after the end of the implementation period any more documentation than was required before exit day.”

This new clause aims to address a specific example of unfettered access in order to avoid an increase in paperwork being required for the Northern Ireland fishing industry after the UK leaves the EU.

New clause 40—State aid

“(1) The UK Government must exercise its responsibilities for implementing and applying the provisions of Union law under Article 12 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in accordance with this section.

(2) The UK Government must, when exercising its responsibilities with respect to Article 10 of the Protocol (State aid) in relation to a Northern Ireland product, take no account of whether any products originating from Great Britain that are contained in that Northern Ireland product may have received state aid.”

This new clause would provide that any state aid provided to GB products that are included in Northern Ireland products cannot be taken into account when the UK Government assesses the state aid status of those NI products.

New clause 41—Regulatory divergence

“(1) The Competition and Markets Authority must at intervals of not more than 12 months publish an assessment as to whether the effect of any regulatory divergence between the UK and the EU has been to place Northern Ireland businesses at a competitive disadvantage within the UK internal market that would constitute grounds for the UK to take safeguard measures under paragraph 1 of Article 16 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

(2) The first assessment under subsection (1) shall be published no later than 12 months after the last day of the implementation period.

(3) If the Competition and Markets Authority makes an assessment under subsection (1) that the effect of any regulatory divergence is that there are grounds for the UK to take safeguard measures, the UK Government must within three months of receiving that assessment take safeguard measures under Article 16 of the Protocol that are in its opinion sufficient to remedy the competitive disadvantage.

(4) The Competition and Markets Authority shall report its opinion as to the adequacy and effectiveness of any safeguard measures under subsection (3) when making its next assessment under subsection (1).”

This new clause would require regular assessments by the CMA as to whether regulatory divergence between the UK and the EH has put Northern Ireland businesses at a serious competitive disadvantage, and in the event of such a finding would require the Government to remedy that disadvantage.

New clause 42—Specialised Committees

“(1) Representatives of the United Kingdom attending specialised committees convened under Article 165 of the Withdrawal Agreement have a duty to represent the interests of Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom.

(2) The United Kingdom Government must make arrangements for the Northern Ireland Executive to nominate at least one representative to the specialised committee on issues related to the implementation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol (see Article 165 (v) of the withdrawal agreement and Article 14 of the Protocol) and to each of the other specialised committees.

(3) In the absence of a Northern Executive, the Secretary of State must nominate representatives under subsection (2) after consulting the political parties comprising Members elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly.”

This new clause would ensure Northern Ireland representation on the specialised committees established under the Withdrawal Agreement.

New clause 43—Asylum claims after exit day

“A Minister of the Crown must seek to negotiate, on behalf of the United Kingdom, an agreement with the EU which, after the United Kingdom‘s withdrawal from the EU, secures outcomes matching as closely as possible those which applied before exit day under Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third- country national or a stateless person (recast).”

This new clause seeks to maintain the status quo for applications for international protection lodged by a third-country national or a stateless person under the Dublin III process.

New clause 44—Preventing discrimination

“(1) A power of a Minister of the Crown under the law of England and Wales or of Scotland to make, confirm or approve subordinate legislation may not be exercised, on or after IP completion day, in a way that would result in law that treats qualifying NI goods differently from GB good, unless the difference in treatment is justified as mentioned in subsection (2).

(2) A difference in treatment is justified only if it is shown to be necessary and can deliver material benefits for the purposes of—

(a) protecting health of life of humans, animals or plants, or the environment,

(b) protecting national security, or

(c) ensuring that those involved in the production, supply or use of qualifying NI goods are put in a position that is no less favourable overall than those involved in the production, supply or use of GB goods.

(3) Subsection (1) applies to a power whether conferred before, on or after IP completion date.

(4) A Minister of the Crown must by regulations define ‘GB goods’ for the purposes of this section.”

This new clause would prevent a Minister of the Crown under the law of England and Wales or of Scotland using the power to make, confirm or approve subordinate legislation, on or after IP completion day, in a way that would result in law that treats qualifying NI goods differently from GB goods, unless the difference in treatment is justified as mentioned in subsection (2).

New clause 47—Accountability of the Joint Committee

“After section 18 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 insert—

‘18A Accountability of the Joint Committee

(1) A motion appointing the United Kingdom’s co-chair of the Joint Committee shall be laid before and approved by both Houses of Parliament.

(2) The United Kingdom’s co-chair of the Joint Committee shall always request that, unless for reasons of national security, all meetings of the Joint Committee are conducted in public.

(3) As far as is permitted by Rule 10 of Annex VIII to the withdrawal agreement, a Minister of the Crown must publish all decisions and recommendations adopted by the Joint Committee.

(4) Before attending each session of the Joint Committee a Minister of the Crown shall make an oral statement to the House of Commons setting out—

(a) the purpose and agenda of that Joint Committee meeting;

(b) the intended policy to be pursued by the Minister attending that Joint Committee meeting; and

(c) as far as possible the economic, social and environmental impact of any proposition to be determined at the Joint Committee.’”

This new clause requires the UK’s co-chair of the Joint Committee to be approved by Parliament, to ask the EU for Joint Committee meetings to be held in public where possible, for decisions of the Joint Committee to be published, and for a Minister to make a statement to the House of Commons ahead of each Joint Committee meeting.

New clause 52—Meaning of ‘unfettered access’

“(1) In sections 21 and 22, ‘unfettered access’ for qualifying Northern Ireland goods means that businesses in Northern Ireland must continue to be able to sell their qualifying goods to Great Britain without tariffs, origin requirements, regulatory import controls, dual authorisations or discrimination in the market.

(2) Northern Ireland businesses shall enjoy the rights under subsection (1) regardless of whether they trade directly with Great Britain or trade via Dublin port.”

This new clause defines what ‘unfettered access’ means for the purposes of Amendments 12 and 16.

New clause 53—Duty of consultation when making regulations in connection with the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol

“Before making regulations under sections 21 and 22, the Government and the devolved authorities must consult, and take account of the views of, the Northern Ireland Executive.”

This new clause would require the UK Government and the devolved authorities to consult and take account of the views of the Northern Ireland Executive before making regulations which could affect Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market.

New clause 54—Consent for any new trade frictions

“(1) Regulations that would introduce new requirements on goods traded from Northern Ireland to Great Britain (including, but not restricted to, import customs declarations or origin checks) may not come into force without the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(2) No additional official or administrative costs consequent on any such regulations may be recouped from the private sector.”

This new clause would require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly before further trade frictions are imposed from Northern Ireland to Great Britain and would protect Northern Ireland businesses from paying for the administrative costs.

New clause 55—Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market

“(1) As part of its obligation under Article 6.2 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland to use its best endeavours to facilitate trade between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK, the UK Government must—

(a) publish an assessment at least every 12 months of any negative impacts on businesses and consumers arising from the Protocol on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and vice versa; and

(b) develop mitigations to safeguard the place of Northern Ireland businesses and consumers in the UK internal market.

(2) The assessment published under paragraph (1)(a) must include assessment of the impact of any actual or proposed regulatory or trade policy divergence on Northern Ireland’s place in the UK Internal Market.

(3) Any official or administrative costs arising from the duties under subsections (1) and (2) may not be recouped from the private sector.”

New clause 57—Consultation with the British Irish Council

“The British Irish Council must be consulted prior to any proposed changes in standards relating to food, the environment or employment in the process of negotiations for new trading relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union.”

New clause 58—Consultation with the British Irish Council (No. 2)

“The British Irish Council must be consulted prior to any proposed changes in the United Kingdom’s devolution settlement as a direct result of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, or any changes to the devolution settlement resulting from future trade agreements.”

New clause 60—Establishment of a mitigation package

“(1) The United Kingdom Government must guarantee and fund the establishment of a mitigation package for businesses and communities in Northern Ireland.

(2) The impact and success of this fund shall be reviewed by an independent economic body every six months.

(3) The fund must be established in consultation with the devolved administration in Northern Ireland.”

New clause 61—Provision for EU Referendum in Northern Ireland

“(1) Provision must be made to allow for Northern Ireland with the consent of a majority of people in Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purpose, to remain or (as the case may be) to join the European Union.

(2) If the expressed wish by a majority in such a poll is for Northern Ireland to remain or join the European Union, the Secretary of State shall lay before Parliament such proposals to give effect to that wish as are agreed between Her Majesty‘s Government in the United Kingdom and the Government of Ireland.

(3) This section comes into effect only after a Legislative Consent Motion has been approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly.”

New clause 63—Border Impact Assessment

“(1) The United Kingdom Government must work jointly with and commission, alongside the Government of Ireland and the Northern Ireland administration, an economic impact assessment on the border regions between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

(2) This impact assessment must include recommendations on economic support and investment required to aid these regions after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.”

New clause 64—Role of Devolved Administrations in trade negotiations

“The Northern Ireland administration, alongside other devolved governments and administrations, must have a formal role in all new trade negotiations conducted by the United Kingdom Government.”

New clause 65—Trade Agreement

“The Northern Ireland Assembly must give legislative consent for any new trade agreement reached by the United Kingdom Government before new trading rules and standards are enacted.”

New clause 66—Maintaining EU Alignment

“The United Kingdom Government must provide an annual analysis to the devolved administrations and governments as to what measures they can enact to ensure maximum regulatory alignment with the European Union standards as the EU’s laws are updated and enhanced.”

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It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Roger.

I rise to speak to amendments 38 to 49, which stand in my name and those of some of my colleagues, to amendment 10, which stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford) and some of my other colleagues, and to amendments 28 and 29 and new clause 43, which stand in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East (Stuart C. McDonald).

We heard a lot yesterday from those on the Government Benches about the desire of the British people to get on with Brexit, so I would like to begin today by reminding them that the UK at present consists of four constituent parts, and that two out of four of them—Scotland and Northern Ireland—have voted to remain in the EU on every occasion they have been given, including the EU referendum in 2016 and thereafter.

I acknowledge and respect the fact that the Prime Minister and his party won a majority of the seats in England, but I ask those on the Government Benches to pause and consider that the Prime Minister did not win a majority of the seats in Wales, did not win any seats in Northern Ireland—indeed, remain parties won the majority of seats there—and that in Scotland, standing on a manifesto commitment to deliver Brexit and prevent a second independence referendum, the Conservative and Unionist party was reduced to a rump of six MPs, with the Scottish National party winning the election emphatically.

I ask then that this afternoon not be another session of “Scotland get back in your box” but that there is some respectful recognition of the democratic desire of my constituents and the majority of constituents in Scotland to remain in the EU. Rather than lectures about delivering the will of the British people, let us seriously consider that it is the role of the Opposition to scrutinise Bills. I realise that, inevitably, Brexit will now happen—I hope and believe that Scotland will find a way around that for Scotland—but that does not mean there are not legitimate concerns about the way in which the Government are seeking to deliver Brexit.

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Does the hon. and learned Lady further accept that 16.5 million people voted for parties either supporting remain or a public vote on the deal versus 14.5 million who voted for the oven-ready Brexit? There is still a democratic mandate, therefore, for putting the deal to the people?

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I have to say that I think the ship has sailed on that, because of the outcome of the election in England, but the ship has not sailed on Scotland’s constitutional future, because, like it or not, the Conservative party was reduced to a rump of representation in Scotland at the general election and my party won 47 of the 59 seats. It is surely a matter of concern in a democracy that is not a unitary state but consists of several nations that no matter how many amendments I and my colleagues table to the Bill, and probably every other Bill in this Session, we are unlikely to achieve a single amendment.

Rather than the braying and jeering that occurred when the leader of my group, my right hon. Friend the Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford), got up to ask his questions this afternoon, I suggest to those on the Government Benches that if they really believe in preserving the Union of the United Kingdom they might want to show a little more respect, not necessarily to me or my right hon. Friend, but to those who sent us here to advocate what the majority of people in Scotland want—and, whether those on the Government Benches like it or not, the majority of people in Scotland do not want to leave the European Union but want a second opportunity to look at Scotland’s constitutional future in the light of England’s decision to leave the European Union. I defy any democrat to say that that is not a reasonable position. I gently suggest to those on the Government Benches that jeering at the representatives of voters in Scotland, shouting us down and rubbishing our legitimate concerns is not a sustainable position for the next five years.

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I am a Unionist, but I share the hon. and learned Lady’s view that the voices from the various and diverse parts of the United Kingdom need to be heard. She is right to say that the Government are unlikely to accept any of the amendments that represent legitimate concerns, not least among those of us who represent Northern Ireland. Indeed, all the main parties have come together in an unprecedented way to back many of these amendments. I hope that, post the withdrawal agreement, there will be more consultation and discussion that will include the representatives of the various parts of the United Kingdom.

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There is not much on which the right hon. Gentleman and I will agree, but we can agree on this point. There needs to be a recognition, along with the triumphalism of members of the Conservative and Unionist party about their win in England—which I understand, because we feel pretty triumphal about our win in Scotland—that, if theirs really is a Unionist party, they must engage properly with the representatives of the other parts of the United Kingdom.

Before I deal with the amendments in this group, let me raise again with Ministers the points that I made yesterday about the sweeping powers that the Government are taking to themselves in clauses 3, 12, 13, 14, 18, 21 and 27 to table delegated legislation making provision for areas of devolved policy. The Secretary of State tried to rubbish my interventions yesterday, but if he had time to read the independent report of the Scottish Parliament Information Centre overnight he will know that this is not some SNP party political diatribe, and that careful analysis of the Bill makes clear that it is a matter of fact that the Government are taking to themselves the right of British Ministers, acting alone, to produce delegated legislation in relation to devolved areas. That shows that the paragraph about which the SNP has complained on a number of occasions will actually be included.

The Secretary of State tried to deflect me yesterday, first by saying that the power related to reserved matters. That was simply not correct, as it clearly relates to devolved matters. He then suggested that the power that the Government were taking was merely technical. He will, of course, know that the Sewel convention does not apply to delegated legislation, although it probably would not matter if it did, because the Government are now prepared to drive a coach and horses through it. Interestingly, the Government’s delegated powers memorandum in relation to the Bill states that UK Ministers “will not normally” make regulations in relation to devolved areas

“without the agreement of the relevant devolved administration.”

That is what the Sewel convention says, but we know that it has lately been more honoured in the breach than the observance.

Let me ask the Secretary of State again to revisit the remarks that he made yesterday. Will he acknowledge, for the record—and these are matters on which there may be litigation in the future, so the record might be quite important—that the clauses to which I have referred give UK Ministers the power to make delegated legislation in relation to devolved matters? Will he acknowledge, for the record, that that constitutes an incursion into devolved policy that rightly causes concern not just to the Scottish National party but to all who believe in the devolved settlement?

I know that it is history, but 22 years ago 75% of the people of Scotland voted for that devolved settlement. It is worth remembering that the background against which they did so was years and years of Scotland voting Labour but getting a Conservative Government. Now they are seeing years and years of Scotland voting SNP but getting a Conservative Government. I think it reasonable to draw a lesson from that history: there probably will be another constitutional referendum in Scotland soon, because the tension that now exists is similar to the tension that existed in the 1990s. I look forward to hearing from the Secretary of State later today an acknowledgement of the power that is being taken by the British Government.

Overall, I would say that this Bill is about the Executive taking as much power to themselves as possible, not just from the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly but from this Parliament, with their swingeing use of delegated legislation and, in relation to clause 26, which I will come to in a moment, from the judiciary.

The Conservative and Unionist party’s manifesto revealed that the Government’s aim was to change the balance between Government, Parliament and the courts and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford) said yesterday, we see in this Bill the beginning of the changing of that balance. We also see a continued attack on rights, not just the undermining of EU citizens’ rights, as we heard yesterday, and not just the undermining of workers’ rights, which we will come to later today, but the rights of child refugees.

It is fair to say that it is the proposal in the part of the Bill that we are discussing that has excited the most public comment. I have certainly received many communications from constituents who are worried about this, and in that connection I wish to speak to the amendments tabled in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East—new clause 43, amendment 28 and amendment 29—and at least to address them at this stage, whether or not they are made, which is perhaps a matter for later.

Across Europe, thousands of unaccompanied children are living in the most desperate circumstances, many of whom are separated from their families. Legal family reunion is a lifeline to those children, who would otherwise risk their lives in dinghies or in the back of lorries to reach a place of safety with their families. We have seen some pretty awful evidence recently of what can happen when refugees resort to dinghies or the backs of lorries.

In 2018, in recognition of that fact, a cross-party coalition in this House, including prominent Members of all parties, including the Conservative and Unionist party, recognised the humanitarian need for family reunion to continue and secured a legal commitment from the then Government to negotiate a replacement for the current rules when we leave the European Union. For the Government now to seek to remove those protections risks causing panic among refugee families currently separated in Europe, with potentially tragic consequences. It is also deeply unacceptable to the constituents of many MPs in this House.

The Government say that they are going to continue with refugee family reunion, so it is not clear to me why they are going to the trouble of taking that commitment out of this Bill, unless they want to hedge their bets a bit. Based on experience, that is what I suspect they are up to. Without this obligation in the Bill, there will be no obligation on the Government to ensure that family reunion continues beyond the very restrictive rules in United Kingdom law.

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I was one of the supporters of the original family reunification amendments. I trust the Government and that this commitment will be stuck to in the appropriate place—an immigration Bill. Does the hon. and learned Lady acknowledge, however, that post-Dublin III there is a potential problem with the full extent of those family members who qualify for family reunification, and that that needs to be sorted out? There is also a problem with the rate at which potential applicants are processed in places such as Greece and Italy, which is not working well, and with the cost of applications. The whole scheme needs to be properly overhauled, and just bunging it into this Bill is not necessarily the best way of getting the best result that we all want.

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The answer to that is that the whole scheme is not being bunged into this Bill. The obligation to maintain certain minimum-level requirements is being taken out by the Bill, although it was agreed by cross-party Members, including the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton), in the last Parliament.

The UK’s immigration rules as they stand—apart from some very limited circumstances—allow children to reunite only with parents, not with other relatives, in the UK. Under the EU Dublin III regulation, children have a legal route to reunite with other family members such as siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and 95% of children that the charity Safe Passage supports to reunite with family safely and legally would be ineligible under the current UK rules. The consequence of this is that they would be forced to remain alone, separated from their families. There is a legitimate concern that taking out this previous commitment, through the Bill, is the beginning of a move towards an absolutely minimalist approach by the Government to their rights and duties.

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I want to put on record in Hansard that lots of people have contacted me by email about the issue that the hon. and learned Lady is referring to. There are many churches and many individuals in my constituency that want to see what she has asked for enshrined in legislation. I had thought that the Government were committed to doing that, and it is disappointing if they are not. If the Government want to reflect public opinion out in the street and mostly reflect public opinion in the constituency of Strangford and elsewhere, they should listen to the voices of the churches, the community groups and the individuals who want to see this happening. With that in mind, I will support the hon. and learned Lady.

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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his comments, with which I entirely agree.

Among the amendments that have been crafted by the SNP, new clause 43 is designed to oblige the Government to negotiate an agreement so that Dublin III as a whole continues as closely as possible to the current arrangements. So far as we can make out, it is different from other Opposition amendments, which focus only on children with family here. Our purpose is to challenge the Government to explain why the broader Dublin III system is not worth saving.

Amendment 28 relates specifically to children. Again, so far as we can see, it is the only Opposition amendment that goes beyond seeking an agreement and requires Ministers to put in place a scheme so that we keep accepting take-charge requests from unaccompanied minors. We in the SNP ask why that should be negotiated away. If we believe that children seeking international protection are best placed with their families, let us allow that to happen in the United Kingdom. If we get an agreement that the arrangement is mutual with the EU, that would be great, but why wait? Are we seriously saying that, in the unlikely event that the European Union decides to play bad cop, global Britain will not take these children?

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I am following carefully the argument that the hon. and learned Lady is making. Does she not agree that the obligation the Government already have, under the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, to protect the best interests of children would be an essential factor in considering exactly the amendments that she is discussing, and that if they are refusing to accept those amendments, they are undermining that legislation and the intention behind it?

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I entirely agree with that point.

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Does the hon. and learned Lady also find it troubling that the Government have chosen to remove the obligations in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 that everyone had accepted? They had been supported by Government Ministers and by this House as a sensible objective to negotiate an agreement to ensure that some of those vulnerable children could be reunited with their families. It was the most innocuous element of that Act, and it is therefore inexplicable that Government Ministers should suddenly decide that they want to take it away.

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I agree. It is inexplicable, unless Government Ministers want to take the advantage of the majority they have secured from the English electorate to renege on an important humanitarian commitment, which, as the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) has said, represents the best about what people across these islands hold dear in their Christian faith, their other faiths or their humanitarianism. It is incumbent on the Government to tell us what they are really up to.

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Will the hon. and learned Lady give way?

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I want to make a bit of progress now.

I want to deal briefly with amendment 29, which is similar to ones advanced by other Opposition parties. It simply puts back in the Bill the obligation to negotiate an agreement for unaccompanied children. We see that very much as a fall-back, and we would like the House to go further than that.

I want to move quickly on to deal with my amendment 38 and those that follow it, which relate to the extent to which the Bill resorts to delegated powers in order for the Government to change the law in ways they feel are appropriate—not necessary, but appropriate—in relation to our withdrawal from the European Union. The Bill enables the Government to make potentially huge changes to the law through secondary legislation that cannot possibly enjoy the same level of scrutiny by this Parliament that one might expect in a properly functioning constitutional democracy that is contemplating such significant change as this Parliament seems determined to embark upon.

In the previous Parliament, I pressed Ministers to explain why the determining factor for the use of extensive delegated powers was whether they felt them to be appropriate, rather than necessary. “Appropriate” sets a very low and subjective threshold, enabling Ministers to implement a wide range of legislative measures without adequate parliamentary scrutiny. Many independent bodies, such as the Law Society of England and Wales and the Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, have suggested, as my amendments do, that the test should be narrowed to an objective test of necessity. If the role of Parliament in scrutinising delegated legislation will be reduced, the only other mechanism to scrutinise it will be through judicial review, and that puts quite a heavy burden on the individual.

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My hon. and learned Friend is making an important point. I sat on many Delegated Legislation Committees in the previous Parliament, and their ability to amend anything is nil. Does she agree that that is a woefully inadequate process, because while there is some degree of scrutiny, there is certainly no ability to change anything?

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My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The reality is that if this discretion will be scrutinised only in the courts after individuals have raised concerns about the impact of delegated legislation on their rights, then the breadth of discretion that the judiciary has to determine whether something is appropriate rather than necessary could be quite problematic. Indeed, that was reflected in the previous Parliament by judicial concerns about the breadth of discretion afforded by the word “appropriate.” I tried on numerous occasions in the previous Parliament to get Ministers to explain why they must have “appropriate” rather than “necessary,” but I am not a quitter, so I will try again today, and I will be interested to hear what the Minister has to say.

Moving on to amendment 10, in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire, I believe that she will speak about it later or may wish to intervene on me, but I will just deal with it fairly briefly, because it is important. Others will obviously speak about Northern Ireland at length this afternoon, but amendment 10 deals with powers in relation to implementing the Northern Ireland protocol. As my hon. Friend said yesterday, the arrangements in relation to the protocol are pretty sketchy, with almost everything left to the Joint Committee to work out and then to be enacted, again, through delegated powers.

However, a significant difference exists between the restrictions on the powers afforded under proposed new section 8C and those under previous similar sections, such as section 8B(5) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, because there is no restriction on the powers, for example, in relation to their ability to impinge on the devolved settlements of Scotland and Wales. Of course, concerns exist about the extent to which business organisations, the food and drink industry and, particularly, inshore fishing, as we heard yesterday, could be impacted upon in Scotland by the Northern Ireland protocol.

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This obviously also relates to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and is of concern, perhaps in this Chamber, in relation to the Human Rights Act 1998. Looking at what proposed new section 8C would replace, the 2018 Act contains limitations that had become relatively standard, so I find it suspicious that they are missing. There is no sunset clause, no restriction on taxes or new offences and, in particular, no protection for the devolved Administrations or the Human Rights Act. That is really worrying, because we are being asked to sign up to something when we have no idea of the long-term ramifications.

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As, I think, a Committee of the House of Lords pointed out, it is unusual for restrictions in relation to the Human Rights Act, the Scotland Act 1998, the Government of Wales Act 2006 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998 not to appear in relation to delegated powers, so I am interested in hearing why those restrictions do not appear and in learning how the Government think the implementation of the Northern Irish protocol will impact upon the Scotland Act. Indeed, I am in interested in the impact on the Government of Wales Act and the Human Rights Act, and why the Government want to take delegated powers to interfere with the Human Rights Act and the devolved settlement in Scotland.

Turning quickly to clause 26 and my amendment 49, they relate to the concern expressed by many that the Government are amending section 6 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018—the original provision being that the Supreme Court for the whole of the UK or, in relation to criminal matters, the High Court of Justiciary were not bound by retained EU case law and could depart from that case law in the same way that those Supreme Courts would depart from their own case law. However, in an almost—I think I am correct in saying—unprecedented use of delegated legislation, in clause 26 the Government intend to take the power to pass regulations specifying additional courts or tribunals that could depart from EU law. That is a most unusual approach, and I am wondering what has prompted it.

I am interested in the justification for clause 26. Is it an act of revenge on the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and the Supreme Court of Scotland for daring to defy the previous Conservative Government by ruling their unlawful Prorogation out of order, or is there some other rationale? I would be interested to hear what it is, because their lordships were taking a close interest in this clause. Even if I am not able to move the SNP amendment to the clause today, which would revert to the status quo in the previous Act, I am sure it will be moved in the House of Lords, because there is a real concern that the aim here is to impact upon the independence of the judiciary, and that different regulations applying to different courts about the extent to which EU law was overruled or could be applied will interfere with the important principle of legal certainty. In some ways, this is a probing amendment, but it is an amendment which, if not moved in this House, will be moved elsewhere, so it would be interesting to hear from the Government exactly why they consider it necessary to diverge so radically from the previous a course of action upon which they were determined.

Before I conclude, I want to say a few brief things about a number of important amendments tabled by the other parties. The SNP would be inclined to support the official Opposition’s amendment 4 on child refugees if they move it, although we would like to go a bit further than that, as I indicated earlier. We are also keen to support amendments from the official Opposition relating to transparency on the arrangements for Northern Ireland and on general scrutiny and oversight. We also give our wholehearted support to the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) and to new clause 17 from our friends in Plaid Cymru.

It is, of course, a great pleasure, particularly for myself and my colleagues in the SNP, to have the company of Irish nationalists once more in this Chamber. While I totally respect and understand Sinn Féin’s historical reasons for abstentionism, it is good that we will again hear the voice of Irish nationalism on the Floor of this House and the voice of a significant part of the community in Northern Ireland. It is good to be reminded that Northern Ireland, like Scotland, voted to remain in the European Union. We will be keen to lend our support to the amendments tabled by the Social Democratic and Labour party.

In conclusion, I am certain that not one single amendment sponsored by the Scottish National party will pass in relation to this Bill, just as not a single amendment sponsored by the Scottish National party passed in relation to the Scotland Bill back in 2015, despite the fact that we had 56 out of the 59 MPs in Scotland and now have 48 out of 59.

It is worth remembering that the devolution settlement, which this Bill will undermine, was predicated on the idea expressed in the claim of right for Scotland, which asserts that it is the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs. Of course, on 4 July 2018 the previous Parliament unanimously endorsed that principle in the claim of right. The previous British Parliament accepted that it is the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs. That means that this House has itself recognised, explicitly and unanimously, the principle of self-determination for Scotland. I look forward to seeing whether the Government have any proposals to reverse that in this Parliament.

To return to what I said at the opening of my remarks, I say to the Government that the day is coming when the people of Scotland will once again vote on whether Scotland should regain its former status as an independent nation state. The hubris, insouciance and lack of respect for democracy embodied in this Bill will hasten that date and ensure victory for the independence movement.

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Order. For clarification, and as the hon. and learned Lady indicated, although a considerable number of amendments and new clauses have been grouped for debate under this group, only the lead amendment at this stage is moved, so the Question is that amendment 38 be made. It gives me pleasure to call, for what will be his maiden speech in his capacity as a knight of the realm, Sir Robert Neill.

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Thank you very much indeed, Sir Roger. It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair and to follow the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry). I do not share her political analysis, but I do have sympathy with some of the legal points she raises, which I will address.

I will start with the interpretation of retained EU law, which raises an important issue. As the hon. and learned Lady has said, concerns have been raised by many lawyers, regardless of their political views. I speak as someone who supported the Bill’s Second Reading, who will support it on Report and on Third Reading, and who stood on a manifesto commitment to implement the Bill. The lawyer in me, however, says that it is particularly important that we get this detail right. That is why I hope I can press Ministers for a little more detail and explanation as to why they have chosen a particular course to achieve their objectives.

I accept that there will be circumstances in which it will be necessary for courts to depart from EU law once we have left the European Union. I have no problem at all with that. I am concerned, however, that the Government’s chosen formulation for clause 26 has the potential to upset the well-established hierarchy and system of binding precedent that has characterised English common law and, to a greater or lesser degree, that of the other jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. The system of binding precedent is important because we have always regarded it as a benchmark of English law that gives certainty, in that lower courts cannot depart from the decisions of higher courts. That has served us well for centuries and is not something from which we should lightly depart.

It is going to be important for the future, too. If we are to advance Britain’s position as an international legal centre and an international financial and business centre—as I hope and am confident we will—certainty of law is important. I am a little concerned, however, that, without more explanation, the Government might risk getting to a stage where—inadvertently, I have no doubt, and perhaps for the sake of speed—they may undermine that valuable asset. That would have perhaps two consequences, which I will touch on.

Judgments made over the years by the European Court of Justice have been embedded in domestic judgments of our courts, including those of the Supreme Court. It seems odd that power should be given to a lower court to, on the face of it, depart from a Supreme Court judgment interpreting the European law as it then was. On the face of it, and without more explanation, that seems to me to upset the doctrine of binding precedent and risks driving a coach and horses through a fundamental part of our system. That is not something we should undertake lightly. Will the Minister explain the rationale behind it and precisely how the Government will go about it? Why is it necessary?

People who will seek to litigate or enter into contracts during the EU withdrawal period, or immediately after—many commercial contracts will run over that period—will want to do so in the knowledge that they will have certainty as to what the law is likely to be. If the law is likely to be disapplied, that will be done either by an Act of Parliament, which is fair enough, or by a judgment of the High Court or, if appropriate, the Supreme Court, working through the usual hierarchy of precedence. It would be bizarre to allow an employment tribunal or even a High Court judge sitting at first instance to, on the face of it, have the power to disapply EU law in a way that might not be consistent with the ruling of the higher court in previous cases. I am sure that that is not the intention, but the wording as it stands, without more being said, seems to open up the risk that that could happen. I hope the Minister will help us and explain how that will be avoided, because I am sure it cannot be what the Government want.

There is a second risk, though also unintended, I am sure. As well as being embodied in judgments, previous ECJ decisions in EU law have been embedded in policy decisions, which have been made sometimes in this House by primary or secondary legislation, and sometimes through the executive actions of Ministers and other executive bodies and agencies. If one is inviting a lower court to depart from EU law on those matters—and, perhaps, to overturn some of those decisions—we run the risk, as the Law Society fairly points out, of, ironically, dragging our courts into areas of potential political controversy. I cannot believe that the Government wish to do that. Moreover, given that in recent months people in some circles have been critical of the UK’s higher courts for their judicial activism—personally speaking, I think that is unfair—it would be a little ironic and odd if we were to encourage judicial activism by the lower courts. I cannot possibly think that that is what the Government want to do. Without an explanation or refinement of the wording of the clause—I do not expect the Minister to do that now, because he will have time to do so—it seems to open up another risk. I hope he will explain the thinking behind it and how we might avoid that unintended and, I am sure we would all agree, undesirable consequence.

The European Union withdrawal agreement dealt with that subject by saying that only the Supreme Court could depart from EU case law. That makes absolute sense, in accordance with acceptance of our binding hierarchy of courts and the precedent of judgments delivered by the courts. Can the Minister be more specific as to precisely why it is that the Government have chosen to depart from that principle in this case? If the issue is one of time, that should be reflected in the urgency with which we address the negotiations and in the resources given, including to the courts, to deal properly with such matters. I am not saying that I do not want appropriate decisions in relation to EU law to be made, but I do not think we should imperil a much broader system for the sake of expediency in relation to a narrow point. I am sure the Minister knows that I approach the issue from a constructive point of view. I hope he will give us more detail and reflect on the matter.

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I am alive to my hon. Friend’s concerns—indeed, I share them—but does not clause 26 provide protection by giving the Minister the power to make regulations that will have to go through this House? That is a statutory intervention, albeit not an Act of Parliament. It is by the will of this House that those intrusions would be made.

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I say to my right hon. Friend: yes, up to a point, Lord Copper. Although it may be by the will of the House, I urge the Committee to be cautious in going down such a route, which profoundly changes the centuries-old approach to English common law. Secondly —this is a point that I will make in a moment—there is an issue with the way in which we scrutinise regulations that the Committee may be asked to make. That relates to clause 18, to which I will return briefly. It is about getting those two bits right.

I am conscious that elsewhere in the legislation, there is an obligation upon Ministers to consult the senior judiciary when making some of those regulations. I welcome that important safeguard—it must be a very full consideration. With every respect to my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne), I do not think that we have a complete answer as yet. In particular, we need an explanation about the departure from the position as it was in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. As the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West alluded to, there is a concern that we run the risk of an increase in judicial review were there a deficiency or uncertainty in the way in which we deal with those matters.

I hope the Minister will confirm that, as well as the commitment to consult the judiciary, there will be very wide and early consultation under the provisions of clause 26. That should obviously include the senior judiciary throughout the UK, but I hope it will also take on board the broader concerns of legal practitioners to find the right formula. For example, it could include experts like those who serve on the Law Society’s Brexit law committee—that is fundamental to the workings of our financial services—and who work for other such organisations. By pressing the Minister in this way, I seek to make sure that we get that right.

That brings me to my second and final point, which relates to clause 18 and the way in which we consider delegated legislation. I note that the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West hinted that amendment 39 is a probing amendment, and I am glad of that. I have some sympathy with it, but I accept that the Minister might want to reconsider, between now and the passage of the Bill through the other place, how best to deal with the issue. On the face of it, it is surprising to substitute an objective test with a subjective one when dealing with matters of such importance.

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When dealing with issues of interpretation of European law in the context of our own previous methods of judicial interpretation, those of us who are familiar with Maxwell as compared to Craies know what the differences are. Does my hon. Friend believe that we should be moving towards the stare decisis system—in other words, a system based on precedent—rather than to purposive interpretation, which is the basis on which European law currently operates? Professor Richard Ekins of Oxford University and others are very conscious of that. He has written a very interesting paper.

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It is indeed a very interesting paper. Having been brought up as a common lawyer myself, my preference is inevitably to move towards a stare decisis approach. I think that that is something that we all wish to move back to as we reconstruct our statute book and legal texts thereafter. My hon. Friend and I will be entirely in accord on that.

The question is really about the route that we choose to get there and ensuring that we have proper scrutiny of that route, because any deficiencies in regulations would likely result in a judicial review. That is another irony: I am sure that the Government would not want greater risk of judicial review of their actions than is absolutely necessary. It would be a funny Government who made work for lawyers in relation to judicial review. That might be interesting for some of us, but I am sure that it is not something that the Government wish to do. However, without more explanation as to why we are going down that route, that is the risk.

First, I suggest to the Minister that he should seriously consider whether we move to a “necessary” as opposed to “appropriate” test—an objective test—which is much more likely to withstand challenge in the courts, because it is more likely to be readily evidenced and, I would have thought therefore, to the Government’s advantage. If the Government get their ducks in a row early when making regulations and have evidence to back the objective test, they are much more likely to withstand legal challenge.

Secondly, the Government would be much less likely to face challenges and we would get better scrutiny if we moved—certainly for the majority of policy considerations —to using the affirmative rather than the negative procedure. That would perhaps be a fair balance in the House. We will not necessarily be able to do primary legislation for all of our withdrawal, because there is too much of it. Sensible use of secondary legislation, to remove references to the European Union or something of that kind, can of course be done by the negative procedure. When policy considerations are involved, however, the use of the affirmative procedure would be consistent with the Government’s objective of bringing back control to the House, and with the movement towards our traditional UK approach to legal matters. I hope that the Minister will say something about that when he responds.

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It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Sir Roger, and I look forward to serving under your guidance. It is also a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill), who has given the Treasury Bench much to think about on the difference between subjective and objective tests, which I will bear in mind in my remarks.

I rise to speak to the official Oppositions’s amendments in this group. Amendment 1 relates to full transparency on the implications of the Northern Ireland-Ireland protocol. Amendment 4 would restore the clauses from the previous version of the Bill that related to negotiating arrangements for the protection of unaccompanied child refugees. New clause 1 would restore to the Bill the process of parliamentary scrutiny—it has been removed since the previous version of the Bill—over the process and outcome of negotiating the future relationship with the EU after we leave. I am sure that you will tell me if I stray from the topic of debate, Sir Roger.

The Opposition have tabled amendment 1 because the Government appear to be incapable of clarity about the implications of the Ireland-Northern Ireland protocol on the people of Northern Ireland and Great Britain, their jobs, their businesses and their way of life. That is too important to leave to chance. The people of Northern Ireland, and the people of the whole United Kingdom, need and deserve the transparency and accountability that the amendment proposes.

This part of the withdrawal agreement and the Bill have to be considered in the light of the historical context. The Good Friday/Belfast agreement was an extraordinary moment in the history of these islands and an awe-inspiring achievement of the incoming Labour Government of 1997 and of the latter period of the Major Government. Nobody my age could have thought that we would see peace in Northern Ireland in our lifetimes. The change to our way of life and the benefits to the people of Northern Ireland were unimaginable before the agreement. The Good Friday/Belfast agreement brought in a new era of peace and reconciliation.

The people of Northern Ireland, as well as its politicians across political and other divides, deserve our respect and admiration for how they have built the peace, worked to build united communities and created a way of life that seemed impossible a quarter of a century ago. Surely, no politician of any affiliation would want to destabilise that achievement—I am sure that that includes the Minister, the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr Walker), who is nodding. I am sure he needs no reminding—I will remind him anyway—that the Government have a legal obligation to adhere to the terms of the Good Friday/Belfast agreement. That means no opt-outs, no wiggling and nothing other than solid, uncompromising adherence to and support for the spirit and the letter of the agreement, no matter how hard that may be. Too many people have sacrificed too much for peace for the Government to do otherwise.

These are no small matters, so it is troubling in the extreme that the Government do not seem to know their own mind or the implications of their own protocol. The consequences of a return to a hard border or divisions between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the fears emerging for people in Northern Ireland and the problems for businesses across the UK are all serious matters—hence our amendment. Businesses in Northern Ireland have spoken with one voice and are rightly concerned about the potential impact of border checks on goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. So, too, are businesses across other parts of Great Britain. Any business that currently sends goods to Northern Ireland should not have to expect border checks within the UK.

Businesses in Bristol West have already told me of their anxieties about checks between the UK and the rest of the EU27, but at least those checks were anticipated after the 2016 referendum. Those businesses should not have to expect border checks within the UK, between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Not only that but the Prime Minister has, at times, appeared at odds with his own Secretary of State on what the practical implications and, therefore, the trading and economic implications will be for the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom is enshrined in the Good Friday/Belfast agreement. We must honour that agreement, and the Government should not be afraid to be open about how they are honouring it. That is why we ask them to consider supporting amendment 1.

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I do not think any Conservative Member would, in any way, demur from the need to uphold the Belfast/Good Friday agreement, which has provided the bedrock of political stability, but does the hon. Lady acknowledge that the withdrawal agreement itself specifically underlines the point about unfettered access and, equally, that the protocol is intended to be replaced by the enduring agreement that we wish to strike with the European Union?

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I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention but, of course, it is far from clear that that will be the case. What we are actually seeing, even from the Secretary of State, is that there will be customs checks. There will have to be border checks because of the nature of the protocol.

I ask the Minister to provide clarity. If the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire) is correct, all well and good, but that is not the impression we have been given.

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The hon. Lady’s points are appropriate and balanced. The right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire), a former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, suggests, as has been suggested throughout this debate, that there is automatic secession from the Northern Ireland protocol—there is not. Article 13(8) is very clear that the only way we secede from the Northern Ireland protocol is, first, if the European Union agrees and, secondly, if the confines of the protocol are no longer required. Those two things are not in our gift, so there is no certainty of our automatic secession, as the hon. Member for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire) was invited to believe.

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The hon. Gentleman is quite right. It is because of that uncertainty that many people in Northern Ireland have understandable fears about the future.

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My hon. Friend is making an excellent point. We heard it again yesterday that the Government’s intention is for Britain to diverge from the European Union. If that is the case, as we are being led to believe, it is inevitable that there will be border checks somewhere. With respect to the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire), there is absolutely no guarantee and no certainty. It is the Government’s wish to diverge that is causing this problem.

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My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I, too, sat through yesterday’s debate, and that seemed to be what was being said. The Brexit Secretary himself said that there will have to be some sort of checks, which is inevitable. If we are to diverge from the current rules and Northern Ireland is to remain within them, there will have to be checks. It is no wonder that the people of Northern Ireland are concerned about the potential impact on their place within this United Kingdom.

Businesses in Bristol West have already told me of their anxieties, as I said, but they had a right not to expect there to be border checks within the UK. Northern Ireland’s place is enshrined in the Good Friday/Belfast agreement, but this is not just about trade—that is why I mentioned the agreement. This is about people. It is about values. It is about hopes and fears for the future, and it is about the feeling of belonging. It is about relationships between and within communities.

There is a perception among some in Northern Ireland, as hon. Members have mentioned, that a border nobody voted for will be created within the United Kingdom down the Irish sea. A border in the Irish sea does not bring people together, as the Good Friday/Belfast agreement does; it divides people and pulls them apart.

Amendment 1 seeks to give the Government a way of renewing their commitment to the Good Friday/Belfast agreement by showing that they still believe in the Union—the full Union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The amendment would require them to report openly and transparently on the implications of the protocol for the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and vice versa, for the Northern Ireland economy, for the fiscal and regulatory compliance of goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and for barriers to trade for third-country goods entering Northern Ireland and Great Britain from the rest of the EU and third countries.

Amendment 1 would require the Secretary of State to publish a report and lay it before both Houses of Parliament and each devolved legislature, and to provide for debate and proper scrutiny in both Houses. The first report should appear before 31 October. I can see no problem with that. If there is no problem, as the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup says, what is the problem with transparency? It would not take the Government very long to do that reporting, and our constituents and the people of Northern Ireland have a right to expect such transparency.

If the Government do not support amendment 1, I can only ask them to respond. Do they feel they owe it to the people of Northern Ireland to report sufficiently on the commitment they made earlier in this process to avoid a hard border? What is it about transparency and accountability to the people of the whole United Kingdom to which they object?

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On transparency and reporting, it is important that Northern Ireland is represented on the proposed Joint Committee on the Northern Ireland protocol so that we have a direct input into how the arrangements are enacted.

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That sounds like an eminently sensible idea.

The Opposition support the cross-party amendment, new clause 55, and I will come on to the other clauses. The Labour party has consistently proposed a solution to the possibility of Brexit causing a border either on the island of Ireland or in the Irish sea, and our customs union proposal would prevent both. There will be a chance to discuss that proposal later today, and the Government will have a chance to consider it. In the meantime, I ask them to consider amendment 1.

Clause 37 is an astonishing breach of faith with some of the most vulnerable children in the world. Our amendment 4, which we will push to a vote, seeks to restore that faith. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer) and the noble Lord Dubs, our dear friend and colleague, have today written jointly to all Conservative Members to urge them to support amendment 4 and thereby scrap clause 37.

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The UK has already reneged on its commitment to the 480 child refugees who were due to come to the UK from France under the Dubs scheme. This withdrawal agreement is a further regression of the UK’s moral duty to help vulnerable refugee children, so does my hon. Friend agree that amendment 4 would require the UK to show that it is serious about its humanitarian obligations?

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I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. This is about who we want to be as a country—who I believe the British people already are—and how we want to be seen. As Conservative Members will know, there is no mandate for this change. The change was not in their general election manifesto or in any statement of support for the withdrawal agreement of which I am aware, although they are welcome to contradict me. It is deeply wrong for the Government to seek to remove this provision on protecting vulnerable children just because they can.

I am sure that many Conservative Members are troubled by this, and I hope some are having words with their Whips right now. I know their constituents will be shocked by the breach of trust between the people of this country who, no matter who they voted for in December, believe that protecting vulnerable children is part of who we are as a country. Brexit or no Brexit, that is who we are.

I believe the Minister is an honourable man, and perhaps he will seek to remedy this breach of faith by not objecting to amendment 4, and thereby not put his MPs in an awkward position. We shall see.

Clause 37 removes the commitment to negotiate an agreement with the EU27 on protecting child refugees. If the Government will not back our amendment to change that, I hope they will explain it. The hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry) has already outlined much of the case, and I am grateful to her for supporting our amendment and for laying out the legal detail, as I am not as capable as she is to do so.

This commitment belongs within the Bill. The Government have said otherwise, but we believe it belongs here because, as well as keeping faith with the noble Lord Dubs and others both inside and outside Parliament, the existing provisions for the protection of children would then be the basis for negotiating an agreement. We must consider the fact that the clock is ticking; we leave the EU at the end of this month and we will then have only a few months more to agree the future relationship. The regulations that currently provide the legal basis for child refugees to be reunited with adult relatives will end if we do not put any other negotiated agreement in place in that time.

Surely, there can be no right hon. or hon. Member in this place who does not respect and admire the work of our colleague and friend Lord Dubs, who, with warmth and determination, eternal optimism and good faith, has campaigned, and inspired others to campaign, for us to do more, not less, for vulnerable child refugees travelling alone and trying to get to safety. Who among us can fail to recognise his extraordinary example and his achievements? I hope that I am wrong, but it would seem that, unfortunately, the Government do not recognise them. That is certainly Lord Dubs’s view and it is mine, too, because in clause 37 they have reneged on that commitment. More importantly, they have reneged on a commitment to child refugees themselves, to secure arrangements at the earliest opportunity on how to protect children elsewhere in the EU who have an adult relative legally in the UK, either with status or in the asylum process.

Family reunion is one of those things that should not need explaining, but apparently it does: families belong together. Families who are traumatised by war, persecution and conflict are often forced to make decisions that none of us would ever want to have to make. Sometimes, in their journeys to safety, they are separated, and we should be doing everything we can to help reunite them, wherever they are, because that is part of who we are as a country. The British Red Cross and other refugee organisations have recommended that clause 37 be removed and that the provision be restored, and the Government could do just that. They have said that there is no change of policy and that it is just not appropriate for this provision to be in this Bill—the Minister is nodding. Why should it not be in this Bill? It was in the October version. The provisions end this year and I have heard no whisper of any negotiations so far with the EU about this provision, although I am happy to be corrected if the Minister knows otherwise.

In numerous reports, such as the House of Lords European Union Committee report “Brexit: refugee protection and asylum policy” and the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report “Responding to irregular migration: A diplomatic route”, the importance of providing safe and legal routes to protection has been noted. They point out, for example, that policies that focus

“exclusively on closing borders will drive migrants to take more dangerous routes, and push them into the hands of criminal groups.”

They have warned:

“In the absence of robust and accessible legal routes for seeking asylum in the UK, those with a claim are left with little choice but to make dangerous journeys by land and sea.”

The Government have rightly shown concern about people setting out on those dangerous journeys, but making it harder to come by legal routes is what prompts them. The Government recognise the need—I have heard them do this—to do more to prevent desperate and vulnerable people setting out in leaky boats and taking other dangerous routes, but this recognition is hollow words if it is not followed up with the action needed to increase safe and legal routes. The Minister will know, as I have pressed on this on many occasions, in different contexts and different debates, that refugee resettlement and refugee family reunion saves lives and prevents those dangerous journeys.

Clause 37 is worse than I have set out, as not only does it fail to increase our response, but it goes backwards. It risks going backwards because we have no commitment on what will happen and it is totally unnecessary. Let me set out some things the Government could choose to do and commit to right now. They could commit that family reunion rights will be protected, with priority afforded to unaccompanied children. They could tell us they will replace the family reunion elements of Dublin III by prioritising negotiation with the EU and with key member states so that there is an agreement that allows individuals who have claimed asylum to be reunited with their family members. The Government could commit to allowing children to join extended family members in the UK who have the legal right to be here because they are in a process or they already have status.

We hope that the Government and their Back Benchers will recognise the rightness of this cause and the moral justification for it. We hope that they understand that the people of the United Kingdom will want them to do this. We hope they will also join us in paying tribute to the many community organisations, volunteers, councillors and individuals who have shown our national values, and demonstrate them daily, by protecting, and offering to protect, still more vulnerable people. We hope the Government will acknowledge that and accept our amendment.

Finally, I come to the issue of parliamentary scrutiny. An extraordinary turn of affairs has occurred between versions 1 and 2 of this Bill: the Government have totally removed the process of parliamentary scrutiny over the negotiations for the future relationship with the EU. Our new clause 1 therefore seeks to restore this scrutiny. Do we want to leave the European Union just for the Government to be able to ride roughshod over the views of the democratically elected Members of this House of Commons, on our side and on the other? Do our constituents really want us to have less say, not more, over the relationship with our nearest neighbours? Did the people we represent really go to the polls on a dark, cold, rainy and windy day in December to elect us, on this side of the House and on that, so that we can simply agree to hand over power to the Executive on this, the single most important issue of our times? Is this really what “Get Brexit done” means?

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Throughout the proceedings yesterday the Labour Back Benches were empty. For half the time there was only one Member there—Labour’s only surviving Eurosceptic—but for most of the time there was nobody there at all and we ended up finishing early, such was Labour’s determination to provide scrutiny.

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The right hon. Gentleman is well aware that the Labour party had leadership hustings last night and that the Front-Bench team were here and fully engaged. I am talking now about the future relationship. Labour Members know, reluctantly or not—for many of us, this will be a sad moment—that on 31 January we will leave the EU. We accept that, but I am now talking about scrutiny of the future relationship. The shamefully misleading impression given by the Government that electing them in December would mean that Brexit would be “done” by the end of January and that we could move on to other matters is a terrible way to treat the people of the United Kingdom, whoever they voted for.

I am sure the Prime Minister and his entire Front-Bench team are fully aware that Brexit does not just get “done” when we leave, as we are going to and as the Opposition have acknowledged, on 31 January. I am certain that newly elected, as well as returning, Conservative Members know perfectly well that all that will happen on 31 January is that we will leave the European Union. They know that none of the agreement on the future relationship, or of the arrangements for sharing information about criminals or trading, or for co-operating on research or on moving life-saving medicines between the UK and the rest of the EU, will be “done”. That will all be still to do. The Government have set a wildly unrealistic expectation, not only that Brexit will just get “done”, but that the many aspects of the future relationship will be “done” by the end of June this year, for the transition to be over by the end of December. In doing that, the Government treat the economy, jobs, lives and welfare of the people of the UK recklessly.

Clause 33 means that the implementation period comes to an end on 31 December, in all circumstances, as Ministers said yesterday. Even if we have not worked out how people who currently work across borders in the EU can continue to do so, Ministers are prohibited by law—they will be by the end of tomorrow—from asking for an extension period. If the agreements on how we share information about terrorists and criminals, or on other important aspects of data sharing, are only days away, we will still not be allowed to ask for an extension, even one that is just for days. Even if the arrangements for the movement of medicines are not complete, there will be no extension. [Interruption.] This is related to this amendment, because we are asking for scrutiny of the process. If the Government are going to insist on this transition period coming to an end no matter what, surely we should have a right to scrutinise the process.

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The hon. Lady is making a powerful speech. She should ignore the jeers and concentrate on the forcefulness of the points she is making. Does she agree that the situation she has just described, whereby favourable agreements just a few days away from being negotiated would be given up in favour of this shibboleth of a certain date, is the classic definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face?

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I do agree with the hon. and learned Lady on that. I say again that that shows why we need this amendment, because it is about the scrutiny of the process. If we are to accept this ridiculous idea that there must be no extension to the transition period, even if it is for just days, at least we should have the right to scrutinise that process, on behalf of the people we were sent here to represent. This is not about whether there is good or bad faith on the part of the EU member states. I am sure that they will, as we all hope, negotiate in good faith, but there are practical implications here about the sheer volume of work to be done to reach agreements on all these vital aspects of our future relationship and secure the parliamentary approval of 27 other countries by the end of this year.

I am saddened, but no longer shocked, that the Government rejected our sensible proposal yesterday, but I hope that today they will consider our sensible proposal on scrutiny. It is not too much to ask that we, the elected representatives of the United Kingdom—of all parties, including the Government party—have the right to hear from our Ministers on the aims and objectives of the negotiations, the progress made and the outcome. It is not too much to ask that we be guaranteed that right, with the opportunity to debate and discuss, rather than having to wait for possible a ministerial statement or being forced to beg for information via an urgent question.

Surely, Government Members can see the wisdom in our proposal. They, too, were elected to represent their constituents, not just to be lobby fodder for their Prime Minister. If they have a business in their constituency on which jobs depend, and the ability to trade relies on the continuation of an agreement between the UK and the EU, do they not want to be able to ask their Government about whether that is included in the negotiating objectives and to be able to find out how that is going? If they have a constituent whose life depends on the movement of a medical device from one EU country to the UK, do they not want to be able to find out whether that is part of the negotiations and how that is going? Surely, they will want to be able to represent their constituents.

Members may not realise that the Law Society has recommended reinstating the scrutiny role. They may have forgotten that the Supreme Court judgment in the 2017 Gina Miller case made it clear that the Government cannot make or withdraw from a treaty that amounts to a major change to UK constitutional arrangements without parliamentary oversight. Or maybe this does not count. I ask all Government Members to consider pushing their Government, and I ask the Minister—I say again that I know him to be an honourable man—to consider restoring the full process of parliamentary scrutiny. I ask them to commit today to doing that. They could choose to adopt the Opposition amendment, or they could achieve it in some other way. I do not mind; I just believe that, as elected representatives, we should be able to represent the people who sent us here on the most important change to our way of life, our jobs, our businesses and our security in our lifetimes.

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Before I address the provisions we are debating, I wish to acknowledge the enormous hard work and professionalism of officials in the Department for Exiting the European Union, in which I had the privilege to serve for more than two years, and in the territorial offices in which I have served since, in bringing this Bill and the withdrawal agreement to the position they are in today. I pay tribute to all those in the devolved Administrations and the Northern Ireland civil service who have contributed to our work on EU exit and to ensuring that the whole UK is able to leave the European Union in an orderly way. The Bill may have been a long time in coming, but it is delivering on a mandate for the whole United Kingdom. It has been a privilege to work with colleagues from every part of the United Kingdom in preparing and delivering it.

I agree with the hon. Member for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire) about the importance of the Good Friday Belfast agreement. It is absolutely right that it has been a central focus of the exit process from the start. We do not need amendment 1 to state our firm commitment to both the Good Friday agreement and the principle of consent, or, indeed, my party’s absolute commitment to the United Kingdom.

I shall talk briefly to the purpose of clauses 18 to 37 and schedules 3 and 5 before I go into the detail of the amendments. As a Northern Ireland Minister, I make no excuses if most of my focus in respect of the amendments is on Northern Ireland. I am sorry not to have heard from more Northern Ireland colleagues so far; I shall try to make time to ensure that I can.

First, the clauses set out how EU law will be wound down at the end of the implementation period. Secondly, they enable the UK to fulfil its international obligations under the financial settlement. Thirdly, and crucially, they implement the regulatory, customs and other arrangements contained in the Northern Ireland protocol; protect rights and arrangements contained in the Belfast Good Friday agreement; and avoid a hard border. Fourthly, they update the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 so that it operates as intended in the light of the withdrawal agreement. Fifthly, they allow UK courts to interpret UK laws and not to be inadvertently bound by historic European court cases. Sixthly, they provide a mechanism for Parliament to consider EU legislation that raises a matter of vital national interests, thereby increasing parliamentary scrutiny. Seventhly, they ensure that the Government are properly accountable for their work in the withdrawal agreement Joint Committee, and that Parliament should be informed on formal dispute proceedings that arise from the withdrawal agreement. Eighthly, they guarantee that we can ratify the withdrawal agreement on 31 January by ensuring that once the Bill receives Royal Assent there are no further parliamentary hurdles to ratification. Ninthly, they repeal unnecessary or spent enactments relating to EU exit.

I shall now address the amendments—

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rose

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I am happy to take interventions as I address the amendments; perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will let me move on to that first.

I agree with what the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson) said in an intervention about the importance of every part of the UK being heard. I recognise that many of the amendments are focused on securing Northern Ireland’s interests in the next phase of the Brexit process, and we absolutely recognise the support they have received from across the Northern Ireland business and political community. If and when the Executive is restored, the UK Government will be ready to consider commitments concerning the Executive’s role in future discussions with the European Union and to engage with them as we safeguard Northern Ireland’s integral place in the UK. The Government cannot accept any of the amendments to the clauses that implement the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, for a number of reasons.

First, let me address new clauses 14, 15, 39 and 40, all tabled by the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley, as well as new clauses 63 and 13. At the outset, I should confirm that the protocol does not affect the constitutional status of Northern Ireland, which remains part of our political and economic union.

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The Government’s impact assessment for the Bill states:

“Goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be required to complete both import declarations and Entry Summary (ENS) Declarations”.

Is that statement correct?

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It is clear that there are reporting requirements in the functioning of the protocol, but, as is clearly set out in article 6 of the protocol, we want to ensure that we use the Joint Committee to reduce them and make sure that we have the absolute minimum burden. The protocol itself clearly gives the Government the ability to provide unfettered access. I shall address that in more detail as I go on.

Northern Ireland remains in the UK customs territory and can benefit from future trade deals that we strike with the rest of the world. The Prime Minister has repeatedly made it clear that the deal is good for businesses and individuals in Northern Ireland.

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Does the Minister agree that it would be enormously helpful if the Government’s stance ensured that whatever regulatory regime is required, it is not only of the lightest touch but is as cost-neutral as possible? Therefore, there needs to be detailed discussion with Treasury colleagues to see what mechanisms may exist for reclaiming, either through the VAT process or offsetting against personal or corporation tax, in order to make it cost-neutral, with the understanding that we need to be able to do something.

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My hon. Friend raises an interesting and important point. As he will appreciate, I cannot necessarily make commitments on behalf of Treasury colleagues at this stage, but I have no doubt that he will assiduously press for Northern Ireland’s interests with the Treasury.

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rose

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I will give way to the hon. Gentleman, but I will need to make some progress so that he and his colleagues can speak.

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The Minister is humble enough to recognise that he cannot make commitments on behalf of the Treasury, but he should go a step further and say that he cannot make commitments on behalf of the European Union, either. That is our fundamental problem with the withdrawal agreement and its implications for Northern Ireland. There is no point asserting sovereignty and indicating that Northern Ireland is fully in compliance with the customs territory of United Kingdom, only to hand that power to a Joint Committee with the European Union.

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As he always does, the hon. Gentleman makes his point powerfully. It is clear from the protocol that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom customs territory, and that we want to make sure that we maintain unfettered access between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. There are powers in the protocol for the Government to do that.

Let me make a little progress. The Government are committed to ensuring that the Belfast Good Friday agreement is upheld throughout our departure from the European Union. The protocol is clear that it protects rights contained in that agreement, and the Bill gives effect to the UK’s commitments in that regard. We are confident that the new functions conferred on the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland are sufficient for them to carry out their roles in the dedicated mechanism. It will be of particular interest to some Opposition Front Benchers who have raised concerns with us that the Bill confirms the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s “own motion” standing under the Human Rights Act 1998, as well as providing for such standing under the protocol. I direct Members’ attention to paragraph 5 of schedule 3. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland will form the bedrock of the dedicated mechanism established under article 2(1) of the protocol. All the powers necessary for these bodies to perform their necessary functions are provided in schedule 3. I therefore urge the hon. Member for North Down (Stephen Farry) to withdraw amendments 32 and 34, which are unnecessary, so that we can allow for the dedicated mechanism.

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I am happy to withdraw my amendments in the light of the Minister’s comments, but I ask him to respond further on the need for both the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission to receive the same notification as the Attorney General on human rights or equality issues that come before the courts or tribunals?

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I hear the hon. Gentleman’s point, which I am happy to look into, but my understanding is that under the Bill those bodies have the powers they need to acquire the necessary information. I am grateful to him for his gracious withdrawal.

New clauses 11 and 12 were tabled by the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson). I want to make it clear from the outset that the Government’s commitment to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Belfast agreement, which it implements, is unfaltering. The consent mechanism contained in the protocol, for which the Government will legislate before the first vote is required in 2024, operates on the basis of a majority of democratically elected representatives in Northern Ireland being able to continue or end alignment with EU law. I am certain that this is the right mechanism. The right position in principle is not to hand a veto to any one party—not to Brussels, not to Dublin and not to any one party or community in Northern Ireland. That is what our consent mechanism does. I therefore urge the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw his amendments and back this arrangement.

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Does the Minister not recognise the incompatibility of the two statements he has made? He wants to adhere to the letter and the spirit of the Belfast agreement, yet he is prepared to set aside one of its most fundamental parts—that, on controversial issues and issues that one community feels threatens its identity and the things it values, there should be a mechanism whereby there is a difference in the majority vote. He seems not to understand that the protocol and the terms of this Bill set that very vital safeguard aside.

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Order. Before we proceed, let me provide this clarification. The Minister referred to withdrawing an amendment, as did the hon. Member for North Down (Stephen Farry). At this stage, there is no need to withdraw amendments, because none of them has been moved. It is only the lead amendment that has been moved.

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I apologise, Sir Roger. I stand corrected.

I absolutely recognise the principle in the agreement on contentious domestic matters in Northern Ireland. We are talking about a consent mechanism that is being given to the Assembly uniquely in the case of an international agreement, because we recognise the importance of the issue. We also recognise the benefits of cross-community consent, which is why our approach would mean that a vote recurs more often if a decision is taken without that cross-community consent.

It is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government to develop consultation, co-operation and action within the island of Ireland—including through implementation on an all-island and cross-border basis—on matters of mutual interest within the competence of the Administrations north and south and not the responsibility of the UK Government. That is why clause 24 ensures that the UK cannot agree to the making of a recommendation by the Joint Committee, which would alter the arrangements for north-south co-operation. As the protocol ensures these aims and the Bill give effect to those commitments, I urge the hon. Members for Belfast South (Claire Hanna), for Foyle (Colum Eastwood) and for North Down to withdraw amendment 36 as it is not necessary to achieve the aims that it seeks.

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rose

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I will take the hon. Lady’s intervention, and then I will have to limit interventions.

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I am grateful for the Minister’s comments on clause 24. I am a favoured, seasoned bureaucrat, and I do like a bit of transparency around governance and process. I am struggling to understand how the relationship works between the proposals from the Good Friday Belfast agreement bodies, particularly the North South Ministerial Council, to this specialised committee, which has no enforcement power but has an ability to recommend to the Joint Committee, which apparently has a supervisory power. We are not sure whether that body can then take action, or whether it just makes recommendations back to the North South Ministerial Council. We are in an ever-moving circle of recommendations, but with no action. The real concern with clause 24 is that it is in aspic in 2020. The ability to move on relationships seems to be lost, and the ability to do that with democratic accountability back to the people across Ireland and the United Kingdom is lost, and that is a serious governance point that the Government need to address.

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I hear the hon. Lady’s point and I have great respect for the work she does in this space, but I think she misunderstands. Clause 24 simply means that, as a result of the protocol and the UK Government’s role in the Joint Committee, there will not be decisions taken to change north-south co-operation. It does not prohibit or restrict in any way a restored Executive from taking decisions on that within the confines of the North South Ministerial Council. I have to move on now, but, in fairness, I think that that addresses the point.

The Government urge the hon. Member for North Down and the hon. Member for Foyle to withdraw amendment 33 and new clause 61 as they risk creating legal uncertainty for businesses and individuals in Northern Ireland, which is unacceptable to the Government. Our departure from the EU requires the Government to ensure that the statute book is able to function post exit, and these amendments put that at risk.

I wish now to turn to the important amendments 12, 19, 50 and 51 and new clauses 44, 52, 55 and 60. As Members can see from article 6 of the protocol, nothing in the withdrawal agreement prevents the Government from ensuring access for Northern Ireland goods to the market in Great Britain. The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that, beyond our obligations under international law, there will be no new checks and processes on the movement of such goods. Our manifesto commitment is absolutely clear: the Bill gives us the power to deliver this. We recognise the strong voice with which Northern Ireland’s businesses have been speaking on the importance of unfettered access and of protecting Northern Ireland’s position within the internal market as a whole and the cross-party, cross-community support for this to be delivered. It can be delivered through clause 21 and through the opportunity to follow up through the Joint Committee, as we discussed earlier. We will, of course, continue to engage with businesses and stakeholders, but I none the less urge the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley and the hon. Member for Foyle to withdraw these amendments.

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rose

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I will take an intervention from the hon. Lady on one of her own amendments.

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I am listening very carefully to my hon. Friend’s comments. Does he agree that, as expressed in the DUP’s amendments, there is very widespread concern across Northern Ireland and among business groups about the proposal of the protocol? He is trying to explain the details, but it is still going to be complex and it is still going to cause unhappiness and concern. Does he agree that it would be best if, in the course of this year, the Government committed to a comprehensive free trade agreement in which Northern Ireland comes out absolutely on a level pegging status on every issue with the rest of the United Kingdom? All the problems with the detail of the protocol would disappear, because Northern Ireland would be on a level pegging with the rest of the UK as part of a free trade agreement.

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My right hon. Friend speaks with considerable experience and passion on these issues. Of course I agree with him, but what we want is a free trade agreement for the whole of the UK that addresses these issues and allows us the most frictionless access to our neighbours and good trade for all of us. For Northern Ireland, that would be an excellent result. We have to focus on the fact that this Bill is about the withdrawal agreement, and that includes the protocol. We need to take through the protocol to ratify the withdrawal agreement and move forward into that negotiation.

The Government are committed to maintaining the highest levels of transparency and scrutiny in relation to this Bill and to the implementation of the withdrawal agreement. We have been clear on that, but the exact form of accountability needs to be appropriately framed, so the Government cannot accept new clauses 53, 54 or 65, which would place an undue burden on the Government but not provide the transparency and scrutiny that they purport to achieve. It is no surprise that the Opposition, through amendment 1, seek to place hurdles in the way of our exit, but the result of the general election across the United Kingdom shows that they lack the mandate to do so and that we have a clear mandate to proceed. We should do so without the hurdles that the previous Parliament consistently threw in the way of progress.

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I wish to ask my hon. Friend to reflect on one point. Under this Bill, the European Scrutiny Committee, both in the Commons and the Lords, will have the power to examine certain matters. I know that he knows about that, but there is also the question of interpretation, which comes up in this set of proposals. I wish to reinforce the exchange that I had with my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill), which is that clause 5 has not been addressed, and that reaffirms the supremacy of EU law before exit day. We need to keep an eye on the question of the quashing and disapplication of Acts of Parliament as we proceed.

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I absolutely take on board my hon. Friend’s comments. As we are discussing parliamentary scrutiny, I am sure that he will welcome the clauses that set out a role for the European Scrutiny Committee.

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Will the Minister give way?

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I will come to the hon. Lady’s new clause shortly, so perhaps I can give way to her then.

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Will the Minister give way?

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I will also come back to the issue raised by my hon. Friend.

As is standard in international agreements, the withdrawal agreement sets out procedures for dealing with disputes concerning compliance with the agreement. Amendment 24 would require parliamentary approval for the payment of any fines or penalties under the withdrawal agreement. The withdrawal agreement is a binding agreement that will place the UK under a legal obligation to make those payments. We have to be clear that we will honour our international legal obligations, and we therefore cannot accept any conditionality on payments.

I turn to amendments 38 and 46 in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry). It is essential that the powers in clauses 18 to 22 can be used to enable all appropriate measures required by the withdrawal agreement to be implemented by the end of 2020. Restricting the power in the manner proposed would limit the Government’s ability to implement the withdrawal agreement in the most sensible way. I remind the hon. and learned Lady that the use of “appropriate” in statute is not at all new. There are myriad examples elsewhere on the statute book of powers that use the term “appropriate” to describe the discretion available to Ministers when legislating. I remember well that we discussed the question of “appropriate” versus “necessary” many times during the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and Parliament accepted the use of the word “appropriate”. There is no persuasive reason why we should depart from that approach here.

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In the Scottish Parliament’s legal continuity Bill—which of course was struck down by the Supreme Court after the Conservative party retrospectively changed the law in the House of Lords—the power that Scottish Ministers afforded themselves for making delegated legislation used the word “necessary” rather than “appropriate”, so it is not the case that all Governments in these islands afford to themselves the sort of sweeping powers that the Minister is planning on affording himself. There are very legitimate concerns about this issue that are shared not just by politicians but by members of the judiciary. What does he have to say in response to the points raised not just by me, but by the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill), who was the Chair of the Select Committee on Justice in the previous Parliament?

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I obviously pay heed to those points when they are raised, but I am told that the term “appropriate” actually better allows us to take better steps to ensure that multiple options can be explored when the legal changes are complex and interact with numerous pieces of existing legislation; so there are other elements to take into account.

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I have three points to make. First, perhaps the Minister could set out what those “better steps” are. Secondly, will he address the issue of consideration under the affirmative resolution procedure as opposed to the negative resolution procedure, which might put some of my concerns to rest? Thirdly, before he finishes, will he tell us why we moved from the formulation of the Supreme Court in clause 26 to the lower courts?

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I will absolutely come back to my hon. Friend on the latter point. There are a number of places in the Bill where it is very clear that there will be active consideration by the Commons of the secondary legislation. That is an important part of the parliamentary scrutiny process.

I turn to amendment 10 in the name of the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford). It would inhibit our ability to implement part 3 of the withdrawal agreement and the protocol, particularly with regard to the ability to legislate for the consent mechanism and the provision of unfettered access. However, I reassure the Committee—this picks up from the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill)—that any amendment to primary legislation through clauses 18 to 21 would have to be actively approved by votes of Parliament.

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But this changes clause 8 in the original European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which included limitations meaning that these sweeping powers without a sunset clause could not be used in relation to the Human Rights Act, the Government of Wales Act, the Scotland Act or the Northern Ireland Act. What changes exactly does the Minister feel he would need to make to the Scotland Act to meet the relevant aspects of the Northern Ireland protocol? Why is the legislation being changed? The Minister should justify why those protections and limitations existed in the original Act but he now feels bound to take them out. What is he planning to change in the other devolved settlements, for Scotland and Wales?

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The hon. Lady is making a comparison between two separate pieces of legislation. We have no dastardly plans to change the devolution settlement. However, we want to ensure that we are able to take the necessary steps to implement the protocol, including providing unfettered access across all parts of the UK, in the limited period available. We will want to engage with the devolved Administrations and legislatures about the most effective way of achieving that.

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Will the Minister give way?

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I will not, I am afraid.

The Government cannot accept amendment 49, as it would mean that we could be inadvertently bound by European Union rulings for many years. Instead, clause 26 ensures that we and our courts will be able to determine the extent to which courts are bound by historic Court of Justice of the European Union decisions after the implementation period. This will be done sensibly, so I can provide some reassurance to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst. The Bill commits us to consult the senior judiciary across the UK before making regulations, and we do not intend this in any way to upset long-standing constitutional principles such as the structure and hierarchy of the court system. This clause simply enables us to take back control of our laws and disentangle ourselves from the EU’s legal order, but in a way that will be consulted on carefully with the judiciary, recognising the structures and hierarchies that exist there.

New clauses 1, 6 and 17 and amendment (a) to new clause 6 all seek to introduce various statutory roles for Parliament, and for the devolved Administrations and legislatures, in the future relationship negotiations. These are unnecessary requirements that risk impeding and delaying negotiations. New clause 6 in particular imposes onerous requirements for consultation and impact assessments, but would make it very challenging indeed to conclude negotiations by the end of 2020.

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Does the Minister recognise that what he refers to as “onerous requirements” are precisely what our colleagues in the European Parliament enjoy right now? Does he not find that there is a rather ironic point here, which is that we are supposed to be taking back control—although we assumed that meant to elected representatives, not just to No. 10—but we actually have less control than the colleagues we have left behind in Brussels?

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I fundamentally disagree. The purpose of the Bill is to deliver on the withdrawal agreement and take that forward. It is not to set out the future of negotiations. This legislation is focused on allowing us to move forward into those negotiations. It would be a profound mistake to tie the hands of the Government in achieving the best result for the whole United Kingdom.

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Given that we have flatlining life expectancy and an increasing infant and child mortality rate—the worst in western Europe, which is quite staggering—will the Minister explain why he is not prepared to introduce an assessment of the impact on health of the trade deal, because there will be a significant impact? I really would like an adequate response.

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The hon. Lady talks about assessments of future deals. The place in which to do that is not legislation that is focused on implementing the withdrawal agreement. I am afraid that it is simply not the case, as it was in the last Parliament, that the political arithmetic means that the Opposition can tie the Government up with all sorts of commitments and assessments. We need to ensure that we get the best deal for our economy, our health and our country, and it is right that we move forward by accepting the withdrawal agreement, legislating through the Bill and focusing on the next stage.

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As the Minister will be well aware, new clause 1 bears a marked resemblance to clause 31 in the previous version of the Bill. The Prime Minister said to the House on 22 October, talking about the now disappeared clause 31, that

“the intention is to allow the House to participate actively and fully in the building of the future partnership”—[Official Report, 22 October 2019; Vol. 666, c. 840.]

and the clause set out a whole process for doing that, so why was it a good idea to have that in the version of the Bill produced in October, but now it has apparently become completely unnecessary and terribly onerous for the Government?

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The answer to the right hon. Gentleman’s question is perhaps in some of the exchanges we had during that debate, when I was reaching out to him to suggest that he ought to support our orderly withdrawal from the European Union so that we could get on to the next phase of negotiations. Since then, we have had a general election that provides a clear mandate for this Government to take us forward, to deliver the withdrawal agreement, and to get into that next phase of negotiations. I think we need to focus on that.

We have are already engaged extensively with the devolved Administrations in our preparations for the negotiations, and we will of course continue to involve all parties, including those in Northern Ireland, as we begin those negotiations. Indeed, this speaks to the absolute necessity and the vital urgency of restoring a functioning Executive in Northern Ireland as soon as possible. The Government will support Parliament in scrutinising the negotiations. We have made a clear commitment in this Bill to Parliament’s scrutiny of the withdrawal agreement Joint Committee. To that end, clause 30 provides that when disputes arise, they must be reported to Parliament. Further, clause 34 states that only a Minister will be able to act as the UK’s co-chair of the withdrawal agreement Joint Committee, and clause 35 ensures that all decisions must be made by a Minister in person. That Minister will be accountable to Parliament. We therefore believe that new clause 47 should not be pressed.

The Government fully recognise the important role that devolved Administrations will play in ensuring that our independent trade policy delivers for the whole of the UK. It is the responsibility of the UK Government to negotiate on behalf of the United Kingdom, and it is vital that we retain appropriate flexibility to proceed with negotiations at pace. However, we have been clear that the devolved Administrations will remain closely involved. Therefore, there is no need to make provisions in statute when the Government are already working tirelessly to ensure that the views and perspectives of devolved Administrations are given full consideration in the United Kingdom’s trade policy. As such, I would urge hon. Members not to press new clause 64.

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There is something deeply ironic about the fact that if we were to remain in the European Union, trade negotiation objectives would have to be agreed with individual nation states. Indeed, in Belgium, the devolved legislatures for Wallonia, Flanders and the Brussels region would have an individual say. Does the Minister not agree, therefore, that in this situation, given the different nature of the economy of Wales, with its manufacturing, farming and services to people, Wales’s devolved legislature, alongside the devolved legislatures of Scotland and Northern Ireland, should have a say in the objectives of the trade agreement negotiations as a very minimum?

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We have always taken the interests of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland very seriously in this process. We have always engaged. I have personally been to the Welsh Assembly on a number of occasions to give evidence.

The conduct of international relations is reserved to the UK Government, so representation at the Joint Committee, the specialised committees and the joint consultative working group is a matter for UK Ministers. However, I recognise the particular interests of the Northern Ireland parties given the role of these committees in the protocol, and this is a matter we would like to discuss further with the parties in a restored Executive. However, it would be wrong to pre-empt such discussions in this legislation. As such, I would urge hon. Members not to press new clauses 22, 26 and 42.

New clause 66 would require the Government to report to the devolved Administrations—

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Will the Minister give way?

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I am afraid I will not at the moment, but I will come back the hon. Gentleman if I can.

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On this point?

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No.

New clause 66 would require the Government to report to the devolved Administrations on maintaining alignment with EU law, but devolution settlements already lay out the terms under which devolved Administrations can make law, while the common frameworks provide a forum for intergovernmental deliberation on the use of these powers. This new clause is therefore unnecessary.

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Will the Minister make sure, in the discussions with the devolved Governments, that the interests of England are also central to his considerations? We do not have a devolved Administration, but we have a very strong wish to see Brexit through, because we think there are a lot of gains from Brexit.

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My right hon. Friend is of course right that people across the whole of the United Kingdom, including in England, voted for Brexit, but we should not forget the large numbers of people in Scotland, the almost 1 million people in Northern Ireland and those in Wales who also voted for Brexit.

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rose

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I will give way to the hon. Gentleman and that is last intervention I can take, I am afraid.

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I am most grateful. Earlier, the Minister talked about respecting the devolved Administrations and listening to what they were saying, so can he tell me what the Government have actually done with regard to the words in the 2016 document, “Scotland’s Place in Europe”?

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I have answered that question many times. I am very happy to talk about many of the aspects of the political declaration that reflect some of the concerns raised in “Scotland’s Place in Europe”, but that is not a matter for this debate.

On the important question of child refugees, which the hon. Member for Bristol West spoke about at length and with commendable passion, this Government are fully committed both to the principle of family reunion and to supporting the most vulnerable children. Our policy has not changed. Although she said that she had heard no whisper of negotiations, I can confirm that the Home Secretary wrote to the Commission on 22 October to start negotiations with the European Union on future arrangements. We will also continue to reunite children with their families under the Dublin regulation during the implementation period. As my hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) made clear, there is very strong support on the Government Benches for the principle of family reunion.

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Perhaps I can help the Minister out. Is he aware that in 2017 the UK signed up to the Council of Europe’s action plan on protecting refugees and migrant children, which, among other things, enhances the integration of children into host societies, and that that commitment remains, regardless of what happens to these amendments?

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My hon. Friend makes a very important point. Of course we have to take action on this across a number of areas, but the right place to do that is not in this legislation. We do not need further reporting requirements such as would be required by amendment 4, unilateral measures such as those set out in amendment 26, or legally binding negotiating objectives.

In new clause 21, my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis) shows his admirable ambition for the UK’s independent trade policy enabled by leaving the European Union. We absolutely share those ambitions. I can assure my right hon. Friend, who was a privilege to work with, that the Government will be working in the national interest to kickstart the UK’s international trade policy in both bilateral and multilateral fora. I know that he has discussed this with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. However, he will know, perhaps better than almost anyone else in this Chamber, how important it is that the Government do not have their hands tied in negotiation, so I would ask him not to press his amendment.

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I thank my hon. Friend for that undertaking, but will he give me one other undertaking, which is that the United Kingdom will take its place in the World Trade Organisation immediately we leave the European Union, which will be, after all, on 1 February?

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I hesitate to give that from the Dispatch Box because I am not a Trade Minister, but I am pretty sure that if my right hon. Friend asked a Trade Minister that question, the answer he would get is yes.

The Government have been given a mandate following the UK general election to get Brexit done. That is what this Bill aims to achieve. The withdrawal agreement and the protocol deliver a good deal for the United Kingdom and leave the door open to improving their operation in the Joint Committee to minimise disruption to businesses and individuals right across the United Kingdom, including in Northern Ireland. I urge hon. and right hon. Members to withdraw their amendments and progress this Bill so that we can get on with delivering on our commitments to the whole country. This will kick-start a bright new future for the people of all four nations of the United Kingdom.

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It is a great pity that the time is restricted in this debate because there are so many amendments and so many people want to take part in it.

The amendments that we have tabled are designed to be positive—to ensure that the promises that the Government have made are honoured, as is the manifesto commitment that they have made in relation to Northern Ireland, which states:

“Guaranteeing the full economic benefits of Brexit: Northern Ireland will enjoy the full economic benefits of Brexit including new free trade agreements with the rest of the world. We will ensure that Northern Ireland’s businesses and producers enjoy unfettered access to the rest of the UK and that in the implementation of our Brexit deal, we maintain and strengthen the integrity and smooth operation of our internal market.”

All our amendments are intended to ensure that that promise is delivered on. I am sure the Minister will understand, given the experience of the withdrawal agreement, that we wish to see some of these things secured within the Bill rather than in the promises that are made here.

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A lot of the DUP’s amendments are about trying to secure the future of access to UK markets for Northern Ireland farmers. That is massively important to farmers in Cumbria as well, vice versa across the Irish sea. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government have today announced at the Oxford farming conference that they are refusing to delay the phase-out of the basic payment scheme, which makes up 85% of the income of English livestock farmers, and that their doing so would massively undermine Britain’s farming economy and our ability to provide food security and protect our historic landscape?

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All these kinds of things ensure that people want to see these issues nailed down in the Bill, rather than hear the promises that are made.

Our amendments fall into three categories. I want to deal mostly with the first group, on unfettered access to the UK market. The second group aim to ensure proper representation for Northern Ireland on the Joint Committee and specialised committees, which will be very powerful and will be able to make decisions that have a dramatic impact on Northern Ireland. The third group aim to ensure that the Northern Ireland Assembly is consulted in accordance with the Belfast agreement.

The Minister has argued that the Bill guarantees unfettered access to the UK market—the protocol does not stop it, and the Bill facilitates it—and yet, when one reads clause 21, it is quite clear that none of these issues has been hammered down. Ministers “may” make regulations to facilitate access to the GB market. If disagreements arise in the Joint Committee or if the terms of the protocol require there to be checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, Ministers may well compromise and decide, “We’re not going to make regulations. We have to balance the arguments up. We may make regulations, but according to the Bill, it is not necessary for us to do so.”

The Bill simply refers to regulations

“facilitating the access to the market”.

That access to the market may require businesses in Northern Ireland to undertake a huge number of checks, with costly administration. The term “unfettered access” is not in the Bill, and despite the promises that the Minister has made, no one yet knows what unfettered access means. Our amendments are designed to ensure, first, that the Bill states that Ministers must bring forward regulations; secondly, that those regulations must ensure unfettered access to the GB market, which is the biggest market for the Northern Ireland economy; and thirdly, that that unfettered access is defined in the Bill.

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My right hon. Friend is making a powerful point about unfettered access to Great Britain for Northern Ireland, but of course a marketplace is somewhere where we buy and sell, and while he is considering west to east transit, east to west—Great Britain to Northern Ireland—will be a much greater concern, because that is where the EU will have the greatest interest.

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That is why there must be guarantees on the face of the Bill that Ministers will ensure that regulations are designed in a way that does not stop trade, whether from east to west or west to east. The Bill singularly fails to do that at the moment, and our amendments are designed to ensure that it happens, for not only manufacturing but fishing.

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The Democratic Unionist party has tabled new clause 39 in relation to fishing. If one of my boats leaves Portavogie, goes out and catches a fish in the Irish sea and comes back into Portavogie, it owes tariffs, with administrative and bureaucratic costs. But if it goes and lands its catch in Scotland or England, it does not have to pay any charges whatsoever. The Government promised a golden dawn for the fishing sector when we left the EU. Quite clearly, boats in Northern Ireland—boats from Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel—will not get that advantage. Is it not time that the Government considered the future of the fishing sector in particular and ensured that it has the golden dawn that the rest of the United Kingdom seems to have?

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My hon. Friend illustrates once again the potential unforeseen consequences.

Our amendments have the support of all the political parties in Northern Ireland, such is the degree of concern about the impact on the Northern Ireland economy. We could support Labour’s amendment 1, but it does not go as far as we would like. We already know from the Government’s own assessment that there will be impacts on the Northern Ireland economy, and while amendment 1 asks for a picture at a particular time, new clause 55 asks for a moving picture over a period of time, with independent assessments on a year-to-year basis of the impact of the Northern Ireland protocol on the Northern Ireland economy. That is as important as the assessment proposed in amendment 1.

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I thank the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. I regret that in the two hours allocated to speak about the Northern Ireland protocol, he is the only representative of Northern Ireland who will be allowed to speak on the substantive amendments we have tabled on north-south co-operation, the environmental impact and democratic oversight. That will contribute to the very real feeling that Brexit, and this form of Brexit, is being forced on Northern Ireland, which has never given its consent.

People will appreciate that the right hon. Gentleman and I come from very different perspectives, but all the Northern Irish parties and all the business community have worked together on our common interests, because they are so vital to protect businesses and consumers, who cannot absorb the costs of this Brexit. Does he agree that if the Government mean anything they say about protecting Northern Ireland and the assurances they have given on unfettered access and non-tariff barriers, they should at a minimum accept new clause 55?

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Yes. New clause 55 is very reasonable. It asks, first, for a 12-monthly assessment of the impact of the protocol on Northern Ireland; secondly, that if there is divergence in trade policy, the administrative costs of the impact should not be borne by the private sector in Northern Ireland; and thirdly, that it is done independently, to ensure that the true costs are not glossed over. It is a very reasonable new clause, adding to Labour’s amendment 1, and I hope that the Government will accept it. They want to give an assurance that they do not want there to be a detrimental impact on Northern Ireland. The only way we will know whether the terms of the protocol are having an impact on Northern Ireland is to make a regular assessment of the protocol, the regulations enforced as a result of it and the costs.

Our first set of amendments would require the Government to define unfettered access on the face of the Bill and would oblige Ministers and devolved Administrations to ensure that unfettered access. The second set is about representation on the Joint Committee. It will be a powerful Committee, and therefore it is important that there is Northern Ireland representation on it. The third set is on consultation with the Northern Ireland Assembly. I have already said to the Minister in an intervention—

Two hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings, the debate was interrupted (Programme Order, 20 December 2019).

The Chair put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83D), That the amendment be made.

Question negatived.

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

Clauses 18 to 20 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 21

Main power in connection with Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol

Amendment proposed: 10, page 25, line 27, at end insert—

“(8) But regulations under this section may not—

(a) impose or increase taxation or fees,

(b) make retrospective provision,

(c) create a relevant criminal offence,

(d) establish a public authority,

(e) amend, repeal or revoke the Human Rights Act 1998 or any subordinate legislation made under it, or

(f) amend or repeal the Scotland Act 1998, the Government of Wales Act 2006 or the Northern Ireland Act 1998.”— (Dr Whitford.)

This amendment would apply the usual restrictions on Ministers’ delegated power to make regulations under the Government’s proposed new section 8C of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Division 6

8 January 2020

The Committee divided:

Ayes: 262
Noes: 340

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

Clauses 21 to 23 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Clauses 24 to 36 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 37

Arrangements with EU about unaccompanied children seeking asylum

Amendment proposed: 4, page 37, line 3, leave out from “Europe)” to the end of the clause and insert “after subsection (3) insert—

‘(3A) If, three months after this Act comes into force, no agreement achieving the objective contained in subsection (1) has been concluded with the European Union, a Minister of the Crown must make a statement to the House of Commons setting out—

(a) the steps taken by Her Majesty’s government, and the progress made in negotiations with the European Union, for the purpose of achieving the objective in subsection (1); and

(b) whether in the Minister’s opinion an agreement with the European Union achieving the objective of subsection (1) is likely to be achieved by IP completion day and, if not, setting out the reasons for this.

(3B) Following the making of the first Statement referred to in subsection (2), and until such time as an agreement satisfying the objective contained in subsection (1) is reached with the European Union, the Minister shall, at least as frequently as every 28 days thereafter, make further statements in accordance with sections (3A)(a) and (b).” —(Thangam Debbonaire.)

This amendment would protect the right for unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their family after Brexit.

Division 7

8 January 2020

The Committee divided:

Ayes: 252
Noes: 348

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

Clause 37 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause 6

Parliamentary approval of the future relationship

‘(1) The Secretary of State may not engage in negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU until a Minister of the Crown has laid a draft negotiating mandate before each House of Parliament and—

(a) moved an amendable motion in the House of Commons containing the text of the draft negotiating mandate;

(b) the draft negotiating mandate (as amended) has been approved by a resolution of the House of Commons, and

(c) a motion for the House of Lords to take note of the draft negotiating mandate has been moved in that House by a Minister of the Crown.

(2) The draft negotiating mandate must set out in detail—

(a) the UK’s negotiation objectives,

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

(c) the principles to underpin the proposed negotiation,

(d) any limits on the proposed negotiations, and

(e) the desired outcomes from the proposed negotiations.

(3) Prior to laying the draft negotiating mandate, a Minister of the Crown must have consulted each devolved administration on the negotiating mandate.

(4) Prior to the House’s consideration of a motion under subsection (1)(b), a Minister of the Crown must lay before both Houses of Parliament a sustainability impact assessment conducted by a credible body independent of government following consultation with—

(a) each devolved administration,

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

(c) the public.

(5) The assessment shall include both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the potential impacts of the proposed trade agreement, including—

(a) social,

(b) economic,

(c) environmental,

(d) gender,

(e) equalities,

(f) climate change,

(g) human rights,

(h) labour,

(i) development, and

(j) regional

impacts.

(6) In conducting negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, a Minister of the Crown must seek to achieve the objectives set out in the negotiating mandate approved under subsection (1)(b).

(7) After the end of each reporting period, a Minister of the Crown must—

(a) lay before each House of Parliament a report on the progress made, by the end of the period, in negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, including—

(i) the Minister’s assessment of the extent to which the outcome of those negotiations is likely to reflect the negotiating mandate approved under subsection (1)(b), and

(ii) if the Minister’s assessment is that the future relationship with the EU is, in any respect, not likely to reflect that mandate, an explanation of why that is so, and

(b) lay before each House of Parliament the latest rounds of negotiating texts, by the end of each reporting period, and

(c) provide a copy of the report to the Presiding Officer of each of the devolved legislatures and to—

(i) the Scottish Ministers,

(ii) the Welsh Ministers, and

(iii) the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland or the Executive Office in Northern Ireland.

(8) Subsections (9) to (13) apply if, in the opinion of a Minister of the Crown, an agreement in principle has been reached with the EU on a treaty the principal purpose of which is to deal with all or part of the future relationship with the EU.

(9) A Minister of the Crown must lay before each House of Parliament—

(a) a statement that political agreement has been reached, and

(b) a copy of the negotiated future relationship treaty.

(10) Prior to the laying of the text of the proposed treaty, the Secretary of State must have consulted with each devolved administration on the text of the proposed agreement and taken their views into account, with special consideration given to matters relating to devolved competences.

(11) Prior to considering a motion approving the text of the negotiated future relationship treaty, the Government must lay before each House of Parliament a response to any report by a relevant Parliamentary committee (such as the Exiting the EU select committee) containing a recommendation in relation to the ratification of the agreement.

(12) A treaty in the same form, or to substantially the same effect, as the negotiated future relationship treaty may be ratified only if the negotiated future relationship treaty has been approved by a resolution of the House of Commons on an amendable motion moved by a Minister of the Crown and—

(a) the House of Lords has not resolved, within the period of 14 Lords sitting days beginning with the day on which the negotiated future relationship treaty is laid before that House, that any treaty resulting from it should not be ratified, or

(b) if the House of Lords has so resolved within that period, a Minister of the Crown has laid before each House of Parliament a statement indicating that the Minister is of the opinion that the treaty should nevertheless be ratified and explaining why.

(13) Section 20 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (treaties to be laid before Parliament before ratification) does not apply in relation to a treaty if subsection (11) applies in relation to the ratification of that treaty.’—(Caroline Lucas.)

This new clause ensures that MPs get a guaranteed vote with an amendable motion on the EU-UK Future Relationship and negotiating objectives, and sets out scrutiny of the negotiating mandate. It requires a sustainability impact assessment of the future relationship; the regular release of negotiation texts; and engagement with devolved administrations.

Brought up.

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

Division 8

8 January 2020

divided:

Ayes: 251
Noes: 347

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

New Clause 55

Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market

“(1) As part of its obligation under Article 6.2 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland to use its best endeavours to facilitate trade between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK, the UK Government must—

(a) publish an assessment at least every 12 months of any negative impacts on businesses and consumers arising from the Protocol on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and vice versa; and

(b) develop mitigations to safeguard the place of Northern Ireland businesses and consumers in the UK internal market.

(2) The assessment published under paragraph (1)(a) must include assessment of the impact of any actual or proposed regulatory or trade policy divergence on Northern Ireland’s place in the UK Internal Market.

(3) Any official or administrative costs arising from the duties under subsections (1) and (2) may not be recouped from the private sector.”—(Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson.)

Brought up.

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

Division 9

8 January 2020

divided:

Ayes: 262
Noes: 337

Question accordingly negatived.

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Clause 38

Parliamentary sovereignty

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I beg to move amendment 11, in clause 38, page 37, line 24, at end insert—

“and has been so during the period since the passage of the European Communities Act 1972.”

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 35, in clause 38, page 37, line 39, at end insert—

“insofar as future primary legislation may expressly repeal all or any provisions of this Act, but only to that extent.”

This amendment would ensure that existing and future primary legislation that impliedly repealed Section 7A, etc of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 would be invalid, despite the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty.

Clauses 38 to 40 stand part.

That schedule 4 be the Fourth schedule to the Bill.

Clause 41 stand part.

That schedule 5 be the Fifth schedule to the Bill.

Amendment 9, in clause 42, page 41, line 6, leave out from “force” to end of line 6 and insert—

“only when each House of Parliament has approved a motion tabled by a Minister of the Crown considering a ministerial economic impact assessment of the commencement of this Act.”

This amendment would require the House to endorse an economic impact assessment of measures this bill would implement.

Clause 42 stand part.

New clause 28—Conditional approval subject to a confirmation referendum

‘(1) The condition in this subsection is that a further referendum has been held on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union in which the electorate has been offered two options—

(a) the option for the UK to leave the European Union in accordance with the withdrawal agreement and a framework for the future relationship; and

(b) the option for the UK to remain in the European Union on existing membership terms

and that the Chief Returning Officer has certified that a majority of voters has supported the option for the UK to leave the European Union in accordance with the withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship.

(2) If the condition in subsection (1) has been fulfilled, then—

(a) the approval of the withdrawal agreement by the House of Commons required under section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 is deemed to have been given;

(b) the House of Lords is deemed to have debated the motion required under section 13(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018;

(c) the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2019 is, for the purposes of section 13(1)(d) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, an Act of Parliament which contains provision for the implementation of the withdrawal agreement;

(d) the Government must ratify the withdrawal agreement within the period of three days beginning on the day after certification by the Chief Returning Officer under subsection (1); and

(e) requirements in section 20 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (Treaties to be laid before Parliament before ratification) do not apply to the withdrawal agreement (but this does not affect whether that section applies to any modification of the withdrawal agreement).”

This new clause would require the Government to give the public the final say on Brexit through a people’s vote, with the choice between leaving under the terms of the withdrawal agreement and remaining in the EU.

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I rise to speak about parliamentary sovereignty. Clause 38 is a puzzle, and we have tabled our amendment 11 to tease out more of that puzzle, to try to work out what it is for and to expose some of what we on this side believe has been quite puzzling leadership on the part of those who have been peddling the idea that we are going to take back control of our laws, our money and our borders because they have somehow not been under our control for the last 40 years. I am going to stop using the phrase “take back control” in a moment, but I will first analyse it to make my point about our amendment.

We have been repeatedly told that the EU referendum was about taking back control and restoring parliamentary sovereignty. I am seeing nods from certain esteemed Government Members telling me that that is indeed what it was about. It was not about that, however. I find this most puzzling. Have we ever actually lost our parliamentary sovereignty? The answer is, of course, no. Saying that Brexit is about taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders is quite extraordinary. Let us start with laws. Have all the laws we have passed in the past 40 years been just a dream? Did we imagine all those laws? Just in the four years since I took my seat, we have passed law after law. We have put Bills through a process of scrutiny, debate and amendment.

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But does the hon. Lady not understand the message of the referendum and the election? There are very large numbers of directly acting regulations that we can do nothing about, and we have had a lot of legislation going through this House directed by EU directives, which the UK was not happy with.

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I understand the difference between a law and a directive. I also understand the fact that we were perfectly capable of making our own laws during the past 40 years. Let us take an example that I am very fond of—[Interruption.] The right hon. Member for Wokingham (John Redwood) is shaking his head, but he knows perfectly well that we have passed laws. For instance, let us take one that was passed on the very last day of the last Parliament. My dear friend Stephen Pound, the former MP for Ealing North, was standing right here at the Dispatch Box making his last speech as shadow Northern Ireland Minister. He was closing for the Opposition on the final stages of the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill, which would at last provide compensation for victims of historical child abuse. He marked that occasion with tributes to the victims, some of whom were in the Gallery, with respect for cross-party collaboration and with a heartfelt plea for the law to be implemented fully and speedily and never to be needed again. Anyone who was in the House that day, as I was, cannot fail to have been moved by his speech but also by the impact of the law, whose value to the lives of people who had suffered will continue for many years. Many of us will always remember that debate.

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Nobody is disputing that we can pass laws while a member of the EU as long as the EU allows us to. It is quite simple.

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I am going to continue with my example, because this is incredibly puzzling. I do not recall such a thing at any stage in the passage of this Bill or any other Bill that I have been part of—as a Whip I have served on many a Public Bill Committee in the past four years—because at no point during the passage of the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019 did anybody have to ring up the EU and ask for permission.

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Does the hon. Lady not understand how nonsensical her argument is? Of course, there are laws that remain within the remit of this Parliament; but equally, many areas of government and political activity in this country are in the gift of the European Union. There are also European Union regulations that are directly applicable within the United Kingdom over which this Parliament has no control. Does she not understand that?

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Regulations that would have been discussed either in the European Parliament or the Council of Ministers, and those people are also elected and have been for decades. Members have been elected to the European Parliament since 1979. I know that, as I am sure Conservative Members do, because I have campaigned for those Members in elections.

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The hon. Lady just referred to the Council of Ministers. Would she deny for a minute, as is well understood by everybody else, that decisions are taken in the Council of Ministers by a majority vote of other countries behind closed doors and without a transcript? They are therefore not democratic. How can she talk about people being elected when the decisions are actually taken in that manner?

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The last time I looked, most—although admittedly not all—the Government’s Ministers were democratically elected. We participated in the creation of the rules of that Council. I am going to skip ahead in my speech and then come back again, because I wish to remind Conservative Members that it was, for instance, a Tory Government who took us into the single market, with all its rules. They rightly recognised the benefits of the shared rules of a single market. They recognised that they were worth it and that they did not compromise our sovereignty.

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Is the hon. Lady in denial, or has she been living in a bubble? We had a referendum, and we have just had a general election that reinforced the referendum result. Whatever she may say from that Dispatch Box, that ship has sailed, as one of her colleagues said.

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I understand that we are leaving on 31 January. I understand the result of the general election. I am addressing this clause and our amendments to it, which is entirely proper and entirely in keeping with the rules of Parliament and the Standing Orders and is actually what sovereignty is supposed to be about. Is not parliamentary sovereignty supposed to be about elected right hon. and hon. Members holding the Executive to account?

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Many folk on the Government side of the House will be terribly disappointed when this all comes to an end and their hobby-horse of the past 40 years disappears. The real loss of sovereignty and the real power grab is the amount of power being handed to mandarins in Whitehall and Cabinet Ministers here to pass executive decisions without scrutiny in this House of Commons.

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Indeed. I find it most puzzling that Conservative Members who argued for a so-called return to parliamentary sovereignty in this country are quite happy to nod through a Bill that wipes away parliamentary scrutiny of the process of negotiating the future relationship. It is quite extraordinary.

I remind Conservative Members that it was under a Tory-led coalition Government that section 18 of the European Union Act 2011 clarified that limits on sovereignty are at Parliament’s own behest and can, if explicitly provided for, be revoked. The right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who have intervened were presumably here at that time. I was not, but I have read the text and I know what it says. The Government’s own 2017 White Paper said

“Parliament has remained sovereign throughout our membership of the EU”,

and I watch with interest to see whether a Minister will go back on that.

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Does the hon. Lady not understand that it has always been in the gift of Parliament to repeal the Act that took us into the European Union and to take us out of all European laws in their entirety? It has never been in the gift of Parliament, as long as we are subject to the rules of membership, to reject an individual agreed EU measure. That is the difference.

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This is quite extraordinary because, again, the right hon. Gentleman seems to have forgotten that there was a referendum in which the British people chose to be in the European Union, and they have voted for Members of the European Parliament over the course of four decades. I have acknowledged that the result of the 2016 European Union referendum is going to happen on 31 January, but we are arguing here about a clause that is in the Bill, and it is entirely proper for the Opposition to propose an amendment to try to probe what on earth it means.

Did I imagine that we considered the Northern Ireland historical abuse Bill? I checked Hansard this morning and it appears that I was not dreaming—I was actually there. I did not dream the passage of the world’s first Climate Change Act in 2008. Nobody had to ring Brussels to ask, “Can we pass this law?” or if we could equalise marriage. We have been passing our own laws all this time. We have never needed to ask for permission. It is not true that we have no say on EU rules; we have had democratically elected representation in the EU Parliament since 1979.

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The hon. Lady has made two points that I think are incorrect. First, the British people voted to join something where we had a full veto over anything that we did not agree could be imposed on the UK. Secondly, on judicial activism and the mission creep of the European Court of Justice, perhaps the hon. Lady would like to comment on the way in which power was grabbed through two court cases—namely, those of Van Gend en Loos and of Costa v. ENEL.

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One of the things that interests me about the right hon. Gentleman’s argument is what we will do when we are trying to resolve a dispute over a trade agreement at a supranational court—[Interruption.] They will not be elected representatives. The World Trade Organisation court of dispute does not consist of elected representatives. Government Members seem quite happy to hand over control to the WTO court of dispute resolution and pretend that that is somehow more democratic. [Interruption.] Calling me silly is not worthy of the right hon. Gentleman.

We have been sovereign all this time. On our money, we have always had our sovereignty. We set our own budgets. We are represented at EU budget setting by our democratically elected representatives. As I have said, we have even had opt-outs, negotiated by Tory Governments, from some of those financial agreements. We have negotiated opt-outs, variations, rebates and all sorts of specific conditions for the UK.

The phrase used is “money, laws and borders” and I cannot remember which way around they are, but on borders we chose, rightly or wrongly—and we can decide for ourselves whether it was right or wrong—how we interpreted the requirements on the free movement of people, one of the four freedoms of the single market, which, I remind hon. Members, a Tory Government took us into. Other EU nations have interpreted that freedom differently. We chose, as a sovereign nation, not to participate in the Schengen area. We decide how we police our borders and whether or not there are enough border police.

We have also chosen to benefit from freedom of movement, which I acknowledge will end after 31 January. It is a freedom that I wish we had valued more and whose passing I will truly mourn, but it never undermined our sovereignty. That is implied even in the wording of the clause, because it states that “sovereignty subsists notwithstanding” various provisions. Of course, we agree—and will continue to agree after debate, scrutiny and amendment—to many other rules beyond our borders. International treaties, trade agreements and security co-operation arrangements all carry commitments to shared rules and to abiding by the rules of supranational bodies of dispute resolution, most of which are not elected, but Parliament’s sovereignty will remain intact.

I ask the Minister respectfully if he will explain the legal and practical purpose of clause 38. Even the phrase, “It is recognised”, has the feel of a political rather than a legal statement. The purpose of the Opposition’s amendment 11 is to discover the Government’s intention. We think that stating that Parliament is sovereign

“and has been so during the period since the passage of the European Communities Act 1972”

is entirely consistent with what the Government themselves said in their White Paper only a few months ago. We have been sovereign all that time.

I am sure that Members know this, but our sovereignty was never in doubt and was not diminished. I could spend a long time asking what this non-argument about sovereignty has all been about, but I am pretty sure that a lot of it—perhaps most of it—has been a false argument to distract attention from the desire to deregulate this country and turn us into a bargain basement nation with no attention given to workers’ rights, environmental protections, health and safety or any of the other regulations in which we played a part in Europe, which we have implemented and which have helped us help the people we represent. I would like the Government to explain the point of clause 38.

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Parliament is sovereign, was sovereign and will be sovereign, and the clause recognises that fundamental principle in our constitutional arrangement, which is of great significance to many hon. Members. Membership of the European Union has felt as though we have ceded control. We cannot pull back sovereignty piece by piece—Conservative Back Benchers mentioned a number of examples. Anybody who has sat on a delegated legislation Committee will have been told by the Minister, “We cannot change this because it has gone through the European processes and we have to rubber stamp it.” The presumption was that we were full members, and that was made worse by qualified majority voting; previously, we had the ability to come back to each individual matter.

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A very simple example of what my hon. Friend mentions is the EU’s port services regulation, which was opposed by every trade union, by the Government and by every one of the 47 port employers but went through this House simply because it had been passed by a majority vote in the Council of Ministers. That regulation was imposed upon us by the abdication of our sovereignty under section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972.

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My hon. Friend is right. We could not do anything about that law or any other specific issue without coming out of the European Union, taking back control and asserting our sovereignty. Clause 38 reaffirms that sovereignty going forward and, crucially, during the implementation period.

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Does the Minister accept that our sovereignty is diminished, because we currently have a veto on many votes? Some of them are subject to majority voting, as the former Chair of the European Scrutiny Committee said, but we are one of 27 nations. Now, under World Trade Organisation terms, we will be one of 164 countries and unable to change the rules. Those terms will jack up the cost of drugs and stop us nationalising things, which will constrain our sovereignty much more. The idea that we will have more sovereignty rather than less is wrong, and the clause is therefore misleading.

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I disagree with virtually all the hon. Gentleman’s points. We will take back control, hold that sovereignty, take our seat as an independent nation state on WTO rules, and engage in international forums to look globally, rather than looking within Europe in European forums.

Clause 39 relates to interpretation. This type of clause is standard practice in primary legislation and contains key definitions. Subsection (1) lists items used in the Bill with accompanying definitions, such as the relevant agreements with the EU, the EEA, EFTA and Switzerland. Given the possibility of a change in EU summer-time arrangements, the clause provides for consequential changes in the exact time of the implementation period on 31 December in the United Kingdom. Let me be very clear: this power cannot be used to change the time and date of the implementation period for any other purpose. The clause is fundamental to ensuring the operation of the Bill.

Clause 40 and schedule 4 make further provision for regulations to make powers under the Bill, which is of interest and importance to Members of Parliament. Schedule 4 provides for the parliamentary scrutiny procedure for secondary legislation under the powers in the Bill. We recognise that our exit from the EU is momentous and Parliament will want to scrutinise any changes that we make to the statute book as part of that process.

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I am very much in favour of clause 38, which reasserts our sovereignty. If the European Union wanted to legislate punitively against us during the implementation period, can I take it from the Minister that we would use this clause to prevent such legislation from having effect?

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Yes. Clause 38 not only restates the historical position but reasserts our sovereignty during the implementation period. Parliament will be given extra powers, such as the powers being taken by the European Scrutiny Committee, which is important because we will not be participants in the decision-making process.

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In a nutshell, laws are democratic when they are made in line with a manifesto following a general election. The bottom line, therefore, is that decisions taken by the European Scrutiny Committee on vital national interests will also go through departmental Select Committees, and then there will be a vote on the Floor of the House. That means this House will decide whether it wants to obey a legislative arrangement that has come out of the European Union, which is completely different from anything that happened since 1972.

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I thank the Chair of the European Scrutiny Committee. As he knows, the powers will also extend to the House of Lords, allowing for an additional check.

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Does the Minister agree that if we must have a certain level of equivalence to sustain a reasonable level of trade, we will be obliged to accept the EU’s changes, which will be made without our consent because we will be outside the room, or else take the economic cost? That is not sovereignty; it is just self-harm for the sake of opposing things. If we just agree to the changes, what is the point of it?

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If we were taking the hon. Gentleman’s version of Brexit, of staying in dynamic alignment, he would be right, but we are not doing that. We are taking back control, so we will be an independent nation state.

Under schedule 4, the general position will be that the affirmative procedure will apply when the Bill’s core powers are exercised so as to modify primary legislation or retained direct principal EU legislation. Although not all the modifications will be substantial, this approach has been adopted given the exceptional context and the uniqueness of the matters dealt with in this Bill. Clause 40 recognises that Parliament wants a greater place in scrutinising legislation.

There is one exception to this rule, and it relates to the exercise of powers to make provision by regulation for citizens to appeal against immigration decisions. That exception is made to ensure such provision can be made in time for 31 January, and the made affirmative procedure is therefore adopted for that exceptional process.

Parliament has a duty to provide the British people with a functioning statute book. Clause 40 and schedule 4 provide essential further provision on the powers in the Bill, and I urge hon. Members to support their standing part of the Bill.

As hon. Members know, consequential provisions are standard, even in legislation of great constitutional importance. Equally, transitional provisions are a standard way to smooth the application of a change in the UK statute book. Schedule 5 already makes many consequential amendments, but there will be more. As is standard practice, we are therefore taking a power to amend those constitutional amendments.

I understand Members’ concerns about delegated powers in this Bill, and I would like to allay those fears and concerns today. This power is naturally constrained. It can be used only to make provisions that are consequential to the Bill. Transitional, transitory and saving provisions are equally standard in smoothing the introduction of a change to the statute book. As we implement the withdrawal agreement, it is in everyone’s interest that we ensure legal continuity for businesses and individuals. Again, schedule 5 introduces some of those measures, but we will need the flexibility to ensure that the withdrawal agreement can operate smoothly and efficiently for the people of the UK.

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Is the European Statutory Instruments Committee, which operated so effectively in the last Parliament, expected to be re-established in this Parliament to scrutinise statutory instruments made under this Bill?

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I thank that Committee for the work it has done, although I must admit that my focus has been on the work the European Scrutiny Committee is doing during the implementation period. I am more than happy to get back to the hon. Gentleman later on the specific point about the Committee he mentions. As hon. Members will know, case law and an array of legal authorities provide a very narrow scope for Governments to exercise powers of these types. They are standard provisions to permit “housekeeping” modifications.

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The Minister is talking about the delegated powers, which are sweeping and extensive throughout this Bill. Why are the Government so reluctant to have limitations that protect key primary legislation such as the Human Rights Act and the devolved Acts, which were just voted against by Government Members?

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Our withdrawal from the EU does not impinge on our human rights commitments. That issue is dealt with in later new clauses. I will make some more detailed comments on human rights then, but our commitments to human rights are unaffected by this Bill.

Clause 42 provides for the extent and commencement of the Bill and sets out its short title. It sets out that the Bill will extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, save for a limited number of exceptions, with one being that section 1 extends to the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. The European Communities Act currently extends to the Crown dependencies and Gibraltar in a limited way. This means that the saving effect of the European Communities Act to allow for the implementation period must similarly extend to these jurisdictions—in effect, we will be continuing as we are during the implementation period. The Government have regularly engaged with the Crown dependencies throughout the EU exit process to keep them apprised of developments and to provide a forum for ongoing dialogue. That has been an important aspect of ensuring that this clause is fit for purpose.

The clause also sets out which parts of the Act will commence immediately at Royal Assent, and provides a power for the Minister to commence other provisions at different times by regulation. Provisions such as the consequential and transitional powers, and certain definitions, will commence immediately. It is also usual practice for the Bill to allow provisions to be commenced at different times through commencement regulations. This is an essential part of how the Act will come into place in an orderly manner.

On schedule 5, the House will remember the debates on section 8 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and the power to fix deficiencies in retained EU law. It was written so that in the event that the UK left the EU without a deal, deficiencies arising from our withdrawal would be corrected. Since that Act was passed, the Government and the devolved authorities have laid secondary legislation under the 2018 Act and other primary legislation to ensure a functioning statute book on exit day in the event of no deal. We do not want this legislation to come into force on exit day—rather, we want to defer these bits of secondary legislation en masse so that they come into effect at the end of the implementation period. This schedule provides for the mass deferral of this secondary legislation so that it comes into force by reference to “IP completion day” rather than “exit day”.

The schedule also contains the power to make exceptions to the mass deferral. It also covers the devolved Assemblies’ use of this power, and provides for a similar deferral of commencement, and a power to make exceptions in respect of certain primary legislation made by the devolved authorities. In addition to the provisions I have just set out, the schedule also expands the consequential power in the 2018 Act so that it can be used to make fixes in consequence of amendments that this Bill makes to that Act. A number of Acts now need to be updated to reflect the terms of the withdrawal agreement, including the implementation period. These amendments alter previous changes made by the 2018 Act to other legislation. The provisions contained in this schedule are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the statute book for the whole of the implementation period and beyond, so it must stand part of this Bill.

Amendment 11 was, I believe, a probing measure to allow us to discuss sovereignty. It has been a good place-setter, enabling us to have a robust discussion of what is meant by “sovereignty”. We have been able to confirm that the UK has been able to do things while inside the EU. We have strongly confirmed that we have felt constrained, and have been constrained, as part of the EU in not disagreeing with things that have been put through by the EU. We now have a closer understanding of what Conservative Members mean by parliamentary sovereignty and why we asserted ourselves during the Brexit debate and the general election, which we won resoundingly.

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Will the Minister give way?

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With pleasure.

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The pleasure is all mine.

Does the Minister agree that the United States is undermining the WTO by not appointing judges to the appellant court? The Americans do not want a rule-based system; they want a power-based system—their power, and they put most of the money into the WTO. The body has 164 members, so the idea that on our own, rather than as part of the EU bloc, we will have influence in the WTO that compares to our influence by virtue of our population in the EU is surely not credible. We will simply have less sovereignty.

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We will have more influence: we will have influence with the Americans, who want to do a trade deal with us early on, and we will work with other international partners. The WTO has been of immense value in liberalising trade, and in many ways the EU trading within itself has been a block on the liberalisation of global trade, although it has opened out trade within the EU. I have made that point around Parliament and I think Members support the principle.

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Let me elucidate the point. I sometimes think the Opposition do not seem to understand that we are in the WTO through the EU anyway. The whole EU is governed by WTO rules and the WTO court, yet the Opposition say that we would sacrifice control by going into the WTO. That bit of it already applies to us. We will get our vote and our voice, so we will actually get some power.

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My right hon. Friend is right. I disagree with some of the points made by the hon. Member for Swansea West (Geraint Davies), but if he was right we would be suffering those problems at distance through the EU; if indeed it was the problem that he describes, it would not be a new problem.

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rose

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I am going to make some progress on amendment 9. I look forward to hearing the hon. Gentleman’s speech as a trade rep; I shall listen carefully to his remarks and intervene on him if that is appropriate and helpful to the debate.

The House will be aware that the Government previously published an impact assessment in support of the Bill. It is a standard assessment of the direct costs and benefits to businesses of elements of the Bill, and is available to Parliament and the public.

The assessment is in addition to the Government’s analysis, which was published in November 2018. It is detailed and robust and covers a broad range of scenarios.

In his letter to the Treasury Committee on 21 October last year, the Chancellor of Exchequer committed the Government to provide continued analysis of the appropriate points through the next stages of the negotiations. Hopefully, that will reassure the hon. Member for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire), in addition to the reassurance she received from my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who spoke on issues of parliamentary scrutiny in the debate on the previous group. The Government remain committed to provide that analysis and will inform Parliament with the best analysis on which to base decisions. We will do so at the appropriate time, and so that it does not impede our ability to strike a good deal. I do not think that Members of Parliament or the British public would want us to do otherwise.

The British people have voted to get Brexit done and we must honour that by leaving with a deal. Fundamentally, amendment 9 is sadly another attempt to delay Brexit. We do not want to test the people’s patience further by adding another step to the process, so I urge the SNP to withdraw the amendment. An impact assessment already exists and is there for everyone to see.

I thank the hon. Member for North Down (Stephen Farry) for tabling amendment 35, but unfortunately we cannot accept it. The clause recognises a principal fundamental to our constitutional relationships: that Parliament is sovereign. Nothing in the Bill derogates from the sovereignty of Parliament, as the clause makes clear. In passing legislation to give effect to the withdrawal agreement, Parliament is exercising that sovereignty. Clause 5 is a critical component of the Bill: it provides individuals and businesses with some clarity, such that they can rely on the withdrawal agreement. It also provides for the withdrawal agreement to take priority over domestic law where it is incompatible. That is consistent with parliamentary sovereignty. Parliament is giving effect to the priority of the withdrawal agreement. The effect of the hon. Gentleman’s amendment would go beyond that. It would be novel and it would bind Parliament’s hands in exercising its ability to make and unmake law. He should be assured that such an amendment is entirely unnecessary, so I hope that he does not press it to a vote.

New clause 28 seeks to introduce a clause that would require a further confirmatory referendum. We do not want any more referendums. May I gently remind the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Sir Edward Davey)—he is not in his place, but I will send him a copy of Hansard—that we have recently had a general election and we are committed to leaving the European Union on 31 January? I see that the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Layla Moran) is in her place. Let me apologise to her as the new clause has been backed by the entire Liberal Democrat Bench. I hope that the amendment will be withdrawn or not moved.

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Clause 38 addresses parliamentary sovereignty. Independent reviews of the clause, including by the Library and the Institute for Government, point out how completely meaningless it is. It purely states something without giving it any power. It has no power in law, yet throughout this Bill, sweeping delegated powers are being taken from this Parliament to the Executive. The Government have just voted against limiting those powers in the standard way that they were limited in the 2018 withdrawal Act to protect things such as the Human Rights Act, the Government of Wales Act, the Scotland Act and the Northern Ireland Act. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who was at the Dispatch Box for the previous group of amendments, could not explain why the Government felt that they could not accept such limitations. That is where the concern comes, particularly on clause 21. There is no sunset clause—there is no limit. This plan to rebalance powers between the Executive, Parliament and the courts was in the Tory manifesto, and we literally see it coming to life inside this Bill.

The Minister mentioned clause 5, which gives the withdrawal agreement supremacy over all domestic law. It will not allow parliamentary scrutiny of any of the changes that result from that. These sweeping, broad-brush powers are concerning people. In particular, the removal of clause 31 of the original withdrawal agreement Bill in its entirety means that Parliament has no voice, no influence and no ability to set the terms or aims of the future relationship, which goes way beyond any trade deal. Such actions are making people afraid of what is going on. Furthermore, we have not heard any good argument from the Government as to why Parliament is suddenly being excluded in this way.

It is bizarre now to take this stance of “The lady doth protest too much” and, “Oh, we all believe in parliamentary sovereignty.” In actual fact, what we see is a complete undermining of the sovereignty of this Parliament. We also see an undermining of the sovereignty of the other three Parliaments in the United Kingdom. The devolved Governments are being undermined. They also will have no influence over the future relationship. They are also having to face delegated powers being taken from them, so that the Government can legislate on devolved areas even without the involvement of devolved Ministers. Twenty years after devolution, this is seen as an absolute power grab and an absolute attack on the devolved Parliaments of the United Kingdom.

In amendment 9, we specifically talk about an economic impact assessment. There has not been one since 2018—and that was on the Chequers agreement. Frankly, having read the Chequers agreement, which many Members on the Government Benches, including the Prime Minister, did not support, I can say that it was a complete cake-and-eat-it agreement. Frankly, it was never an agreement; it was just a wish list that had no chance of happening. There has been no economic impact assessment since then, and certainly no economic impact assessment of what this Bill will do.

We have heard all the representatives of Northern Ireland coming together across the divide of the communities to ask for regular economic impact assessments on what this Bill does to Northern Ireland. As someone from a coastal, west of Scotland constituency, let me point out that we will be looking across at Northern Ireland, which will be sitting in the single market. Fishermen in my constituency are talking about losing their businesses or having to register in Northern Ireland to try to compete. Our farmers will face delays at ports and may face tariffs. They will certainly face huge bureaucracy that farmers in Northern Ireland will not face. I have two big just-in-time industries in my constituency: aerospace and pharmaceuticals. How are we going to keep those industries, let alone attract other businesses? They will look at Ayrshire and they will look at Northern Ireland; one is in the single market and one is not. I am sorry, but the idea that the economic assessment that was done on the Chequers deal would count for this deal and this Bill is frankly complete nonsense.

When this Government talk about their precious Union, it is important that they respect the devolved Governments, who are being given no locus in the future relationship. The fact that the Scottish Parliament will be voting on withholding a legislative consent motion for this legislation was dismissed as irrelevant by the Prime Minister himself at the Dispatch Box before Christmas. If it is so important to Members on the Tory Benches to preserve their precious Union, may I suggest that it is a bit like a marriage? Imagine turning around and saying to the missus, “Tough, I won’t give you a divorce”, “Tough, I don’t want to listen to you”, or “Shut up, because I’m in charge.” Imagine saying things like, “Yeah, give me half your wages” and “You can’t leave me, because I bought a big 4x4 and now we have an overdraft.” That is what the relationship looks like from Scotland.

As the former Prime Minister and the Attorney General both pointed out, it is not possible to maintain a union of nations that is not voluntary and that countries do not wish to be a part of. That has repeatedly been put forward as a Brexit argument. You will not keep Scotland in your precious Union with the utter disrespect that is being shown for her Government, her people and how her people voted. The Scottish National party is the party that people voted for, so repeatedly saying that the people of Scotland “don’t want this” and “don’t want that” is nonsense. If Government Members believe in democracy, they should be respecting not just the Scottish Government, but the Scottish Parliament. They cannot ride roughshod with delegated powers over the devolved Governments of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. It will certainly not protect their precious Union.

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The hon. Member for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire) said, “What is this sovereignty?” It is terribly simple; it is the ability to make our own laws in our own Parliament, in accordance with the electoral decisions taken by the people in line with a manifesto and with their constitutional arrangements, which have been in place for many generations. It is this for which people fought and died in world wars. The very simple reality is that sovereignty is about whether or not we can govern ourselves.

My rebellion against the Maastricht treaty was based on the simple proposition that that treaty created European government. In 1971, we entered into arrangements—then enacted through the European Communities Act 1972—on the basis of a White Paper that said we would never give up the veto under any circumstances, and furthermore that to do so would be not only against our own national interest, but contrary to the fabric of the European Community itself. Believe it or not, it was understood in Government circles at that time that the veto enabled us to retain the actuality and reality of the ability to make our own laws. Gradually, over the next 30 or 40 years, that veto was whittled away to extinction, and the processes that I have to deal with day in, day out in the European Scrutiny Committee—and have been doing so since I first went on the Committee in 1985—have demonstrated to me that, in fact, we have not been governing ourselves. That is why I entered into opposition to the Maastricht treaty and then to Nice, Amsterdam and ultimately Lisbon. The reality of what has been happening is that the individuals who sit on these green Benches have simply had their ability to make the laws that they are entitled to make on behalf of the people who vote for them reduced to rubble.

In return, we have been faced with an increasingly dysfunctional European Union that did not work in the interests of the British people, and that is why we got the result we did in the referendum. It was the people who voted. Interestingly, when the decision was taken to hold the referendum, it was decided by six to one in the House of Commons. We voluntarily agreed that we would abdicate our right as Members of Parliament and let the people of this country make that decision on their own behalf. All the resistance we have seen over the past three years from the Opposition Benches and from a number of our recalcitrant colleagues, many of whom are no longer in the House, was based on a complete failure to understand that the decisions that were taken in that referendum were authorised by Parliament and, indeed, by themselves.

Section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018—I did the first draft of the Bill, which was accepted by the Government—said that the European Communities Act 1972 would be repealed on exit day. That is now in fact implementation period day, but for practical purposes it comes to the same thing. The Opposition religiously—or irreligiously, depending on how one cares to put it—decided that they would oppose that Bill in principle, as they did on Second Reading and on Third Reading. Every single Conservative, even my recalcitrant colleagues—even Kenneth Clarke—voted for the withdrawal Act on Third Reading, but the Opposition denied not only the sovereignty that was being restored by the repeal of the ’72 Act but the democracy that went with it. That is a fundamental issue. They destroyed their credibility with the British people, and I believe that the ordinary man in the street—the people who voted in the last general election—understood that.

I have already made the point that European laws are made behind closed doors by a majority vote. Nobody can say that the decisions that were taken, which we had to accept because we had no alternative, were laws made by our elected representatives. I have never heard such trash coming from a Front Bench as the suggestion that the fact that these people happen to be elected Members of Parliament in the Council of Ministers conferred upon them some form of democratic right to decide.

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My hon. Friend is making absolutely the right case about sovereignty. I mentioned Van Gend en Loos and Costa v. ENEL. The point about those two cases is that they were judicial statements. One was about direct effect and the other was about the whole idea that European law had supremacy. They were never voted on in this House. Nobody agreed to them. Nobody said, “This is what we wanted.” That led to something quite interesting—the imposition of the extension of welfare payments to EU migrants who came here was the result of a judicial review of something that we had never voted for, and it cost us a lot of money.

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That is a very good point. Those cases happened before we came into the European Union, and they invade the very concept of the constitutionality of this country and of other countries too, because they say that we are obliged to obey not just any law, not just all laws, but even constitutional laws. That is the point. It is an utter invasion. It is a complete and total destruction of the decision of people through the ballot box in general elections. That is the problem. Sovereignty and democracy are intertwined at the heart of our constitutional system. The hon. Member for Bristol West ought to reflect on the rather absurd propositions in her speech, because she cannot prove a single point that she made.

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A key function of Members sent here—the earlier Parliaments were in Shropshire, of course; it is a regrettable tendency that we have had them in Westminster for the last few hundred years—is that we pass supply, vote funds and are responsible for moneys raised from our constituents. “No taxation without representation” is fundamental. The current rules are in complete breach of that. It is worth reading the National Audit Office report which says that between 2005 and 2015, the EU demanded £642 million back because of the unsatisfactory manner in which the last Labour Government introduced CAP reform. There was absolutely nothing that a single Member of Parliament could do by voting here to stop that money being demanded from the UK Government.

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In conclusion, I will simply say that I entirely endorse what my right hon. Friend has said, as indeed I endorse what my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith) said. The bottom line is that our passing of the withdrawal Act, in conjunction with the general election that we have just won, gives us back the opportunity to make laws on behalf of the people of this country in a democratic, constitutional arrangement of such importance that I believe it will go down as a historic moment when the Bill’s Third Reading is passed tomorrow.

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I rise primarily to address amendment 35 in my name and its intersection with clause 38. I do not intend to press it to a Division, but I want to highlight some of the issues that arise from it.

More generally, on the point of parliamentary sovereignty, I want to make a couple of comments, as other Members have, about the irony with respect to the level of delegated powers that the Bill will create, as well as the lack of scrutiny of the future relationship, which is of particular importance to us in Northern Ireland but also, of course, for all colleagues across the United Kingdom. The Northern Ireland/Ireland protocol, which is of such importance to us in Northern Ireland and has almost bedevilled the process of Brexit for many years, was only in effect programmed for two hours today. Many of the Northern Ireland voices were not properly articulated on that.

The concern of my amendment is the rights protections under the Good Friday agreement. The Good Friday agreement is, of course, an international agreement, but its implementation in domestic law falls to the UK Government. The agreement sets out a comprehensive set of rights, including the political participation of women, the right to freely choose one’s residence, freedom from sectarian harassment, a statutory equality duty and, perhaps most significantly, the requirement for the incorporation of the European convention on human rights into UK domestic law.

Most of the debate in Northern Ireland and beyond around Brexit, as it pertains to our situation, has focused on issues around borders, including the business community, the economy, trade and what the future holds in that regard. But people are also deeply concerned about rights issues, for a whole range of reasons. Article 2(1) of the protocol on Northern Ireland/Ireland provides a commitment that there will be

“no diminution of rights, safeguards or equality of opportunity”.

That is very much welcome, but we have seen a gradual weakening of the level of commitment to rights protections since the original draft of the joint report in December 2017. The European Union is very clear that it falls to the United Kingdom Government to ensure that the rights under the Good Friday agreement are protected as part of the future relationship.

The specific concern that I am trying to raise through amendment 35 is that there seems to be an inconsistency between section 7A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and clause 38 of the Bill, which is the focus of this section of our debate. Clause 38 stresses parliamentary sovereignty notwithstanding section 7A, which is used to give some degree of reassurance that there will not be any threat to rights, but there is the potential that section 7A could be overridden in some shape or form. There are several reasons why we have some concern in this respect. First, not all Good Friday agreement rights relate to the European convention itself; some are broader than what the convention contains. Some of the proposed legislative commitments apply only to Northern Ireland Departments and public bodies, and do not extend as far as the UK Government themselves, and in that there may well be some potential danger.

There are also concerns about whether the UK Government have, to date, fully respected some of the rights under the Good Friday agreement. As Members will appreciate, identity is a very complex issue across these islands, but it has been managed to date through a number of different forms—for example, the common travel area; more recently, the Good Friday agreement; and hitherto, of course, the joint membership of the European Union by the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Up until now, both jurisdictions have moved in tandem on issues involving the European Union, including on matters such as the Schengen agreement, which the Republic of Ireland has also opted out of. We are now faced with the fact that, for the first time ever, we are going to see the UK and Ireland move in different directions in terms of the European Union. That may well throw up a whole range of issues, challenges and anomalies that will need to be managed successfully.

Brexit strips away a lot of those protections, and perhaps does create a certain degree of risk. If I may, I will take one example in that regard. Members may well be aware of the Emma DeSouza case regarding immigration. It drew attention to the fact that the UK Government have not reflected in UK domestic law, particularly in relation to revision of the British Nationality Act 1981, the right of someone born and resident in Northern Ireland to identify solely as Irish, and to have Irish citizenship. What the law currently says is that anyone born in Northern Ireland is, by birth, automatically British, and to many that goes against both the letter and the spirit of the Good Friday agreement.

As long as that case, and indeed other situations, go unresolved there is a latent fear of these anomalies persisting and, indeed, potentially growing, particularly if there is greater divergence between the UK and the rest of the European Union, including the Republic of Ireland in particular. That has implications for what is a very complex situation, which has been managed by the Good Friday agreement—on a faltering basis over the past 20 years, but none the less managed—and we may well be in very difficult and rocky territory. It is important that the Government reflect on some of the fears that are being expressed in Northern Ireland. Although I am not going to press the amendment today, I think it is important that the Government reflect on the matter.

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The hon. Member must of course reflect that the fact of the matter is that the Republic of Ireland is an independent country in its own right. By being independent it is entitled to go its own way, and if it wants to go a different way with Europe it is entitled to do that. We would not want to restrict it and say it has to come with Britain. I would be delighted, whenever we leave the EU and Europe increases its bill of membership to the Republic of Ireland—when the Republic sees how costly it is to be a member—if those in the Republic of Ireland had a national conversation about their role as Irish citizens in the EU. Ultimately, however, that is a choice the Republic of Ireland has made—that it wishes to remain within the EU—and we should not try to restricting its hands, either.

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I am always grateful to hear comments from my counterpart in Northern Ireland, but I think it is worth stressing for the record that there is no significant movement or debate whatsoever in the Republic of Ireland about any form of “Irexit”, as it might be framed. There is deep commitment to membership of the European Union in the south of Ireland, as indeed there is, on a majority basis, in Northern Ireland and in Scotland and other parts of the UK as well.

While Ireland will make its decision to remain part of the European Union, it is of course the UK that is diverging. That debate has been had, and I recognise the outcome in that respect. None the less, it is important to recognise that Northern Ireland is a complex society, and it only works on the basis of sharing and interdependence. A very careful set of balanced relationships has been built up over the past number of years, with the support of those on both Front Benches in this House over that period. Brexit does potentially strip away some of the sticking-plaster over some of the cracks and we do not know exactly how things will work out. It is important that the Government pay regard to, and are sensitive to, the very particular implications in rights terms for Northern Ireland as the Brexit process unfolds.

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Clause 38 is welcome. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) for being one of the co-authors of that excellent piece of Government-proposed legislation. I also support the Minister in opposing various new clauses and amendments before us.

It seems to come down to the question, “What is sovereignty?” and I think the public understand it so much better than many Opposition MPs seem to. The public fully understand that our constitution should be based on the proposition that the public decide who should represent them in the House of Commons and then the House of Commons decides what laws are appropriate, what taxes to raise and how to spend that money, and at the end of four or five years—or sometimes a shorter period—the public get to judge whether we collectively made a good job of it or not, or whether there is some new configuration of Members of Parliament that can make it better. So the public are ultimately sovereign but they trust us, their elected Members, with their sovereignty for a period of up to five years to exercise the powers of government.

When we first joined the European Economic Community, the country was assured that that sovereignty —that set of powers—would not be damaged in any way. To underwrite that promise the Government said, correctly then, that there would be no matter decided in the European Economic Community that could be forced on the United Kingdom against its will; we always had a veto so that if it proposed a law, a charge or a tax that we did not like, we could use the veto. Over our years of membership, we have seen those vetoes gradually reduced—those powers taken away—so that today, although we are still a full member of what is now the European Union, there are huge swathes of policy areas where we are not free to legislate where we wish, or in some cases not free to legislate at all, because it is entirely occupied territory under the Community acquis.

The ultimate sovereign power in the United Kingdom today is the European Court of Justice; that is the ultimate appeal of any legal issue, and it can overrule what the two Houses of Parliament decide, it can overrule a statute, and it can strike down a law passed in this place. It is that which a majority of the British people decided they thought was unsatisfactory. When they had voted many years ago to support our continued membership of the European Economic Community it was called a Common Market and misrepresented as a free trade area, which of course is rather different from a customs union with complex rules, and they were given an assurance that their Parliament would still be able to choose their taxes, spend their money and pass their laws in the traditional way. That turned out not to be true.

The loss of those freedoms was progressive under the Single European Act, under the Maastricht treaty, under the Amsterdam treaty, the Nice treaty and, above all, the Lisbon treaty. The Lisbon treaty was the culmination of that journey towards a very strong European Government that was superior to the United Kingdom Government, and the implied substantial strengthening of the wide-ranging powers of the European Court of Justice, because every directive and every regulation that was passed—and there were thousands of them—not only produced a more directly acting legal power over our country that we could not modify or change, but also gave so much more extensive powers to the European Court of Justice because it is the ultimate arbitrator of that body of law.

It is that body of law which this legislation today is seeking to put under United Kingdom control. We have been arguing over this for three and a half years now. The public thought it was a very simple matter and told us to get on with it. We had a fractious and unhelpful Parliament until recently, which did all in its power to thwart the putting into law of the wishes of the United Kingdom electors.

I hope today, after a second general election and after a referendum where the British people made it clear that they wished their sovereignty to rest again with them and be delegated to their Parliament, that the Opposition might have understood that, and might have understood that currently, contrary to what we have been told by the Labour Front Bench, there are a very large number of areas where we cannot do as we please.

Let us start with the money. Yes, we wish to take back control of the money. This Parliament cannot decide to reduce the amount of money it pays to the European Union. They decide that: they determine the bill and they enforce the bill. I hope that Ministers can reassure me that after December, at the end of the implementation period, that will cease and we will only pay when there is an agreement between us and the European Union that we accept for services or joint policies that we wish to undertake as a sovereign nation. We cannot go on accepting their hand in our pocket, taking our money under their legal powers.

I personally think it is a great pity that we have had such a delay to exit, because I resent the net £1 billion or more a month we are paying in. That will continue, I am afraid, throughout this year. I would like that money for priorities in Wokingham and in the constituencies of other colleagues here in the House of Commons. I find it very odd that so many MPs are so dismissive of the significance of the money, given the quite important role it seemed to play in the referendum campaign and given how colleagues are normally very keen to see increases in expenditure on public services in our country. They do not make the connection that if we carry on paying very large sums to the European Union, it limits our scope to make the increases they would like.

It also means we do not control our own taxes, so our country cannot choose the power to tax any of our sales; that is determined for us. It has to be the VAT tax system. We had to introduce that when we joined the European Union. There are arguments for continuing with some kind of VAT system, but surely we want to decide what rate it is levied at and what items it is levied on. There are quite a number of items that I think it should not be levied on, where I think I would find agreement across the Committee. However, we are not allowed today to remove VAT from green products, for example, because that is against European Union rules. I therefore look forward to our opportunity to shape our own taxation system as soon as we are properly out.

There is then the issue of when we actually have control over our law. What I hope clause 38 will achieve is that if the European Union decides during the implementation period to pass laws that are particularly penal on the United Kingdom or are damaging to our commercial and economic interests, we can use that reassertion of parliamentary sovereignty before the expiry of the implementation period to ensure that that particular law does not apply to the United Kingdom. Otherwise, there is an invitation to anyone of bad will in the European Union to think of schemes that would be disadvantageous to the United Kingdom during the implementation period.

On borders, where again those on the Labour Front Bench seem surprisingly dismissive of a very important question that has been in our debate throughout the referendum and in subsequent general elections, I think there is a general view in the country, which goes well beyond Conservative voters, that there should be a fair system of entry between EU and non-EU people. At the moment, the EU gets preference. I think a lot of people feel that there should be some overall limitation on the numbers of people coming in seeking low-paid work or speculatively seeking work. They favour some kind of a work permit system, which is quite common in many other advanced civilised countries. Because we wish people who join us to be welcomed, because we want them to live to a decent standard and because we accept the commitment to pay them benefits and find them subsidised housing if that is their requirement, surely it should be in our power to decide how many people we welcome in this way, and to decide that that should be related to our capacity to offer them something worth while, and to our economic needs. I give way to my right hon. Friend, who has done so much in this area.

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May I just pick up on one point? My right hon. Friend talks about, “should we wish to give them benefits”. The reality now is that the British Government have to pay benefits even to families of people working over here when their families are not with them. That is roundly disliked across Europe, but those countries all accept there is nothing they can do about it because the European Court of Justice imposed that as part of freedom of movement. It was never debated as part of freedom of movement and it was never supposed that it would happen. It is an end to sovereignty when one can no longer make a decision to change something like that.

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My right hon. Friend puts it brilliantly; that is exactly the kind of limitation of our sovereign power, and of our freedom to make decisions that please our electors, that I have been talking about. It is quite important, given the history of this debate.

Turning to the Scottish nationalists, I agree with what the Scottish nationalist spokeswoman, the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford), said: we only want volunteers in our Union. We are democrats. We believe that the Union works, but that if a significant portion of the Union develops a feeling that it is not working for them, we need to test that. I was a strong supporter of accepting the Scottish National party idea, just a few years ago, that there should be a referendum. That referendum had the full support of the United Kingdom Parliament, which is the sovereign authority for these purposes on Union matters. I also fully agreed with the then SNP leadership when I talked to them about it—I think our formal exchanges were recorded in Hansard. They said that they agreed with me that whichever side lost should accept the result, and that it would be a “once in a generation” event, not a regular event that happened every five years until one side got the answer that it liked. I hope that the SNP will reflect on that. We are democrats and we want volunteers in our Union, but we cannot pull it up and examine it every two or three years through a referendum, which is very divisive, expensive and damaging to confidence and economic progress. We should live with the result.

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Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that we did respect the result? We have been here for four and a half years. We would not have been if we did not respect it; we would have been independent, and we would not be being dragged over the EU cliff at the end of this month. He should accept that the claim of right that Scotland has had for 331 years did not disappear in 2014, and that his party has changed the entire fabric of the United Kingdom. It cannot continue to treat Scotland’s views with disrespect.

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Just before the right hon. Gentleman continues, we do not want to be dragged into a debate on Scottish independence on clause 38. Let us continue to debate these amendments and the clause.

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Good advice, but I am trying to address the SNP point related to its proposals on how we treat devolved government fairly and whether we are listening properly to Scotland. I think that we are very much listening to Scotland, but we have to understand that the matter of the Union is a responsibility of the Union Parliament, and that the matter of our membership of the European Union is a responsibility of the European Parliament. It is the hon. Lady’s misfortune to have been on the wrong side in two referendums, but there has been a deeply democratic process in both cases, as to whether Scotland stays in the Union and whether we stay in the EU.

I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Front Bench to remember that there is a fourth country in our Union: the country of England. We are very reasonable people, and we do not go on and on about English issues. However, when we get to this debate over how the different parts of the United Kingdom are consulted and respond to the issue of how we leave the EU, England too needs a voice within the Government and needs to be seen as an important part of the process.

The overwhelming vote for Brexit was an English vote because in numbers, England is a very large part of the Union. That is important, just as the Scottish and Northern Irish view is. I hope that the Government will look at this machinery of government issue and make sure that there is, within Government, a clear and definitive English voice. In due course, I think that we need to discuss whether this Parliament should have an English Grand Committee that can not only veto proposals that England does not like, but make proposals that England wants, because that would do something to correct the obvious imbalances that make this a particularly difficult matter to settle, when the largest part of the Union, with the overwhelming Brexit vote, is not formally represented in the discussions.

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It is a pleasure of sorts to follow the right hon. Member for Wokingham (John Redwood) and the hon. Member for Stone (Sir William Cash). On the issue of sovereignty and democracy, it is worth remembering something. The basis of the 2016 referendum was one person, one vote, one issue, and there was a clear majority then to leave. In 2019, we had another vote, a general election, and had that been counted on the same basis—one person, one vote—we would have had 14.5 million voting for the oven-ready Brexit on offer and 16.5 million voting for a people’s vote or remain. Obviously, that vote was on a different basis—on a constituency representation basis and on a number of issues—and the clear decision was for a Conservative Government with a majority of 80. That is clearly understood, but to try to conflate the two is wrong. In fact, there remains a compelling case that the oven-ready Brexit being railroaded through—in my view, a reckless Brexit that would undermine the sovereignty, power and financial and trading credibility of Britain—should go back to the public for a final vote.

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I gently remind the hon. Member that during the election senior Labour people argued passionately that it was fine for a leave voter to vote Labour and that they were not all in favour of what he has just said, so I do not think he can say that in all cases the Labour vote was definitely a vote for remain or a second referendum.

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To be clear, I said that the proposition was remain or public vote on the deal. The Labour party position essentially was that the oven-ready Brexit would be bad for Britain—it would make us more divided, weaker, poorer, more isolated and so on—and that we could put together a better Brexit that protected our jobs through trading alignment and our environment and workers’ rights through dynamic alignment of those conditions.

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Order. This is very interesting, but the hon. Gentleman is not speaking to the amendments or the clause. His speech is more a Third Reading speech, for which there will be plenty of opportunity tomorrow. If he has a speech to make on the amendments, we look forward to hearing it.

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I apologise for responding to the speech made on this subject by the right hon. Member for Wokingham, but I will not go on about that any more.

I want to focus on clause 38, on sovereignty, and new clause 28, on whether we should have a confirmatory referendum, which I was just talking about. I was making the argument, which I will stop making, Sir Gary, in support of the proposal in new clause 28, that there was a legitimate case for a confirmatory referendum on the grounds that most people voted for either remain or a second referendum and that the position of the Labour party was to have a second referendum.

In defining sovereignty, the hon. Member for Stone and others have said that having sovereignty means we can make all our own decisions here and that everything will be all right. I accept that that is an idea in the minds of many voters, and intuitively it sounds very sensible, but in practice is that really what would happen? I contend that this Brexit will reduce our sovereignty and that therefore clause 38 is misleading. At the moment, we have pooled sovereignty in the EU. We are one of 28 countries, but our vote is proportionate to our population. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that things are rammed through without our being consulted—that they just happen to us—but even in majority voting we have a veto, together with others, such as Germany, for example, which is the biggest player and is very worried that when we leave it will not be able to exercise, with us, certain restraints and constraints on the EU.

Ultimately, if we have a close trading relationship with the EU, to which after all 44% of our trade goes—from a Welsh point of view, more like 60%—we will need some level of equivalence, which will mean our having to accord with standards decided in a closed room without us being in that closed room. Surely, that is less sovereignty, not more. We will have to make the following decision: do we agree with something that has been decided without us rather than our being able to argue and block it, with Germany and others, or do we want to be out of the room deciding whether to accept the rules that are coming over—and if we do not accept them it might hinder our trade? That does not sound like sovereignty improvement to me.

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Will my hon. Friend tell me what definition of sovereignty he is using? It is completely confusing me. I have just checked, and the normal definition is

“the authority of a state to govern itself”,

but my hon. Friend is talking about majority voting when we might be in a minority. What is his definition of sovereignty?

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What we are talking about is the freedom of this Parliament to influence the outcomes for our electorate. [Interruption.] What I am saying, as my hon. Friend chunters in his seat, is that we will move from a position in which we can influence rules that will be applied in Britain to one in which we cannot influence those rules, and they will still be applied. We are not suddenly leaving and going to the moon.

I know that there is a move on the other side for us to become semi-detached, or worse, from the EU, and to thrust ourselves into the fond arms of the WTO. However, as I said to the Minister earlier, and I have had some experience of this as a trade rapporteur for the Council of Europe at the WTO, we will end up negotiating with 164 countries with just one vote, not proportionate to our population—and some of those countries will be dictatorships—as opposed to being in a club of 28 mature economies with a strong bargaining position within the WTO. As I said earlier, the WTO is being undermined by the United States, which wants its own massive power to decide everything, rather than rules. Moreover, it has existing rules that are contrary to what we are allowed to do within the EU.

We may talk of sovereignty, but if at some point in the future the Government of Britain wanted to return the railways, for instance, to public ownership—I appreciate that the Minister may not want to do this—the WTO would be able to stop us. It also has rules about patents which will increase the price of drugs. I do not think that “people in the street” voted for that.

Furthermore, the WTO will impose—as will bilateral trading relationships with the United States—new systems of arbitration courts and panels with independent judges who, unlike the European Court of Justice, are not democratically elected, and who will make decisions on whether big companies can either sue us or threaten to sue us for not pursuing various activities, or will block our legislation.

In case there is any ambiguity, let me give an example. Lone Pine, the big fracking company, sued the Canadian Government because Quebec had a moratorium on fracking, saying that it would affect climate change, or was not in the interests of the environment, or whatever it was. We have started fracking in this country, but let us suppose that the Welsh Government said that they did not want fracking in Wales. If there were to be an investor-state dispute settlement tribunal, the frackers could come along and say “Look here, we cannot have this, we are fracking”, and sue the British Government. Is that sovereignty and control in any normal circumstances? Of course it is not. Courts will be available that will fine, or threaten to fine, the British Government for passing legislation to protect the environment and the public health of our citizens, and their intimidation will deter future Governments from doing that.

We have introduced a sugar tax, but when that happened in Mexico there was an attack on it through an investor-state dispute settlement. If we introduce a plastics tax, we will be attacked for that.

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rose

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This is not sovereignty; it is madness and self-harm, on which point I will give way to the right hon. Gentleman.

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I really do not understand what the hon. Gentleman and his Front Bench are up to. It is as if they are trying to rewrite the whole concept of the world order in trade. The EU has to abide by WTO rules just as we will when we leave—and we already do. There is no issue here that is going to change. WTO rules apply to the EU as stringently as they apply to us, and when we leave and become a voting member, they will still apply to us. The difference is that if there is a debate for change, we will have a vote which we do not have now because we are subsidiary, underneath the EU. The hon. Gentleman’s argument is specious, and it is total nonsense.

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Well, that was very helpful.

Some hon. Members have failed to understand this. I remember the big debate over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, for example, and over these investor-state dispute settlement clauses being used by the Americans on fracking and other issues. Once we are in a situation where, instead of being in the powerful trading bloc of the EU, negotiating head to head with China or the United States from a position of strength to sustain our environmental and workers’ rights and our standards, we will suddenly instead be broken free, semi-detached, and turning our back on our biggest local market—[Interruption.] It is all very well for the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith) to chunter, but that is what will happen. It is already being discussed in the trading arrangements with the United States. The United States is saying, “Right, you’re on your own now and we are going to have this relationship and we will enforce it through the international tribunal.” That is what is going to happen.

Let us take as an example the simple European REACH protection—the regulations concerning the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. If the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green was making chemicals in Europe, he would have to prove they were safe before marketing them. In the United States, he would just be able to market them and an environmental protection organisation would have to prove them harmful. That is why they sell asbestos in America, and that is why there will be pressure for us to have asbestos in our brake pads here. That is why there will be pressure for us to have hormone-impregnated meat from America imposed on our growing children, who could then have premature pubescence. I know that some people think that that is sovereignty, but I do not.

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Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a threat to the sugar tax is already within the trade papers that have come out, registering the discussions that have already been happening with the US? The sheer threat of a Government, whether a devolved Government or this one here, being dragged through an investor-state dispute settlement can create a fear of public health measures such as the one we have in Scotland on the minimum unit pricing on alcohol, which this Parliament have not got round to. They might find that they struggle to get round to it in the future because they would be challenged, which would threaten the public health of everyone in the United Kingdom.

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The hon. Lady makes an excellent point about the chilling effect of that overhanging threat.

Let us be clear on the specifics. Lots of people talk about the impact of this on our health service and about the Americans arriving and taking our data and privatising the health service. But apart from that, let us think about the public health impact of these changes in relation to sugar. The NHS spends £12 billion a year on diabetes—

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Order. I understand that the hon. Gentleman is trying to link this to the overall concept of sovereignty, but he is now talking about future trade deals rather than about clause 38 of the Bill and sovereignty. I would just encourage him to come back to the clause.

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I am grateful for your guidance.

I guess the point is that sovereignty is about our ability to make laws here without intimidation or interference, but that we could find ourselves outside the EU and no longer able, for example, to introduce a tax on sugar that would reduce the cost of obesity to the NHS. We could have a situation where we want to let people know that there are six teaspoonfuls of sugar in a Müller Light yoghurt and nine in a Coca-Cola, and we want to drive down sugar content in order to drive down diabetes and health costs. Instead, we could be fined because the projection of a manufacturer of a sugar-impregnated product was less than that. That is not sovereignty. If we cannot protect our environment, our public health and our trade because we will be under the cosh with these companies suing us through the arbitration panels, that is not sovereignty. This clause should therefore be struck out, because it is completely misleading.

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I actually agree with an awful lot of what the hon. Gentleman has said in terms of the construction of his argument, but his conclusions are hypothesised on a trade deal that is yet to be done. The important point about all this is that we have sovereignty over deciding what goes into the trade deal. If we do not want to put stuff into a trade deal, it does not matter what the investment courts say. They can only adjudicate on that which is in a trade deal, and what will go into a trade deal will be decided by this sovereign Parliament. That is where his conclusion is completely wrong. He was putting forward quite a strong argument to start with, and I do agree with it, but his conclusions are completely wrong given the sovereignty of this Parliament.

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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. If there has been any lack of clarity let me make it clear that I am saying that we are in the EU at the moment and obviously do lots of trade with the EU—44% of it—and we do quite a lot of trade through the EU indirectly with America and elsewhere, so we are in a reasonable position. If we come out of the EU and suddenly find that we need to make up for lost trade, we will be under a lot of pressure to do a deal quickly with the US. We will also be in a much weaker position, because we will be standing alone.

The US is a big player and knows it, so it will try to get what it wants, as has been pointed out on sugar, fracking and other examples. What is more, it has ISDS powers as part of its normal bilateral trading agreements, and that is already recorded in trading relations. The idea suggested by the hon. Member for Wyre Forest (Mark Garnier), which I respect, is that we could in theory say, “No, we don’t want this. We won’t go ahead with that.” but there would be a huge economic cost. There would also be enormous pressure, while doing all these other trade deals, to agree.

The assumption is that we could just carry on as before with all the other bilateral trading agreements with small countries such as Chile. If you were Chile, Sir Gary, you would think, “Hold on. Instead of negotiating with the big EU, I’m now negotiating with a relatively smaller UK, so I want a better deal.” Therefore, our sovereignty, in terms of our power to deliver what our electorate wants, is reduced. Our sovereignty has therefore been intrinsically undermined, rather than enhanced, which is contrary to what is being spun out here.

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The hon. Member speaks as if trade is all one way. One of Germany’s biggest trading partners is the United Kingdom. Does he think that it wants to go down the road he is describing? The Germans will want to ensure that they continue to have a good trading relationship with the United Kingdom no matter whether Britain is within or outside the EU.

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I call Geraint Davies to talk on sovereignty and clause 38.

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That is very helpful. Let us get this point clear. Something like 44% of our trade goes to the EU, so it is enormously important to us. However, less than 5% of the EU’s trade overall comes to the UK. There is a balance of power, and it is the case that two EU countries—the Netherlands and Germany—have a significant trade surplus with the UK, but the others do not. The EU will quite reasonably, as a bloc, want to protect its standards, its environment and its workers’ rights and not be undercut.

We have seen that already in terms of sovereignty, because we want a better environment, but the Government have already decided to withdraw from the carbon trading system, so we will have our own carbon tax. However, my understanding of the Government proposal for the carbon emissions tax is that we will charge £16 a tonne and the EU will tax £25 a tonne. In other words, we are already becoming a sort of pollution dumping ground. The more we diverge negatively away from the EU, the less we will be able to trade and the more we will be in the hands of the US, the Chinese or whoever. That is not sovereignty; that is just being in the hands of others.

I accept your guidance, Sir Gary, and I think I have made my point. We will be poorer, weaker and more divided. This is not about sovereignty. This is about the abdication of sovereignty, and I deeply regret it.

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It is an honour to take part in this debate with you in the Chair, Sir Gary.

I want to make a few brief comments on clause 38. I want to say a word or two about parliamentary sovereignty and why the clause is necessary. We have heard the phrase “parliamentary sovereignty” a lot recently. It is much used and much misused. Although it is certainly a subject for debate, it can essentially be understood to mean that this place is the supreme law-making body in the country. It makes the law and cannot bind its successors, so the law can be changed. The law is made after an election, at which we stand on the basis of a set of promises. We then enact those promises, and at the following election, the electorate judge how well we have performed and whether we have kept those promises, and then they make a judgement at the ballot box accordingly.

That principle has been affected significantly by European Union membership. I will address the effect of the ECJ. The Factortame case in 1989 meant that, for the first time, an Act of Parliament—the Merchant Shipping Act 1988 in that case—could be disapplied if it was incompatible with European Union law. The second major case is Van Gend en Loos, which established the principle of direct effect—as opposed to direct applicability—whereby the rights enshrined in European Union treaties could be enforced by European Union citizens without recourse to Parliament. That has a serious impact on sovereignty, because it means that rules are being made outwith the procedure of this House.

Labour Front Benchers are academically correct to say that parliamentary sovereignty has continued since 1972, because it has always been possible for this House to repeal the European Communities Act 1972, which is what we have now decided to do. In essence, Parliament decided to hand over, wholesale, spheres of competence, as the European Union calls them, meaning that the EU would make the rules in certain areas and Parliament would simply provide the rubber stamp through direct effect and regulations. Therefore, when an individual rule was made that we did not like, there was very little that Members could do about it. They could, of course, revoke their consent for the entire scheme and repeal the 1972 Act, which is what we have now done, but they could not revoke on an individual basis.

That consent came from this House. The reason clause 38 is so important is that a different period is about to commence. Since 1972, all the way up to 2019, Parliament has consented to the rule-making powers and machinery of the European Union through the European Communities Act. Once we are out of the implementation period, all the rules that affect the people we govern will be made in this House. We will make promises when we stand for election; we will implement them to the best of our abilities; and then we will stand on that record. Every point is subsidiary to that. Everything we have heard about future trade deals will follow on from the principle of sovereignty and the direct democratic accountability that happens in this House when we stand for election, when we speak and when we return. That will not be the case, however, during the implementation period.

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I ask the hon. Gentleman to imagine a scenario in which the United Kingdom has a trade deal with America and this Parliament decides that it is going to say no to genetically modified or hormone-treated beef. How free and how sovereign does he think this Parliament will be in such a scenario? It won’t be.

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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, because he illustrates precisely the point I am trying to make, which is about the nature of sovereignty. Sovereignty is held in this place, which makes the law and is the superior governing body. If there is a trade deal with the United States, the electorate will have a chance at the next election to have their say on whether they agree with it. If the hon. Gentleman’s or any other party wishes to change it, they can say so in their manifesto and stand for election accordingly. If elected, they will be able to enter negotiations to change it.

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The hon. Gentleman is being very generous in giving way; I am grateful to him. Of course, a trade agreement requires a dispute resolution mechanism, and we currently have the European Court of Justice. When and if there is a trade deal with America, the dispute resolution mechanism will give away sovereignty and we will be back to square one.

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No, that is a misunderstanding of the nature of a trade dispute body. Every treaty has to have some sort of dispute resolution—the hon. Gentleman is quite right about that. If there is a trade deal with the United States or any other body, there will of course be a trade dispute resolution, but it will adjudicate on the terms of the agreement approved in this House. The major difference with the ECJ is the one to which I have already referred: its judicial activism. It creates law that is over and above and has to be applied by this House, whereas when law is made by our domestic judges, this House can enact legislation to override it.

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Does the hon. Gentleman recognise that investor dispute-settlement resolution systems in existing treaties are very one-sided? They allow private business to sue the Government, but do not allow Governments to sue business for deaths from smoking, pollution or other damage that they have caused.

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We are certainly getting into the technical detail, which is exactly what we should do at this stage. The hon. Lady ignores the independent element that takes place in any such independent arbitration mechanisms in interrnational trade organisations.

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Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

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I will not—I have taken a number of interventions and have made my point. I will conclude simply with why clause 38 is necessary and why amendment 11 misses the point.

Parliament consented to the European Union’s lawmaking structures while we remained members of the European Union. That consent will be withdrawn when the 1972 Act is repealed and we are in the implementation period. We do not want to be forced into a dynamic alignment in which rules that we have no say over are passed. We need to make it clear that Parliament retains the right to disagree and diverge from those rules if it wishes. For those reasons, the clause is entirely accurate and needed, and the amendment simply misunderstands that.

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I have enjoyed sitting here for the past couple of hours watching the Maastricht rebels’ farewell reunion tour, although it appears that they are getting some young recruits. Fair play to them; they have been trying for 40 years and think that they will achieve what they have always wanted. I feel slightly sorry for them because I do not know what they will do after 31 January.

We heard all the greatest hits: “Supreme lawmaking body,” “Brussels bureaucrats,” “Common Market,” “No taxation without representation,” and of course the platinum hit, “Parliamentary sovereignty,” which has been enshrined in the Bill for absolutely no reason at all, as was said by the hon. Member for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire) and my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford).

As the hon. Member for Witney (Robert Courts) touched on, as far as the UK constitution is concerned, Parliament has shared and will continue to share its sovereignty. The devolution settlement effectively did that by recognising the desire of the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and other regional Assemblies. Power has been devolved from this place, and are we not all grateful for that? The notion of restoring parliamentary sovereignty is completely unnecessary and is a total showpiece in the Bill. Power has always been shared across the European Union and across the United Kingdom.

The right hon. Member for Wokingham (John Redwood) appears to be a reborn federalist. Perhaps that could be a new solo career now that the band is coming to the end of its tour. I will happily join him in further devolution and the assertion of federalism across the United Kingdom, if that is what he wants to do. He should be worried, however, because parliamentary sovereignty is not being restored by the clause or the Bill as a whole.

In fact, the Bill represents a power grab, first from the devolved Assemblies, by taking back the right to legislate without their consent. The Bill is an example of that. As we speak, the Scottish Parliament is withholding its consent for the Bill, but this House will ride roughshod over it tonight and tomorrow. This is also a power grab by the Executive, because sweeping Henry VIII powers are included in the Bill and in accompanying Brexit legislation that has already been passed.

The Brussels bureaucrats—that favourite hit of the Maastricht rebels—are being replaced by the new one-hit wonder of the Whitehall mandarins, except it will be one hit for the rest of time if this Parliament does not stand in the way of what the Executive are trying to do.

In fact, we are not restoring anything great here. I would be interested in an answer from the Minister at some point on whether the European Statutory Instruments Committee will be reconvened in this Parliament. It was one of the achievements of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to enshrine that Committee in statute for the lifetime of the previous Parliament, so let us see the Committee come back if scrutiny and sovereignty are so important to this Government.

This place will be diminished in its powers and sovereignty, and in due course, it will be reduced in its numbers because 59 Scottish MPs will not be sitting here anymore when Scotland’s power and sovereignty are restored to its Parliament, which will be very happy to share them with its continental neighbours as a member of the European Union.

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As the Minister cleverly spotted, amendment 11 is a probing amendment. We have explored the concept of sovereignty extensively, so I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clauses 38 to 40 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 4 agreed to.

Clause 41 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 5 agreed to.

Clause 42 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause 2

Protecting workers’ rights

‘(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to secure an agreement with the European Union that achieves the following outcomes—

(a) that the United Kingdom will not introduce any measure which would have the effect of reducing in any way the protection provided by any Retained EU Worker Rights after IP completion day;

(b) that the United Kingdom shall take all steps necessary to ensure that, from exit day, all Retained EU Worker Rights will continue to have at least the same level of protection in the United Kingdom as is applicable in other Member States;

(c) that where, after IP completion day, the European Union brings into force or effect any New EU Workers’ Rights, the result and legal consequences in the United Kingdom of those New EU Workers’ Rights shall be the same as if those New EU Workers’ Rights had been Workers’ Rights brought into force and effect by the European Union before IP completion day;

(d) that those parts of the Treaties which, before IP completion day, provide for any matter concerning the interpretation of Workers Rights in any part of the United Kingdom to be determined by the Court of Justice of the European Union shall continue to apply to the United Kingdom or such part of the United Kingdom to the same extent after IP completion day;

(e) that after IP completion day, the procedural rules, including limitation periods, rules of courts and tribunals and remedies, governing actions for safeguarding New EU Workers’ Rights and Retained EU Worker Rights in the United Kingdom shall continue to be no less favourable than the procedural rules governing similar actions under United Kingdom law;

(f) that nothing in this clause shall prevent the United Kingdom from introducing amendments to Workers’ Rights for the purpose of making such provisions more favourable to the protection of workers;

(g) that the terms at (a) to (f) shall have direct effect and shall be recognised and available in law and be capable of enforcement by individuals and their trade unions in courts and tribunal.

(2) Subsections (3) and (4) cease to apply if the Government has secured an agreement with the European Union that achieves the objective in subsection (1).

(3) A Minister of the Crown must make an oral statement to the House of Commons on the objective in subsection (1)—

(a) within three months of this Act coming into force;

(b) at least as frequently as every 28 days thereafter.

(4) Each statement made under subsection (3) must set out—

(a) the steps taken by the Government, and the progress made in negotiations with the European Union, for the purpose of achieving the objective in subsection (1); and

(b) whether in the Minister’s opinion an agreement with the European Union achieving the objective of subsection (1) is likely to be achieved by IP completion day and, if not, setting out the reasons for this.

(5) For the purpose of this section—

“New EU Worker Right” means any Workers’ Rights—

(a) which Member States are obliged to confer by an EU directive published in the Official Journal of the European Union on or after IP completion day; or

(b) that are conferred by an EU regulation or other instrument published in the Official Journal of the European Union on or after IP completion day; or

(c) that arise out of a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on or after IP completion day;

and shall include any improvement to a Workers’ Right which existed before IP completion day;

“Retained EU Worker Rights” means Workers’ Rights which—

(a) immediately before IP completion day, the United Kingdom was obliged to confer by virtue of the Treaties and the EU directives listed in Schedule 1, or which were, without further enactment, given legal effect in the United Kingdom; and

(b) on IP completion day, continued to have effect in any part of the United Kingdom;

“Workers’ Rights” means rights of individuals, classes of individuals and their trade unions, in all areas of labour protection including—

(a) fundamental rights at work, including all forms of discrimination;

(b) fair working conditions and employment standards;

(c) information and consultation rights;

(d) restructuring of undertakings and acquired rights; and

(e) health and safety at work.

“Exit day” shall have the same meaning as in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

“IP completion day” shall have the same meaning as in the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.”—(Nick Thomas-Symonds.)

This new clause would require the Government to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the EU protecting workers’ rights.

Brought up, and read the First time.

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

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With this it will be convenient to discuss:

New clause 3—Future relationship: Customs Union and Single Market—

“(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to secure an agreement with the European Union that achieves the following outcomes—

(a) a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union involving alignment with the Union customs code, a common external tariff and an agreement on commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals;

(b) close alignment with the single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution;

(c) dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across the EU as a minimum;

(d) UK participation in EU agencies and funding programmes; and

(e) Close cooperation on security including access to the European Arrest warrant and databases such as EUROPOL and SIS II.”

New clause 8—Maintaining the UK’s place in the Single Market and Customs Union

“(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to maintain the United Kingdom’s status within the Single Market and Customs Union of the European Union within the framework of the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union.

(2) A Minister shall lay before each House of Parliament a progress report on aims noted in subsection (1).”

This new clause ensures that the UK Government will negotiate for the maintenance of the United Kingdom’s membership of the single market and customs union.

New clause 10—Implementation period negotiating objectives: Erasmus+

“(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to secure an agreement within the framework of the future relationship of the UK and the EU before the end of the implementation period that enables the UK to participate in all elements of the Erasmus+ programme on existing terms after the implementation period ends (“the Erasmus+ negotiations”).

(2) A Minister shall lay before each House of Parliament a progress report on the Erasmus+ negotiations within six months of this Act being passed.”

This new clause would require the Government to seek to negotiate continuing full membership of the EU’s Erasmus+ education and youth programme.

New clause 16—Economic impact assessment

“(1) A Minister of the Crown must—

(a) lay before each House of Parliament and

(b) submit to the Presiding Officers of each devolved legislature

a comprehensive economic impact assessment of potential outcomes arising from the conclusion of negotiations on the future relationship with the EU.

(2) An assessment under subsection (1) must include—

(a) an analysis by NUTS1 and NUTS2 regions of the United Kingdom including (but not limited to)—

(i) impact on employment as both a nominal figure and percentage, and

(ii) impact on Gross Value Added;

(b) a sectoral analysis including but not limited to agriculture, health and social care, manufacturing, the aerospace industry, and financial services.”

This new clause would require the Government to produce an economic impact assessment on the future relationship negotiated with the European Union.

New clause 20—UK-EU trade agreement: mutual recognition and standards

“(1) The Government must, during and after the implementation period, seek as part of any future trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union mutual recognition, adequacy or deemed equivalence arrangements across all product regulations and standards covered by the agreement in the following areas—

(a) goods,

(b) services,

(c) data protection,

(d) environmental standards,

(e) labour standards,

(f) professional qualifications, and

(g) any other technical regulations or standards which it seeks to negotiate.

(2) Nothing in any trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union shall prevent Parliament from enacting laws and setting technical regulations and standards within the United Kingdom.

(3) “Technical regulations or standards” shall include any law, regulation or administrative action that affects the trade of goods, including agrifood and agricultural goods, including those covered by the World Trade Organisation’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organisation’s Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Agreement.”

This new clause would mandate the Government to seek mutual recognition, adequacy or deemed equivalence arrangements on standards to be included in the future trade relationship, while preserving the right of Parliament to set laws and standards in the UK.

New clause 27—Non-regression from EU standards

“(none) After section 14 (financial provision) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 insert—

‘14A  Interpretation: “regressive”

(1) In this section and sections 14B to 14D “regressive” means—

(a) reducing the level of protection provided by retained EU law in respect of a protected matter (specified in subsection (2)), or

(b) weakening governance processes associated with retained EU law in respect of a protected matter (specified in subsection (2)).

(2) The protected matters are—

(a) the environment;

(b) food safety and other standards;

(c) the substance of REACH regulations; and

(d) animal welfare.

14B Primary legislation

‘(1) A Minister of the Crown in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament must, before Second Reading of the Bill—

(a) make a statement to the effect that in the Minister’s view the provisions of the Bill are not intended to have, and are not reasonably likely to have, a regressive effect, or

(b) make a statement that although provisions of the Bill are intended to have, or are reasonably likely to have, a regressive effect, the Government nevertheless wishes the House to proceed with the Bill.

(2) If the Bill relates to environmental law—

(a) in preparing the statement the Minister must—

(i) consult the Office for Environmental Protection (“OEP”); and

(ii) publish their response, and

(b) if the OEP’s response asserts that provisions of the Bill are reasonably likely to have a regressive effect on environmental law, that response must also suggest how to avoid that effect.

(3) A Minister who makes a statement under subsection (1)(b) must also—

(a) publish the reasons for including in the Bill provisions that are intended, or reasonably likely, to have a regressive effect (“regressive provisions”);

(b) arrange for a motion to be moved in the House of Commons, before the Bill leaves that House, for a resolution that the House approves the inclusion of regressive provisions; and

(c) arrange for a motion to be moved in the House of Lords, before the Bill leaves that House, for a resolution that the House approves the inclusion of regressive provisions.

14C Subordinate legislation

‘(1) Regulations under this Act are unlawful if and to the extent that they are intended to have, or in practice are reasonably likely to have, a regressive effect.

(2) A statutory instrument under any other Act which is made for the purposes of or in connection with the withdrawal of the UK from the EU is unlawful if and to the extent that it is intended to have, or in practice is reasonably likely to have, a regressive effect.

14D Other action by public authorities

‘(1) Any action taken by or on behalf of a Minister of the Crown under this Act is unlawful if and to the extent that it is intended to have, or in practice is reasonably likely to have, a regressive effect.

(2) Any action taken by or on behalf of a Minister of the Crown for the purposes of or in connection with the withdrawal of the UK from the EU is unlawful if and to the extent that it is intended to have, or in practice is reasonably likely to have, a regressive effect.

(3) A public authority exercising a function in respect of a protected matter must not exercise the function in a way that is intended to have, or in practice is reasonably likely to have, a regressive effect.

14E Guidance

‘(none) The Secretary of State must publish guidance for government departments and other public authorities designed to ensure and facilitate the avoidance of action that would be unlawful by virtue of sections 14B to 14D.

14F Divergence tracking

‘(1) In this section “divergence report” means a report containing—

(a) a summary of new EU environmental laws;

(b) a summary of steps taken by the Government in relation to the issues addressed by those laws;

(c) a summary of steps taken by the Government as set out in previous divergence reports;

(d) an independent review identifying any divergence between UK law and EU law in respect of those issues and recommending action to remedy the divergence;

(e) a statement of action Ministers propose to take; and

(f) if Ministers do not propose to give effect to the recommendations of the independent review, the reasons for that.

(2) The Secretary of State must publish a divergence report—

(a) within the period of 6 months beginning with the date of commencement of this section; and

(b) during each subsequent period of 6 months.

(3) The Secretary of State must—

(a) prepare each divergence report in consultation with persons appearing to the Secretary of State to represent the interests of businesses, workers, public bodies and relevant non-governmental organisations;

(b) publish each divergence report;

(c) lay it before Parliament; and

(d) arrange for a motion to be moved in each House of Parliament, within the period of 28 sitting days beginning with the first sitting day after the date of publication of the report, for a resolution that the House approves the divergence report.

(4) If a Committee of the House of Lords, or a Joint Committee of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, publishes a report relating to matters to be considered in a divergence report, the divergence report must contain Ministers’ response to the Committee report.

(5) If a motion in either House for the approval of a divergence report is not passed unamended, a Minister of the Crown must as soon as reasonably practicable publish a report—

(a) setting out the steps that Ministers intend to take to rectify any divergence between UK law and EU law in respect of environmental matters, and

(b) including, in particular, legislative proposals designed to remedy the divergence, together with a timetable and strategy for enacting the legislation.

(6) In this section “independent review” means a review undertaken by a body established by regulations made by the Secretary of State for the purpose of reviewing new EU law and giving independent advice to Ministers about divergence.

(7) Regulations under subsection (6)—

(a) may include provision about the membership, funding and proceedings of the body;

(b) may confer appointment and other functions on the Secretary of State or another specified person;

(c) may include incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional provisions;

(d) must be made by statutory instrument; and

(e) may not be made unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(8) Provision about membership of the body under subsection (7)(a) must, in particular, aim to ensure the inclusion of individuals who are independent of the government and have relevant knowledge and experience including expertise in environmental law’””

This new clause aims to prevent of substantive regression from EU standards in legislation after leaving the EU.

New clause 29—Implementation period negotiating objectives: level playing-field

“(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to secure an agreement within the framework of the future relationship of the UK and EU to secure agreements that achieve the following outcomes—

(a) close alignment with the European Union single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution;

(b) dynamic alignment on rights and protections for workers, consumers and the environment so that UK standards at least keep pace with evolving standards across the EU as a minimum, and;

(c) participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including for the environment, education, science, and industrial regulation.

(2) A Minister of the Crown shall lay before each House of Parliament a progress report on each of the outcomes listed in subsection (1) (a) to (c) within 4 months of this Act being passed, and subsequently at intervals of no more than 2 months.”

This new clause would require the UK Government to seek close alignment with the EU single market on key level playing-field provisions such as workers’ rights and environmental and consumer standards and protections as part of its negotiations for the future relationship with the EU.

New clause 30—Maintaining the UK’s place in the Single Market and Customs Union

“(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to maintain the United Kingdom’s status within the Single Market and Customs Union of the European Union within the framework of the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union.

(2) A Minister of the Crown shall lay before each House of Parliament a progress report on the objective in subsection (1) within 4 months of this Act being passed, and subsequently at intervals of no more than 2 months.”

This new clause would require the UK Government to seek to keep the UK in the Single Market and the Customs Union as part of its negotiations for the future relationship with the EU.

New clause 31—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.

(3) A Minister of the Crown shall lay before each House of Parliament a progress report on the objective in subsection (1) within 4 months of this Act being passed, and subsequently at intervals of no more than 2 months.”

This new clause would require the UK Government to seek to maintain participation in the European medicines regulatory network as part of its negotiations for the future relationship with the EU.

New clause 32—Maintaining the UK’s membership of Euratom

“(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to maintain the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Atomic Energy Community within the framework of the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union.

(2) A Minister of the Crown shall lay before each House of Parliament a progress report on the objective in subsection (1) within 4 months of this Act being passed, and subsequently at intervals of no more than 2 months.”.

This new clause would require the UK Government to seek to maintain the UK’s membership of Euratom as part of its negotiations for the future relationship with the EU.

New clause 35—Implementation period negotiating objectives: security partnership

“(1) It shall be an objective of the Government to secure an agreement within the framework of the future relationship of the UK and EU to secure agreements that achieve the following outcomes—

(a) continued UK participation in the European Arrest Warrant,

(b) continued UK membership if Europol and Eurojust, and

(c) continued direct access for UK agencies to the following EU data-sharing tools—

(i) the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II),

(ii) the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS),

(iii) the Prüm Decisions,

(iv) Passenger Name Record (PNR), and

(v) the Europol Information System (EIS).

(2) A Minister of the Crown shall lay before each House of Parliament a progress report on each of the outcomes listed in subsection (1) (a) to (c) within 4 months of this Act being passed, and subsequently at intervals of no more than 2 months.”

This new clause would require the UK Government to seek a comprehensive security partnership as part of its negotiations for the future relationship with the EU.

New clause 38—Independent review of the impact of withdrawal

“(1) The Secretary of State must arrange for an independent review of the impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU in relation to each of the following periods—

(a) the initial one-year period, and

(b) each subsequent three-year period.

(2) A review must be completed as soon as practicable after the end of the period to which the review relates.

(3) The review must consider the impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU on—

(a) the economy of the United Kingdom,

(b) national security,

(c) climate change and the environment,

(d) human rights, and

(e) social and economic rights.

(4) As soon as practicable after a person has carried out a review in relation to a particular period, the person must—

(a) produce a report of the outcome of the review, and

(b) send a copy of the report to the Secretary of State.

(5) The Secretary of State must lay before each House of Parliament a copy of each report sent under subsection (4)(b).

(6) The Secretary of State may—

(a) make such payments as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate in connection with the carrying out of a review, and

(b) make such other arrangements as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate in connection with the carrying out of a review (including arrangements for the provision of staff, other resources and facilities).

(7) In this section—

“initial one-year period” means the period of one year beginning on the day following exit day as defined in section 20(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018;

“subsequent three-year period” means a period of three years beginning with the first day after the most recent of—

(a) the initial one-year period, or

(b) the most recent subsequent three-year period.”

This new clause would require the Government to publish regular independent reports on the impact of Brexit.

New clause 45—NHS protection and devolved legislatures

“(1) Any provision relating to the National Health Service within a trade deal shall not be made without consultation with, and only after publication of a legislative consent memorandum from, each of the relevant devolved legislatures.

(2) For purposes of this Part, ‘relevant devolved legislatures’ means—

(a) the Northern Ireland Assembly,

(b) Scottish Parliament, and

(c) the National Assembly for Wales.”

This new clause requires each devolved legislature to give legislative consent to any trade deal affecting the National Health Service.

New clause 46—Impact assessment

‘(none) The Government must publish undertake equality, environmental and economic impact assessments, by each region of the United Kingdom, on any proposed future relationship or Free Trade Agreement, before initiating legislation to implement any such proposed future relationship or Free Trade Agreement.”

This new clause requires the publication of regional equality, environmental and economic impact assessments of any proposed future relationship or Free Trade Agreement.

New clause 48—Maintaining the UK’s membership of Horizon 2020 and future Horizon programmes

‘(none) It shall be an objective of the Government to maintain the United Kingdom’s membership of Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes within the framework of the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union.”

This new clause would require the Government to seek to negotiate continuing full membership of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme and its successor programmes, such as Horizon Europe.

New clause 49—UK citizens resident in the EU: protection of rights

“(1) The Secretary of State must make arrangements to preserve, as far as is possible, the United Kingdom’s obligations under EU law to British citizens who are resident in any EEA country, or in Switzerland, on the day before IP completion day.

(2) The arrangements in subsection (1) must include—

(a) arrangements for people in receipt of a United Kingdom state retirement pension to continue receiving that pension under the same uprating and other arrangements as apply on the day on which this Act is passed, for the rest of their lifetimes as long as they remain resident in any other EEA country, or in Switzerland,

(b) arrangements for British citizens to continue receiving the same level of publicly-provided healthcare as they do currently as EU citizens.

(3) The duty in subsection (1) applies whether or not the United Kingdom reaches any relevant reciprocal arrangements with other EEA member states, or with Switzerland.”

This new clause requires the Government to take steps to preserve the rights of UK citizens living in the EU, including continuing to uprate UK state pensions for Britons living in the EU and paying for publicly-provided healthcare.

New clause 50—EU Charter of Fundamental Rights impact assessment

“A Minister of the Crown must, on or before 30 June 2020, publish a comprehensive impact assessment of the effect of removing the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights from domestic law.”

This new clause would provide that the UK Government commits to conducting and publishing an impact assessment of the effect of removal of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (by virtue of section 5(4) of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018).

New clause 51—Protection for workers’ rights

“(1) After section 18 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (customs arrangement as part of the framework for the future relationship) insert—

‘18A Protection for workers’ rights

(1) Part 1 of Schedule 5A (which requires statements of non-regression in relation to workers’ retained EU rights) has effect.

(2) Part 2 of Schedule 5A (which provides for reporting requirements and parliamentary oversight in relation to new EU workers’ rights) has effect.

(3) Part 3 of Schedule 5A (which contains interpretative provision) has effect.’

(2) After Schedule 5 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (publication and rules of evidence) insert the Schedule 5A set out in Schedule (Protection for workers’ rights) to this Act.”

This new clause reinstates what was Clause 34 and Schedule 4 of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill (Bill 7) in the October-December 2019 Session and provides additional procedural protections for workers rights that currently form part of EU law, but which would not be protected against modification, repeal or revocation in domestic law once the transition or implementation period has ended.

New clause 59—Representation in the European Parliament

“(1) It must be a negotiating objective of the United Kingdom Government to seek to secure ongoing and formal representation in the European Parliament, at not less than observer status, for the devolved nations and regions of the UK.

(2) Once secured, this representation shall be determined and co-ordinated by each devolved administration.”

New schedule 1—Protection for workers’ rights Protection for workers’ rights—

“Protection for workers’ rights

The Schedule 5A to be inserted after Schedule 5 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 is as follows:

‘Schedule 5A

Protection for workers’ rights

Part 1

Workers’ retained EU rights

Acts of Parliament: statements of non-regression

1 (1) A Minister of the Crown in charge of a relevant Bill in either House of Parliament must, before Second Reading of the Bill—

(a) make a statement to the effect that in the Minister’s view the provisions of the Bill will not result in the law of the relevant part or parts of the United Kingdom failing to confer any workers’ retained EU right (a “statement of non-regression”), or

(b) make a statement to the effect that although the Minister is unable to make a statement of non-regression Her Majesty’s Government nevertheless wishes the House to proceed with the Bill.

(2) The statement must be in writing and be published in such manner as the Minister making it considers appropriate.

(3) Before making a statement under sub-paragraph (1)(a) or (b) in relation to a Bill, a Minister of the Crown must consult—

(a) persons representative of workers,

(b) persons representative of employers, and

(c) any other persons whom the Minister considers it appropriate to consult.

(4) But that duty does not apply to a statement made in relation to a Bill if—

(a) it is not practicable for the consultation to take place in relation to the statement by reason of urgency, or

(b) the statement is being made before Second Reading of the Bill in the second House of Parliament and the Bill was not amended in the first House of Parliament.

(5) In this paragraph—

“first House of Parliament”, in relation to a Bill, means the House of Parliament in which the Bill is first introduced;

“relevant Bill” means a Bill which contains provision that—

(a) extends to England and Wales or Scotland (or both), and

(b) relates to any of the workers’ retained EU rights;

“relevant part of the United Kingdom”, in relation to a Bill, means—

(a) England and Wales, if the Bill extends there;

(b) Scotland, if the Bill extends there;

“second House of Parliament”, in relation to a Bill, means the House of Parliament to which the Bill moves after completing its passage through the first House of Parliament.

Part 2

New EU workers’ rights

Reports on new EU workers’ rights

2 (1) As soon as practicable after the end of each reporting period, the Secretary of State must—

(a) produce a report under sub-paragraph (2) or (3) relating to that period (“the relevant reporting period”),

(b) publish the report in such manner as the Secretary of State considers appropriate, and

(c) lay copies of the report before Parliament.

(2) A report under this sub-paragraph is one that contains a statement that no new EU workers’ rights have been published by the EU during the relevant reporting period.

(3) A report under this sub-paragraph is one that contains—

(a) a statement that one or more new EU workers’ rights have been published by the EU during the relevant reporting period, and

(b) as respects each new EU workers’ right published during that period, either—

(i) a statement to the effect that in the Secretary of State’s view the law of England and Wales and Scotland confers a workers’ right of the same kind as the new EU workers’ right (a “statement of non-divergence”), or

(ii) a statement to the effect that the Secretary of State is unable to make a statement of non-divergence.

(4) If a report under sub-paragraph (3) contains a statement under sub-paragraph (3)(b)(ii) as respects a new EU workers’ right, the report must also contain—

(a) a statement of whether or not Her Majesty’s Government intends to take any action in respect of the new EU workers’ right, and

(b) if it does, a statement describing the action which it is intending to take.

(5) In relation to each report under sub-paragraph (3), a Minister of the Crown must make arrangements for—

(a) a motion, to the effect that the House of Commons has approved the report, to be moved in that House by a Minister of the Crown within the period of 28 Commons sitting days beginning with the day on which a copy of the report is laid before that House, and

(b) a motion for the House of Lords to approve the report to be moved in that House by a Minister of the Crown within the period of 28 Lords sitting days beginning with the day on which a copy of the report is laid before that House.

(6) When producing a report under sub-paragraph (3), the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) persons representative of workers,

(b) persons representative of employers, and

(c) any other persons whom the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to consult.

(7) In this paragraph “reporting period” means—

(a) the period that—

(i) begins with IP completion day, and

(ii) ends with the day which falls six months after the day on which IP completion day falls;

(b) subsequently, each period that—

(i) begins with the day (the “start day”) that comes immediately after the end of the preceding reporting period, and

(ii) ends with the end day.

(8) The “end day” for that purpose is decided as follows—

(a) if any new EU workers’ rights are published by the EU during the period of six months beginning with the start day, the end day is the day which falls six months after—

(i) the day on which those rights are published by the EU, or

(ii) if they are published by the EU on different days, the earliest of those days;

(b) if no new EU workers’ rights are published by the EU during the period of six months beginning with the start day, the end day is the day which falls twelve months after the start day.

(9) A reference in this paragraph to a new EU workers’ right being published by the EU is a reference to the EU directive or EU regulation which provides for its conferral being published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Part 3

Interpretation

Interpretation

3 (1) In this Schedule—

“new EU workers’ rights” means any workers’ rights—

(a) which member States are obliged to confer by an EU directive published in the Official Journal of the European Union on or after IP completion day, or

(b) that are conferred by an EU regulation published in the Official Journal of the European Union on or after IP completion day;

“workers’ retained EU rights” means workers’ rights of the kinds which—

(a) immediately before IP completion day, the United Kingdom was obliged to confer by virtue of the EU directives listed in the table in paragraph 4, and

(b) on IP completion day, continued to have effect (by virtue of this Act and as modified by any provision made by or under this Act or otherwise) in the law of England and Wales or Scotland;

“workers’ rights” means rights of individuals, and classes of individuals, in the area of labour protection as regards—

(a) fundamental rights at work,

(b) fair working conditions and employment standards,

(c) information and consultation rights at company level,

(d) restructuring of undertakings, and

(e) health and safety at work.

(2) The reference in the definition of “workers’ retained EU rights” to rights which continued to have effect by virtue of this Act includes a reference to rights which form part of retained EU law by virtue of section 2 but which would have continued to have effect irrespective of that section.

(3) References in this Schedule to rights being of the same kind as new EU workers’ rights are to be read as references to rights being of the same kind so far as that is consistent with the United Kingdom’s domestic legal order following its withdrawal from the EU.

(4) For the purposes of this Schedule a right under the law of England and Wales or Scotland is conferred whether or not it is in force.

4 (1) The table referred to in the definition of “workers’ retained EU rights” is as follows:

Workers’ retained EU rights: the EU directives

Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work.

Council Directive 89/654/EEC of 30 November 1989 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace (first individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 89/656/EEC of 30 November 1989 on the minimum health and safety requirements for the use by workers of personal protective equipment at the workplace (third individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 90/269/EEC of 29 May 1990 on the minimum health and safety requirements for the manual handling of loads where there is a risk particularly of back injury to workers (fourth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 90/270/EEC of 29 May 1990 on the minimum safety and health requirements for work with display screen equipment (fifth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Commission Directive 91/322/EEC of 29 May 1991 on establishing indicative limit values by implementing Council Directive 80/1107/EEC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to chemical, physical and biological agents at work.

Council Directive 91/533/EEC of 14 October 1991 on an employer’s obligation to inform employees of the conditions applicable to the contract or employment relationship.

Council Directive 92/57/EEC of 24 June 1992 on the implementation of minimum safety and health requirements at temporary or mobile construction sites (eighth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 92/58/EEC of 24 June 1992 on the minimum requirements for the provision of safety and/or health signs at work (ninth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (tenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 92/91/EEC of 3 November 1992 concerning the minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers in the mineral-extracting industries through drilling (eleventh individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 92/104/EEC of 3 December 1992 on the minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers in surface and underground mineral extracting industries (twelfth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 93/103/EC of 23 November 1993 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for work on board fishing vessels (thirteenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 94/33/EC of 22 June 1994 on the protection of young people at work.

Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services.

Council Directive 97/81/EC of 15 December 1997 concerning the Framework Agreement on part-time work concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC - Annex: Framework agreement on part-time work.

Council Directive 98/23/EC of 7 April 1998 on the extension of Directive 97/81/EC on the framework agreement on part-time work concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Council Directive 98/24/EC of 7 April 1998 on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work (fourteenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies.

Council Directive 1999/63/EC of 21 June 1999 concerning the Agreement on the organisation of working time of seafarers concluded by the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) and the Federation of Transport Workers’ Unions in the European Union (FST) - Annex: European Agreement on the organisation of working time of seafarers.

Council Directive 1999/70/EC of 28 June 1999 concerning the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP.

Directive 1999/92/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1999 on the minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres (15th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Directive 1999/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 concerning the enforcement of provisions in respect of seafarers’ hours of work on board ships calling at Community ports.

Commission Directive 2000/39/EC of 8 June 2000 establishing a first list of indicative occupational exposure limit values in implementation of Council Directive 98/24/EC on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work.

Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.

Directive 2000/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000 on the protection of workers from risks related to biological agents at work (seventh individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.

Council Directive 2000/79/EC of 27 November 2000 concerning the European Agreement on the Organisation of Working Time of Mobile Workers in Civil Aviation concluded by the Association of European Airlines (AEA), the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the European Cockpit Association (ECA), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Carrier Association (IACA).

Council Directive 2001/23/EC of 12 March 2001 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the safeguarding of employees’ rights in the event of transfers of undertakings, businesses or parts of undertakings or businesses.

Council Directive 2001/86/EC of 8 October 2001 supplementing the Statute for a European company with regard to the involvement of employees.

Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community - Joint declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on employee representation.

Directive 2002/15/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 on the organisation of the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities.

Directive 2002/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (vibration) (sixteenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Directive 2003/10/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 February 2003 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (noise) (Seventeenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Council Directive 2003/72/EC of 22 July 2003 supplementing the Statute for a European Cooperative Society with regard to the involvement of employees.

Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time.

Directive 2004/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work (Sixth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Council Directive 89/391/EEC) (codified version).

Council Directive 2005/47/EC of 18 July 2005 on the Agreement between the Community of European Railways (CER) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) on certain aspects of the working conditions of mobile workers engaged in interoperable cross-border services in the railway sector.

Commission Directive 2006/15/EC of 7 February 2006 establishing a second list of indicative occupational exposure limit values in implementation of Council Directive 98/24/EC and amending Directives 91/322/EEC and 2000/39/EC.

Directive 2006/25/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to risks arising from physical agents (artificial optical radiation) (19th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast).

Directive 2008/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on temporary agency work.

Council Directive 2009/13/EC of 16 February 2009 implementing the Agreement concluded by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) on the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, and amending Directive 1999/63/EC.

Directive 2009/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees (Recast).

Directive 2009/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work (second individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Directive 2009/148/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work.

Commission Directive 2009/161/EU of 17 December 2009 establishing a third list of indicative occupational exposure limit values in implementation of Council Directive 98/24/EC and amending Commission Directive 2000/39/EC.

Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010 implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC and repealing Directive 96/34/EC.

Council Directive 2010/32/EU of 10 May 2010 implementing the Framework Agreement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector concluded by HOSPEEM and EPSU.

Directive 2013/35/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) (20th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) and repealing Directive 2004/40/EC.

Directive 2013/38/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 August 2013 amending Directive 2009/16/EC on port State control.

Directive 2013/54/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 concerning certain flag State responsibilities for compliance with and enforcement of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.

Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom of 5 December 2013 laying down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation, and repealing Directives 89/618/Euratom, 90/641/Euratom, 96/29/Euratom, 97/43/Euratom and 2003/122/Euratom.

Directive 2014/67/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System (‘the IMI Regulation’).

Council Directive 2014/112/EU of 19 December 2014 implementing the European Agreement concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport, concluded by the European Barge Union (EBU), the European Skippers Organisation (ESO) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF).

Directive (EU) 2015/1794 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 October 2015 amending Directives 2008/94/EC, 2009/38/EC and 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, and Council Directives 98/59/EC and 2001/23/EC, as regards seafarers.

Council Directive (EU) 2017/159 of 19 December 2016 implementing the Agreement concerning the implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 of the International Labour Organisation, concluded on 21 May 2012 between the General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union (Cogeca), the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the Association of National Organisations of Fishing Enterprises in the European Union (Europêche).

Commission Directive 2017/164/EU of 31 January 2017 establishing a fourth list of indicative occupational exposure limit values pursuant to Council Directive 98/24/EC, and amending Commission Directives 91/322/EEC, 2000/39/EC and 2009/161/EU.

Directive (EU) 2017/1132 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 relating to certain aspects of company law.

(2) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, make such modifications of the list of EU directives in that table as the Secretary of State considers appropriate in consequence of any changes before IP completion day in EU directives relating to workers’ rights.

(3) No regulations may be made under sub-paragraph (2) after the end of the period of one year beginning with IP completion day.”

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