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Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and International Committee of the Red Cross (Status) Bill

Volume 748: debated on Friday 26 April 2024

Bill, as amended in the Public Bill Committee, considered.

Third Reading

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

This is an important moment for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Bill enables the Government to recognise both organisations individually as international organisations, conferring on them the legal capacities of a body corporate as well as specific privileges and immunities. While the Bill may be only halfway through its scrutiny process, as it will move on to the other place, today feels like a significant milestone. I underline that, at all stages, the Bill has received not only cross-party support, for which I am enormously grateful, but support from my hon. and right hon. Friends on the Treasury Bench. I thank each and every Member for their contributions to the Bill throughout its consideration.

I want to mention individually those who have been particularly supportive of the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater and West Somerset (Mr Liddell-Grainger) must come at the start of that list, because he chairs the international executive committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. My immense appreciation goes to the secretary-general of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Stephen Twigg, whose passion and support for the Bill and for getting the change in status for the CPA has been clear throughout. My thanks go to all the hard-working and inspirational staff of CPA UK—including our new chief executive, Sarah Dickson, Helen Haywood, the deputy chief executive, and their teams—for their unwavering passion and commitment to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and continued support. Without them, this achievement would not have been possible. And I cannot forget Mr Jon Davies, Sarah’s predecessor, who I thank from the bottom of my heart for all his contributions while in office.

I thank the formidable team at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and my noble Friend Lord Ahmad, the Minister responsible for the Commonwealth, and the Deputy Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), who is not on the Front Bench today—he is detained elsewhere—but has been ably replaced by the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Charnwood (Edward Argar). Throughout, those Ministers have understood why the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association status needs to change, why this is an important Bill and why the work of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is essential in supporting the strengthening of democracy around the world. I thank them all and their teams of officials.

At this stage of proceedings, it is also important to acknowledge the extraordinary work of the Clerks of the House, and to thank them. Their guidance and recognition of the Bill’s importance, combined with the support from the Government, have helped get the Bill to where it is today. In particular, I say a huge thank you to Ms Anne-Marie Griffiths, the Clerk who has been advising us, for her assistance in getting the Bill to this stage. I hope you will forgive me, Mr Speaker, for thanking you, too. You have a very special place in the heart of the CPA, as does the Lord Speaker. You are our joint presidents, and in your work, you support us enormously.

Two organisations are supported by this Bill. I thank the International Committee of the Red Cross for its incredibly important work and for supporting me in the preparation of the Bill. I know how much time and consideration its London delegation has put in, and Eve La Haye in the ICRC legal team in Geneva has also been heavily involved. I thank all of them.

The unique international humanitarian mandate and mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross has been formally recognised by states in the Geneva convention and additional protocols. The Bill will accord it a status or treatment in the UK equivalent to that of an international organisation, with the relevant privileges and immunities. To date, more than 110 states have accorded the ICRC those relevant privileges and immunities, including all other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The content of the Bill, and the conferral of relevant privileges and immunity to the ICRC in the UK, is critical to enabling it to continue to operate in the UK in accordance with its international mandate, maintaining its strict adherence to the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence and its working method of confidentiality.

For more than two years, there has been intense work to get to this stage—it has been described as a labour of love. None of it could have been accomplished without the esteemed individuals and organisations that I mentioned. The perseverance from everyone is starting to be rewarded now, but there is much more to do. I welcome the fact that the Bill and the amendments debated and agreed to in Committee have received cross-party support, again demonstrating the high regard and esteem in which both the CPA and ICRC are held not only in this place but throughout the country and internationally.

Members of a number of overseas Parliaments in particular have reiterated how important the Bill is. We have listened and learned and gone forward with this historic legislation, which is now well on its way to putting in place such a fundamental change.

The Bill is integral to the CPA and the ICRC, as it provides the necessary powers for both organisations to be treated in a manner comparable with an international organisation, of which the United Kingdom, or His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, are a member. Each organisation has its own role and constitutional arrangements. That had to be—and is— reflected in the Bill. Under certain clauses, secondary legislation can put in place the privileges and immunities that each organisation will need.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association element of the Bill will be widely and warmly welcomed by our fellow parliamentarians throughout the Commonwealth. I recall that on my recent visit to Kenya, the Speaker of that Parliament reminded me how vital it is to the African region of the CPA to achieve this new status for the organisation. Parliamentarians from Africa have long championed the need for this legislation and made the point that they want to continue to be part of the CPA because of the important work that it does, but they increasingly struggle to justify spending their taxpayers’ money with the CPA configured as a UK charity: a status that I believe we have long outgrown. Concerns about the CPA’s status date back more than three decades. If that can now be resolved, I believe that will serve to strengthen and renew the CPA’s mission, unity and sense of purpose.

I attended the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Ghana last October, where I saw once again the strength of feeling across the CPA membership about the status of our organisation. Mr Speaker, last month you hosted Speakers and Presiding Officers from the Commonwealth in London for Commonwealth day, where you ensured that they were briefed about the progress that we are making on the Bill. The response was extremely warm and positive: a collective sigh of relief that this issue might be reaching a solution.

I am mindful, however, that the Bill will need to pass through the other place to become an Act, so may I say once again that, without this legislation, there is a strong possibility that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association would relocate its headquarters outside the UK? By enacting the Bill, the UK can not only keep the CPA here but demonstrate our commitment to the Commonwealth itself in this, its 75th year.

I am delighted that key amendments were passed in Committee, the first of which recognises the unique and sensitive role of the ICRC, including visiting prisoners all around the world to help ensure their safety. It allows for protected ICRC information to be exempt from disclosure requirements imposed by an order of court or tribunal proceedings, other than criminal proceedings. The amendment is designed to protect information that the ICRC provides in confidence to His Majesty’s Government from being used in UK civil proceedings. That is necessary, as the withholding of confidential information from public disclosure cannot otherwise be assured. That reflects the ICRC’s standard working method of confidentiality, which is designed to protect not only its staff but its operations in active conflict zones. That principle also underpins the ICRC’s ability to operate in dangerous locations on sensitive issues, engaging with both state and non-state actors. Disclosure of confidential ICRC information could damage its ability to perform its sensitive functions when negotiating with conflict parties, and it could put its staff and operations at risk. There is a real risk and concern about ICRC information being used in legal proceedings—over the past 15 years, the ICRC’s confidentiality has been challenged some 20 times in the UK.

I tabled in Committee a probing amendment on the involvement of individuals in drawing up secondary legislation. I did not press it to a vote, and I thank the Minister in Committee, the hon. Member for Aldershot (Leo Docherty), for his extremely reassuring response to the debate on it. The amendment sought to lay down a formal requirement on the Foreign Secretary to consult the chair of the UK branch and secretary-general of the CPA, and the president and director general of the ICRC, respectively, before finalising secondary legislation.

The Minister was able to confirm that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will consult all those parties ahead of secondary legislation being laid before the House, and will work closely with them to agree arrangements for the appropriate privileges and immunities for each organisation separately. That ensures that the Bill works exactly in the way that the relevant organisations need it to, and that the right individuals are consulted before secondary legislation is laid before the House and implemented.

The Bill demonstrates that the House of Commons values the Commonwealth, values the work of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, respects the importance of the ICRC and recognises that these organisations need to be recognised as international organisations. I thank colleagues for their support, and I wish my Bill well as it continues its journey to the other place, taken forward ably by my noble Friend Baroness D’Souza.

I thank Dame Maria Miller for everything she has done to ensure a solid future for the CPA. It is much welcomed and appreciated by all sides of this House.

I do not intend to detain the House for long, but I will start by paying warm tribute to the right hon. Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller). Since becoming chair of the CPA UK branch, she has spearheaded and forced this issue with Ministers in the strongest possible terms, including two or three—I cannot quite remember—Foreign Secretaries. She has been at the forefront of this work. One key reason why that work has been so important—the right hon. Lady has spoken at length on that, as you just did, Mr. Speaker—is that it sends a message to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association that the UK Government and this Parliament are listening to what member states are telling us.

I am privileged to serve as one of three representatives from the CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Region on the International Committee of the CPA. There have been some very difficult conversations over the past two years I have served on that body, including in—this is not some travel guide, Mr Speaker, but it does come up frequently when you are travelling with the CPA—Gibraltar, Canada and, at our most recent CPA conference last year, Ghana, where I and the force that is the hon. Member for Bridgwater and West Somerset (Mr Liddell-Grainger) were, quite rightly, cross-examined by nearly all member states of the CPA International about when the Bill will move forward. I am delighted and slightly relieved that the various commitments that the hon. Gentleman, the right hon. Member for Basingstoke and I have been giving to that body for the past two years are now at least at the halfway mark.

Two-and-a-half years ago, we felt like we were nowhere, so in that context, the speed of the last few months has been wonderfully refreshing. I pay tribute to the previous Foreign Secretary, the right hon. Member for Braintree (James Cleverly), and the current Foreign Secretary and the Minister in the Lords for their genuine engagement with the process. One key element has been the ability of my own Front Bench and the Government to work cross-party on setting the standard, supporting the Commonwealth family and listening to the Commonwealth family of nations.

The Bill is about setting the CPA and the International Committee of the Red Cross on an equal footing with many other international organisations. We are, in essence, simply catching up, but nevertheless it is crucial to how we as a Parliament, UK Government and official Opposition work with Commonwealth nations. When doing those cross-examinations—I will put it like that —from member states, the key theme throughout has been that they would like the CPA International to remain in the UK. There has been no animosity about its remaining in London, but what they wanted was the status issue resolved. I recall an excellent conversation here with an Australian delegation, who talked about how they could help and work with the Government to try to ensure it was made very clear that member states across the world wanted the CPA International to remain in the UK.

This is a warmly welcomed Bill. It sends the right message, which is genuinely very important. When we head to Sydney later this year for the CPA International, we will now be able to say—all being well in the other place, of course, and I look forward to the Minister’s remarks—that we have delivered. I do think that is genuinely important. Finally, I pay tribute to you, Mr Speaker, because, as the right hon. Lady said, I feel that you have personally moved mountains on a lot of this work. It has been truly welcomed and valued by all of us in the CPA UK and by the CPA staff, both internationally and in the UK. I always warmly welcome your support.

I thank the hon. Member for Ogmore (Chris Elmore) for his speech, and I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the work you have done. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller) on bringing forward this important Bill. I welcome the support it has received from both sides of the House and I am pleased to offer my own support.

The Bill is quite technical in nature. It makes provision for two specific organisations to be granted international status, which, owing to their unique constitutions, could not be included under existing legislation. However, the wording of the legislation should not distract us from the organisations cited in it. Moreover, we should not overlook the primary purposes of these organisations, which are to strengthen parliamentary democracy and provide humanitarian assistance. In a world where we frequently witness the devastation caused by violence and war, and the growing threats to democracy, the importance of those causes and the organisations that pursue them cannot be understated. I therefore welcome the Bill, which grants international organisation status to both the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The new status will ensure that those organisations can continue to perform their vital work fully and without restriction.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association seeks to promote the values of parliamentary democracy and good governance. It facilitates dialogues between Parliaments and draws on our collective knowledge to improve our procedures and address the wide-ranging challenges that we, as parliamentarians, may face. Its efforts have included the development of recommended benchmarks for legislatures and for a code of conduct for Members. Its efforts have included the development of recommended benchmarks for legislatures and for a code of conduct for Members. It has also provided guidance on specific and pertinent issues such as improving mental health provisions, the challenges of climate change and the growth of AI.

I welcome the Government’s unwavering support for the Commonwealth and its ideals. Article 1 of the Commonwealth charter outlines our responsibility

“for upholding and promoting democratic culture and practices”.

I would therefore ask what support the Government and Parliament have provided to the CPA to strengthen democracy across the Commonwealth.

The fundamental mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross is to protect victims of conflict and violence through the provision of humanitarian assistance. Its work, often in the most difficult and perilous environments, encompasses everything from mine clearance and providing healthcare and sanitation to combating sexual violence, improving respect for international humanitarian law and establishing economic stability. I am very proud of the United Kingdom’s record in providing humanitarian aid across the world—to Afghanistan, to South Sudan, to Ukraine and right now to Gaza. However, what support have the Government provided to the ICRC and what can we, as Members of Parliament, do to support the Red Cross?

Ultimately, if we are to grant international status to these two organisations, let us also ensure that we fully support them in their operations and in their aims, strengthening democracy and humanitarian aid.

I commend my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller) for making progress with this important Bill, which will recognise both the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross as international organisations. These are important changes given that neither is recognised as such under UK law. Current laws cannot apply as neither is an intergovernmental organisation, so a new enabling power is necessary.

The CPA does vital work in promoting parliamentary democracy throughout the Commonwealth, but its current set up as a UK charity is a cause for concern among some members and is somewhat restrictive. The Bill seeks to address that. The Commonwealth is a unique club of nations united by our shared historical and economic ties, alongside a shared belief in the value of democracy and the rule of law. In an increasingly hostile world where the rule of ruthless autocrats is on the rise and democratic rights are under threat, advancing those basic values and supporting the flourishing of parliamentary democracy throughout the Commonwealth remains as important now as it was when the CPA was first founded in 1911. That is why the Bill is so important to ensure the CPA remains relevant and best placed to promote parliamentary democracy throughout the Commonwealth. That will allow the CPA to participate more fully internationally than it does today, removing some of the restrictions on it.

More than 60 countries and jurisdictions participate in the CPA, as well as more than 180 legislators. It helps to increase the participation of under-represented groups in Commonwealth Parliaments, including women, disabled people and young people. The organisation also does vital work to help develop shared learning throughout Parliamentary democracies across the Commonwealth, facilitating knowledge-sharing and helping to strengthen our democratic systems.

The second organisation that the Bill focuses on, the International Committee of the Red Cross, does hugely important humanitarian work to protect victims of conflict and violence around the world. This week, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s commitment to increase spending on defence to 2.5%, which is incredibly welcome, particularly as it will be funded through much-needed efficiency savings in Whitehall rather than tax rises. It reflects the increasing threats we face from our adversaries globally in an increasingly insecure world.

The work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is more important than ever. Conflicts have ignited around the world, whether following Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, or the horrific turmoil in the middle east, in Gaza and Israel. In addition to Ukraine, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the ICRC has key operations in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the Sahel, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In all such conflicts, innocent civilians are caught up in the violence and harmed by the results of war, and that is why the Bill is so essential.

Alongside the CPA, the Bill also seeks to recognise the ICRC properly as an international organisation. Under international law—through the Geneva convention—the ICRC already has a specific and unique humanitarian mandate to act in times of international conflict, and it has been given wider recognition internationally through the rights of a humanitarian initiative. More than 110 states around the world have already recognised the ICRC and given it equivalent status to an international organisation, so it is only right that the UK follows suit. That is particularly important as it would allow the ICRC to operate in the UK while preserving its core principles of neutrality and independence.

A number of amendments agreed in Committee further improve the quality of the Bill, particularly those on the importance of the confidentiality of the information that the ICRC provides to the Government and during legal proceedings. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke said, confidentiality is critical and remains a fundamental principle of the ICRC. Those changes are eminently sensible, given the sensitivities of the information that will often be dealt with in such circumstances. That is particularly important in protecting victims during conflicts and bringing justice through criminal prosecutions to those who commit such crimes.

I again congratulate my right hon. Friend and thank her for bringing forward the Bill. I wish it well on its continued passage through the other place.

I am delighted to see you in the Chair, Mr Speaker—long may you reign.

It is a privilege to speak in favour of the Bill introduced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller). I pay huge tribute to her, as she has been the flag-bearer for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for the whole time I have been in this House—four and a half years. One of the first conversations we ever had was about how important it is, particularly for a new Member of Parliament, to be part of the CPA. I took her at her word, and I have been delighted to be involved in that brilliant association.

Can we also pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke for the work she did with new parliamentarians when we came into the House? She specifically promoted women in this Parliament in order to reach 50:50 status. This is about not just the work she has done for the CPA, but what she has done for women in this place.

Absolutely. I will not spare my right hon. Friend’s blushes: she is not only a brilliant parliamentarian, but she supports newer Members of Parliament, and I have been the beneficiary of her advice.

I have been the supporter of the incredible work of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for many years, and this Bill will cement in law the difference it has made across our beloved Commonwealth over the past 76 years. I also welcome the Bill as it recognises the work the ICRC does to support regions in crisis. From Australia to Anguilla, from Botswana to the British Virgin Islands, the CPA is crucial in keeping all parliamentarians connected across the globe, sharing good practice, helping us to learn from each other and fostering friendly, positive and long-lasting friendships across the 180 Parliaments and legislatures that make up the Commonwealth family.

As my hon. Friend was making her remarks about how we learn from other Parliaments, I recalled sitting in the New Zealand Parliament for questions one morning, where the Speaker took an interesting role. If the Speaker was not satisfied with an answer the Minister gave, he asked for the question to be answered again. Does she think we should considering doing that here as well?

My right hon. Friend makes a good point, and I am sure those on the Front Bench would be delighted to comment on it in their speeches.

The ICRC is an essential partner for achieving the three core objectives of the UK’s humanitarian framework, which are:

“Prioritise humanitarian assistance to people in greatest need and provide them with what they need the most to recover from crises; Protect the people most at risk, including from conflict-related sexual violence and barriers to humanitarian assistance; Prevent and anticipate future shocks and build resilience in long-running crises by tackling the underlying drivers of crises, instability, and extreme food insecurity”.

Nobody could ever argue with any of that.

The ICRC is much respected, not only in this country, but abroad. It carries with it an unparalleled ability to engage with all parties engaged in a conflict and it supports innocent civilians caught up in the crossfire. The amendments tabled by my right hon. Friend in Committee are crucial to the successful operation of the ICRC. Amendments 1 and 2 are designed to protect information that the ICRC provides in confidence to the Government from being used in UK civil court proceedings. ICRC information being used in legal proceedings is a real risk and concern. I was surprised to learn that in the past 15 years the ICRC’s confidentiality has been challenged some 20 times in the UK, be it in respect of disclosing information regarding its work with British forces abroad or of its dialogue with a variety of actors on the global stage.

Today, I will be focusing my comments on the CPA, as I have been fortunate to work closely with it during my time in this place.

Before my hon. Friend leaves the subject of the ICRC, let me take the opportunity again to highlight the importance of the amendments introduced in Committee. She reiterated the number of times the ICRC has been threatened with having to divulge very confidential information. Does she, like me, hope that that is taken into consideration when the Bill goes to the other place? Obviously, providing that confidentiality and the need not to divulge such information except in criminal cases is an important step. Does she agree that we need to make sure those provisions are in place for civil cases as soon as possible? I hope that no debate in the Lords will delay their coming into effect.

I thank my right hon. Friend for her intervention; she makes a serious point. If organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross are to succeed in their objectives, they have to be trusted in the regions and countries they serve. They have to deal with people who we may not wish to deal with ourselves to bring an end to conflicts, or even to safeguard civilians’ lives and prevent sexual violence in conflict. I hope the other place, which tends to be clear when scrutinising Bills, will see her point and will accept those amendments and not change the Bill.

As I said, I would like to move on and concentrate my remarks on the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association because of the work that I have been delighted to undertake with that brilliant organisation. As a one-term MP—I can confirm that I will be a one-term MP, because I am standing down at the next election—and as the MP for Cities of London and Westminster at this point, I have been proud to support the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. In fact, only this week I was honoured to speak to a delegation from the Malaysian Parliament, including His Excellency Johari Abdul, Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as members of the House of Representatives’ special Select Committees and several parliamentary officials. It was fascinating as usual to learn how similar our parliamentary procedures are, such as timetabling, where our model very much mirrors theirs. That is barring the Malaysian Parliament’s provision in the procedures—you may be interested to learn this, Mr Speaker—for the Head of State to make a statement every morning. It could be interesting to introduce that practice here in the Commons. I am not sure whether His Majesty would like to come every day to make a speech. I personally—

I had forgotten that small point. Maybe we should just move on.

The Malaysian version of the Procedure Committee— I am proud to sit on the UK’s Procedure Committee—is called the standing orders committee. I was asked to speak to the Malaysian delegation about the procedures of the House of Commons—how business is tabled, the Standing Orders and my experience on the Procedure Committee. What a week to be discussing the procedures of Parliament. It was fortunate that I was able to use a certain Act, the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024, which we saw this week with its extended ping-pong, to demonstrate how the UK Parliament works in practice.

Does my hon. Friend recognise not only that the work she does on the Procedure Committee helps shape this Parliament, but the importance of people visiting Parliament and seeing the procedures? When we talk about the life of an MP when we go to local schools, they always ask us, “What’s a typical day in Parliament?” It is so difficult to explain that, because there is no typical day in Parliament. Some days we can finish at 5 o’clock; some days we can be sat here at midnight. The work we do to teach others about the way this Parliament works and about our job on a day-to-day basis is so important.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and it was fascinating this week for the Malaysian delegation to sit in on Deputy Prime Minister’s questions. It was quite a raucous episode this week, particularly given the first question. I did not see the delegation afterwards, but I would have been interested to hear their views on our procedures for DPMQs.

In 2022, I was delighted to address delegates from the Isle of Man when I represented CPA UK. I was able to discuss my experiences of managing parliamentary responsibilities, including Committee work, attendance in the Chamber, constituency work and personal commitments. That goes back to the point my hon. Friend just made: there is never a typical day in the life of an MP. I can come into this place with my meetings for the day in my diary, and then all of a sudden there is an urgent question or a statement that I want to be part of and then my diary is completely changed. It is a fascinating job to do, and I am sure it is the same everywhere—from the conversations I have had with parliamentarians across the globe, parliamentary procedures are never one-size-fits-all.

I personally find meeting those delegations, whether in this country or abroad, very enlightening. I encourage all Members of the House to work with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to meet, learn from and share insights with other parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth, although there will be many MPs who will not be coming back to this place because of retirement or whatever.

On the point about Members’ engagement, the hon. Lady will know that I am privileged to be the treasurer of the CPA branch—the right hon. Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller) is the chair—and we spend a lot of time trying to encourage both longer-serving and newer Members not to be afraid of the CPA, but to come and take part in inward delegations and, ideally, engage in our work abroad. My hope is that this Bill and this debate on the Floor of the House highlights again the successful work of the CPA that the hon. Lady is cantering through, which hopefully means that Members now and Members after a general election will be encouraged to work with it. Does she agree?

I absolutely agree with the hon. Member. It is very important that any candidate who is seeking to become a parliamentarian and is successful, whenever a general election may be, does get involved in the CPA once they arrive here. It is an enlightening experience and it helps us as parliamentarians to be learning from others, not just in the United Kingdom, but across the globe.

It does feel as though my hon. Friend and I have been here for a lifetime, but when we entered as new parliamentarians, one of the fears over engaging with the likes of the CPA was the public’s reflection on the travel and so on. It is vital that we highlight in this Chamber how important it is for parliamentarians to be able to witness how Parliaments work in other parts of the world. Does she agree that it is important that, through these debates, we continue to highlight the importance of the CPA, so that Members do not avoid engaging with the likes of the CPA through fear?

I completely agree. Although this is the mother of all Parliaments—it has been here for a thousand years or more—we really should be able to learn from others.

I thank my hon. Friend for giving way. My other hon. Friend, the Member for Hyndburn (Sara Britcliffe), is right to point out the need for us to explain the benefit of the CPA, because much of our day-to-day work as Members is connected to the grassroots of what we do in our constituencies, but the role of a parliamentarian is so much greater than that. I will give an example. My hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Nickie Aiken) was talking about her meetings with the Malaysian Parliament earlier this week. I had the great pleasure of meeting the hon. Rodiyah binti Sapiee, who is a Member of the Malaysian Parliament and is a new regional representative for the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians network. We have not touched upon that organisation much in this debate so far, but it is there to support elected Members, very much in the way that my hon. Friend the Member for Hyndburn spoke about—supporting new Members to do their jobs as well as they can, and hopefully retaining them work in Parliament for longer. The Malaysian Parliament has 28 female Members, just 13.5% of their parliamentarians, and we discussed ways to increase the number of women parliamentarians. Does my hon. Friend agree that we can learn from each other about these questions in our Parliaments throughout the Commonwealth because we have such similar set-ups?

Order. I am being very generous in allowing the scope to be broadened somewhat. I now look forward to hearing more from Nickie Aiken.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I agree with my right hon. Friend about women supporting women. We do a great job of supporting women in this Parliament and I am delighted to be part of her cross-party women in parliament group. We have to have strength in numbers and we have to encourage more women to stand, whether in CPA countries or our own, because we have to hear women’s voices in politics.

Does my hon. Friend agree this is not just about encouraging women but—I consider myself to be a relatively young person—it is also about including more young people into parliamentary democracies across the Commonwealth?

I thank my hon. Friend for his point, and I believe the CPA can be a force for good in sharing good practice for encouraging people from all walks of life to enter politics. I am about to go on to talk about my experience with the CPA in Grenada, where there were many young people who had been elected for the first time. It strengthens all democracies if they represent the people they are there to serve.

As I am the youngest on our Benches —I am not 30 yet, thankfully—may I ask my hon. Friend to explain how Grenada managed to get young people into its Parliament and also how they can feel they can stay in the job? One of the problems young people, and all Members of Parliament, face is the rise in abuse on social media, which can strongly put people off entering this place. People enter this place to do good things for their constituents, and that is not always reflected through our media and social media. How are other Parliaments across the Commonwealth tackling that?

Order. This debate is about the movement and transfer of the CPA. I have got to be a little bit careful because other people may want to stretch the scope of other Bills when we do not want them stretched. This is an important subject and the House is very supportive, but we must ensure that we stick within the terms of the Bill.

I just reiterate that I support the points my hon. Friend has just made, because it is important that we make sure that the CPA is a force for good.

In the Cities of London and Westminster, the Commonwealth is right at home. We are fortunate to host the international headquarters of the Commonwealth secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation in Marlborough House, and of course the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for the United Kingdom operates from here in the mother of all Parliaments.

My hon. Friend is right to bring up the importance of the international secretariat being here right in the heart of Westminster, and that has enabled us to work with it as CPA UK and as the UK Parliament. Around International Women’s Day, for example, we worked with it to deal with online abuse, which has just been raised. We set up—as we can now with the advent of the widespread use of Teams and other facilities for online meetings—online training for women parliamentarians across the Commonwealth. Does my hon. Friend agree that that is just one example of how we can work as a team with the CPA, and how having it so close to us here in Parliament helps us effectively support its work in this way?

I absolutely agree. That goes to the heart of the Bill—the status of the CPA and whether we can consolidate it. We are just across the road from the Foreign Office, and this is about working together for the soft power element that the Government are focused on.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association works, as many here will know, to promote parliamentary democracy and good governance. It is completely non-partisan. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting to know parliamentarians from a wide range of countries and political parties. Back in March last year, I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a member of the CPA UK delegation to the stunning island of Grenada in the Caribbean, where I was honoured to meet Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell. That was my first trip for the CPA, and what a fascinating one it was. I pay tribute to the CPA officer, Martin Vickery, who was outstanding on the trip, and I know that the Clerk at the Table, who was also there, will always remember it. It was my first experience of the CPA in action.

Grenada had had the same Government and Prime Minister for 22 of the previous 27 years, but Dickon Mitchell defeated the incumbent, Keith Mitchell, who was seeking his sixth term, in the 2022 elections. I wonder whether a Prime Minister had ever before succeeded another with the same surname. The incumbent New National party had had all 15 seats in the Grenadian Parliament, but after the 2022 election, it was suddenly in opposition, as Dickon Mitchell’s National Democratic Congress took nine of the available seats. The election brought about certain new challenges for the Parliament of Grenada, for the National Democratic Congress, which had no experience in government, and for the New National party, which had not been in opposition for decades.

That goes back to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South (Jack Brereton) about having new and young parliamentarians. None of the MPs elected for the National Democratic Congress had ever been elected or even been in politics before —the Prime Minister, Dickon Mitchell, had been a solicitor—so it was fascinating for the CPA UK to be invited over to undertake a series of workshops on how to be scrutinised, and, equally importantly, on how to scrutinise.

I was joined on the trip by the hon. Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy), and by my hon. Friend the Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Dr Cameron), who was then a member of the Scottish National party at the time but has since defected to the Conservative party—although I would not take any credit for persuading her on the trip that she was a Conservative. In Grenada, I also worked very closely with Leo Cato, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Grenada, and with Dessima Williams, the President of the Senate of Grenada.

Dessima Williams is a former communist who was very much part of the revolution in Grenada in the early ’80s. We—two women politicians from completely different sides of the political divide—bonded so incredibly well, and that underlines how important it is that the Bill secures the CPA’s status. Ms Williams said to me as I left, “Only the CPA could bring a communist and a conservative together.” I think that is a clear example of how parliamentarians, no matter their political persuasions, can put their political parties aside and work together for the greater good. That is the extraordinary power that the CPA provides.

During my trip, I also met women’s rights campaigners, people working to improve disability rights and services and, very importantly, the Youth Parliament and climate change campaigners. This goes back to what my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South said earlier. We met the Youth Parliament, and they were outstanding young people who want to make a difference for their country. As a women’s rights campaigner, I found it fascinating to talk to other campaigners who are working very hard to tackle violence against women and girls. Our trip coincided with International Women’s Day, and I was privileged to be invited to make a speech at the Prime Minister’s event to over 100 Grenadian schoolgirls—although, I did not expect it to be aired live on Grenadian TV, which was an experience.

I was then delighted to welcome Speaker Cato and the President of the Senate, Dr Williams, to my constituency only a few weeks ago during the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Nations celebrations, which were presided over by Mr Speaker. My brilliant constituency team thoroughly enjoyed discussing with them the day-to-day work of an MP’s office, and heard how this differed from their experiences in some way but also mirrored them in others. We were also joined by Chantelle de Jonge, a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, in Canada. That is a clear example of how the CPA brings parliamentarians from across different countries together.

My hon. Friend is talking eloquently and with a great deal of passion about her visit to Grenada. Her visit was just one of a number of different delegations that the CPA UK sends out, thanks to the financial support of this place and the other place, to ensure that Members of Parliament can carry out the work and relationship development she mentions. Does she agree that it is very important that Parliament continues to reiterate its support for CPA UK, given the good store that Members of Parliament set by it? They feel very strongly about the work of the CPA; it is a real priority for parliamentarians. The CPA must therefore continue to be a financial priority for Parliament.

I completely agree, which is why I am fully supportive of the objectives of the Bill.

I also agreed with the hon. Member for Bath (Wera Hobhouse) when she said in Committee that

“this Bill creates equal partners in the Commonwealth, rather than the more outdated model where the UK takes the leadership”.––[Official Report, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and International Committee of the Red Cross (Status) Public Bill Committee, 6 March 2024; c. 6.]

The Bill provides the necessary delegated legislation-making powers for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross to be treated in a manner comparable to an international organisation of which the UK is a member. Due to the powers under the International Development Act 2002 and the International Organisations Act 1968, which is even older than I am, the Government have not been able to treat the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association or the International Committee of the Red Cross as international organisations to which they are party, because neither organisation is an intergovernmental organisation. Instead, both have their own unique constitutional arrangements, reflecting their specific international priorities.

Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to establish special powers to enable the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross to operate in the United Kingdom. It is welcome that the Bill is supported by parties from across the House. It will provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with more protections for its work. The Bill will ensure that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association can continue to strengthen democracy and encourage cross-party work. I look forward to supporting the Bill through its stages and once again congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke on her outstanding work to get us where we are today.

I pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller), whose dedication and commitment to this matter has been a labour of love over the past two years, and the reason we are all here today. I also pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Chris Elmore), whose work on the CPA, both here in the UK and internationally, has been critical in helping us get to where we are now. I thank the hon. Members for Hyndburn (Sara Britcliffe), for Stoke-on-Trent South (Jack Brereton) and for Cities of London and Westminster (Nickie Aiken) for their support and for their eloquent speeches today.

The CPA is a highly valued organisation. Many of us on both sides of the House have benefited from its work and will continue to do so for years to come, so I am pleased to support the Bill today on behalf of the Opposition. It could not be better timed: we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth earlier this month, with a two-day conference here in Westminster hosted by Mr Speaker. I thank him for doing so, and for his work in pulling the issues together and ensuring that they remain prominent.

The Commonwealth has grown from a group of eight countries in 1949 to a diverse body of 56 nations, with a population of 2.5 billion today. Its members range from large, developed countries to those that are emerging and developing, including some of the smallest nations on earth. I was recently fortunate enough to travel with a CPA delegation to Belize, and it was great to be there as part of my brief in the shadow Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office team, meeting Members of its Parliament and learning how it works, and meeting officials, committee members, members of the Belize Government and the Speaker. The visit allowed us to build critical relationships and an understanding of the challenges that the country faces. As we have heard from other Members on both sides of the House, these relationships are crucial throughout the Commonwealth, and I think we can all agree that today we should celebrate it for the modern institution that it is—one of which we can be proud.

I also want to put on the record that Labour is keen to ensure that the CPA headquarters stay right here in Westminster, in London, as the Bill intends. Labour is very proud of the CPA’s ongoing role in bringing together and liaising between the Parliaments in the Commonwealth family from the very building that inspired the way in which most of the Commonwealth is governed today. It is important for the CPA to be granted privileges and immunities similar to those enjoyed by comparable organisations such as the Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth of Learning. That enhanced status will strengthen the influence of Commonwealth parliamentarians and give the CPA a more authoritative presence internationally, and I know that Parliaments and parliamentarians across the Commonwealth will welcome it, because it will have a positive impact on the wider Commonwealth and help to maintain unity and stability in times when the international order, parliamentary democracy and human rights face huge and serious challenges.

The hon. Lady has touched on the importance of the privileges and immunities afforded by the Bill, not only to the CPA but to the ICRC. Does she agree that it is important that the Government have given undertakings that those immunities, when they are set out in secondary legislation, will be discussed in detail beforehand with the necessary parties in both organisations to ensure that the Bill works in the way that is intended?

I absolutely agree with the right hon. Lady, and I will ask that of the Government. I thank her for pointing it out.

I am pleased that the Bill seeks to grant the CPA a bespoke legal status, like that enjoyed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Swiss law and by the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie, our French equivalent, in French law. Holding a legal status akin to our parliamentary strengthening counterparts should enhance the organisation’s standing. If the CPA is not granted this legal status, there is a real risk of inter-parliamentary division and fragmentation, which could have broader ramifications for the unity of the Commonwealth.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is a neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian organisation, mandated by the international community to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. The ICRC has been granted privileges and immunities by 109 states, and the UK is not one of them. That absence has resulted in significant operational challenges, and the granting of privileges and immunities has become a matter of urgency. Obtaining privileges and immunities in the UK would facilitate the ICRC’s operational capacity to fulfil its mandate and manage its resources in a manner most beneficial to all affected and impacted people. It would also protect the ICRC’s ability to act as, and to be perceived as, a neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian actor, and it would protect the confidential nature of the ICRC’s work.

It is essential that the ICRC remains neutral and independent, as it is only through strict adherence to these principles that it can obtain the trust of parties to and victims of armed conflicts, as well as actors in other situations of violence. This trust is crucial in securing humanitarian access to some of the most contested conflict zones.

This Bill goes a long way in addressing the above and provides the means for the ICRC to obtain only the privileges and immunities strictly necessary for its functioning. This includes immunity from legal processes for the ICRC and its staff, the inviolability of its property, and the protection of confidential ICRC information held by the UK Government from disclosure in legal proceedings.

I ask the Minister to reaffirm his assurances in Committee that the required secondary legislation will be brought forward as soon as possible. Will he commit to consulting both the ICRC and the CPA ahead of that secondary legislation, to ensure the appropriate privileges and immunities for each organisation?

I am pleased to support this Bill on behalf of the Opposition, and I commend the work that has gone into it right across the House, and particularly from the right hon. Member for Basingstoke. If we fail to get this right, it would deal a real blow to the role of this House and the Government on the world stage. It would be seen as a symbol of our lack of commitment, and it would damage the potential of the CPA, a growing and unique global organisation, at a time when we should be redoubling our efforts to engage with our Commonwealth partners and seeking to expand the Commonwealth. I am confident there is a will on all sides to ensure that the Bill succeeds.

It is a genuine pleasure to speak at the Dispatch Box on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Deputy Foreign Secretary, and it is a pleasure for various reasons. I suspect this will be one of my least challenging appearances at the Dispatch Box, because my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller) has garnered so much support for these measures across the House and in Government.

It is a pleasure to appear opposite, and respond to once again, the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Cardiff North (Anna McMorrin), who shadowed me in my role before she was moved to a different team. It is also important to put on record our gratitude, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller) did. We are grateful to her, to my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater and West Somerset (Mr Liddell-Grainger) for his work, to Stephen Twigg and his staff, to Mr Speaker, and indeed to the Comptroller of His Majesty’s Household, my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point (Rebecca Harris), who with the Bill, as with many others, has done so much as the Whip to ensure that it has progressed smoothly and is—hopefully —within touching distance of becoming law.

I will pay my own tribute to the Comptroller of His Majesty’s Household later, when we come to my Bill. On private Member’ Bills, this shows the House at its best. I think these measures have been debated in a ten-minute rule Bill and a previous private Member’s Bill, and I infer from the right hon. Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller) that this was a presentation Bill. That shows the importance of the work of the House on a sitting Friday to push through to the other place such legislation, which is so important internationally to so many of our Commonwealth partners, as well as, obviously, the Red Cross.

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. I often say when I am talking to schools or more broadly in my constituency—I suspect he does so in his—that if our electorate want to see the House at its best, they should watch the Chamber on a sitting Friday when we are debating private Member’ Bills: there is often much cross-party co-operation and enlightening debate. One goes away not only having hopefully moved things forward and achieved something, but having learned something.

Before I turn to the substance of the Bill, I have a couple of other points to make. I turn briefly to the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke and my hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Nickie Aiken) about, I think, the Canadian Parliament—

I am sorry; the New Zealand Parliament, which gave the power to the Speaker or the Chair that if a Minister had not been deemed by the Chair to have given a sufficiently accurate or appropriate answer to a question, they could have the question re-put to the Minister. I gently say to my right hon. Friend that while that is an interesting suggestion, it would be entirely redundant in this place, given how Ministers always answer directly the question posed to them as fully and helpfully as they can.

The other reason it is a genuine pleasure to be here is that the Bill has been brought forward by my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke. The hon. Member for Ogmore (Chris Elmore) highlighted that she had been forcefully pushing this issue to a conclusion. I must say that, having had the pleasure of working with her on various amendments to legislation in the past, I have always found it wise to agree with her. I am therefore pleased to confirm the Government’s support for the Bill. It is wise to agree with her, not least because generally she is right in the points she is making, as I know from experience. So it is a genuine pleasure to speak on her Bill on this occasion. I recognise in doing so her work as chair of the CPA as well as her work with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the huge value that that adds.

This is a hugely important Bill, reflecting on two important organisations. In what can appear to be a fractured and increasingly dangerous world, it is important that we remember and reinforce the role of democracy as a bulwark against authoritarianism and totalitarianism, and indeed the conflicts that can often flow from those.

In respect of the CPA, my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South (Jack Brereton) set out clearly the importance of its work to promote parliamentary democracy and good government through a range of activities and in a range of forums. It is open and wide-ranging in its promotion of democracy within the Commonwealth context. It is non-partisan and non-prescriptive. It does a huge amount of work to capture the best of parliamentary democracy across the Commonwealth, propagate it and reinforce it.

It is also important, as the shadow Minister did, to recognise the importance of the Commonwealth in that context. She rightly highlighted its 75th anniversary. It is an institution of enduring success and enduring value. We can genuinely characterise it as the Commonwealth family of nations, because we do view all the other members of the Commonwealth as family, as I hope they would view us.

The ICRC was founded 160 years ago. It is

“an impartial, neutral and independent organisation whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.”

That is from the ICRC mandate. Its unique international humanitarian mandate and mission have been formally recognised, as the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Cardiff North highlighted, by states in the Geneva conventions and their additional protocols. This organisation has unique legitimacy to engage all parties to conflicts and has unparalleled access to vulnerable groups in conflict situations. It is frequently the only agency operating at scale in many conflicts. As we look around the world at the conflicts raging, its work has never been more important.

It is a pleasure to confirm the Government’s full support for the Bill and to thank those Members who have contributed today. As set out by my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke, the Bill will enable the Government to treat the CPA and ICRC in a manner genuinely comparable to that of an international organisation of which the UK or His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom are a member.

The UK has, as I have highlighted, a huge and long-standing partnership with the CPA, and we recognise the work it does. The UK also views the ICRC as an essential partner for achieving our global humanitarian objectives, with the organisation having unique legitimacy to engage all parties to conflicts and unparalleled access. It also operates in some of the most challenging situations that anyone could face. Its specialised role in engaging with all arms bearers, including the growing number of non-state armed groups, is coupled with its direct delivery of a comprehensive range of integrated humanitarian assistance and protection programmes.

Treatment as an international organisation will allow both the CPA and the ICRC to deliver their objectives while operating in the UK. In the case of the CPA, it will facilitate the organisation to operate fully across the Commonwealth and international fora, including in areas where it is currently restricted by its charitable status. While it is not possible under the International Organisations Act 1968, as was highlighted by my hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster, to accord it the privileges and status it needs, this legislation fills that gap.

For the ICRC, treatment as an international organisation will critically enable it to operate in the UK in accordance with its international mandate, maintaining its strict adherence to the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence and its standard working method of confidentiality, which is designed to protect its staff and operations in active conflict zones. The public disclosure of information that the ICRC obtains from confidential dialogue with conflict parties is likely to put that at risk. It is also a principle that underpins its ability to operate in dangerous locations on sensitive issues, engaging with state and non-state actors. The Bill has therefore been amended to include a provision for the protection of certain information related to the ICRC’s sensitive work that it has provided in confidence to His Majesty’s Government, to stop it being used in court proceedings, except for criminal proceedings. The Government consider this provision necessary, but proportionate.

Treatment as an international organisation includes the provision of privileges and immunities necessary to meet the functional needs of the CPA and ICRC in the UK. In providing these privileges and immunities, we will strengthen our partnerships with both the CPA and ICRC respectively. It will enable these two key partners to better deliver their objectives.

The list of privileges and immunities that might be conferred on the CPA and ICRC have been informed by the 1968 Act. That will allow the Government to agree a framework that is unique and appropriate to each organisation’s unique mandate. The actual suite of privileges and immunities to be accorded, including relevant exceptions and limitations, will be determined based on the functional need of each organisation and will be specified in secondary legislation and Order in Council. For example, the arrangements will make it clear, as is standard practice, that there will be no immunity from legal suit in the case of a motor traffic offence or damage caused by a motor vehicle.

The financial implications of the Bill are minimal, and there will be little or no loss of revenue as a result of the fiscal exemptions or relief, which again will be granted by delegated legislation through the provisions in the Bill. As is standard practice for international organisations, certain taxes will be refunded in accordance with the separate arrangements between the Government and the CPA and ICRC, respectively. In response to a point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke—the shadow Minister kindly gave me advance warning that she would also raise it in her speech—I am happy to reconfirm that the specific arrangements will be drawn up in active consultation with the CPA and with the ICRC, respectively.

I realise that the Minister is making a Third Reading speech so it is important not to go into detail, but this element was introduced in Committee, and we did not have the advantage of a Report stage. I would like to press the Government on this particular point, because the privileges and immunities section of the Bill is clearly set out but it is important that those affected by the Bill understand that those privileges and immunities are yet to be agreed with the Government. It is important that they are agreed well in advance of being laid before Parliament, so that everybody can be sighted on what they mean in practice.

As ever, my right hon. Friend is right. Therefore, subject to the passage of this legislation and prior to those regulations being introduced, until they come into force, they do not come into force. We will work closely with those organisations so that when those regulations are laid and approved, hopefully there will be no surprises in them because they will have worked collaboratively with us to draw them up.

The arrangements will detail the day-to-day management of the privileges and immunities granted to both organisations on a functional need basis, and other facilities. Furthermore, administration of the arrangements will be resourced from the existing resources responsible for managing privileges and immunities with international organisations in the UK.

The Bill strengthens our commitment to the work of the Commonwealth and our support of democratic legislators through our work with the CPA. It will also support the FCDO’s global humanitarian objectives, ensuring that the UK remains at the heart of an unrivalled global network for economic, diplomatic and security partnerships through our work with the ICRC.

Hon. Members raised a couple of points, which I will turn to before concluding. I was grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Nickie Aiken) for a wide ranging, informative and typically well-informed contribution. Craving your indulgence, Madam Deputy Speaker, may I take just a minute, as I am conscious that my hon. Friend has announced that she will not seek re-election at the next general election, and who knows whether I will get another opportunity at the Dispatch Box? Let me put on record my gratitude to her for everything she has done. She and I served together as fellow ward councillors on Westminster City Council before I was elected to this place and she was subsequently elected. She is a fierce champion for what she believes to be right for her constituents and her community, and she has demonstrated that as a councillor and leader of the council and now as a Member of Parliament. She will be hugely missed by her constituents and by this House.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hyndburn (Sara Britcliffe) asked what support His Majesty’s Government will give, beyond this legislation, to both the organisations that we are debating. His Majesty’s Government give the ICRC £48 million of core funding annually, and up to £100 million in bilateral donations. We have a long-standing and robust relationship with the ICRC and a track record of supporting it. My understanding is that we fund CPA International to the tune of £196,000, and we give CPA UK £235,000. We support them through not only this legislation and what we say in this House but tangible financial support.

In an ever more challenging global context, His Majesty’s Government and my right hon. Friend the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary remain committed to working with and supporting the work of the CPA and the ICRC. This Bill gives both organisations the status in legislation that they need and deserve to continue their international operations without impediment; it reflects our commitment. I once again congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke. The Government continue to support the Bill, and I commend it to the House.

I thank the Minister for his comments. I am grateful to everybody who took part in the debate, including my hon. Friends the Members for Hyndburn (Sara Britcliffe), for Cities of London and Westminster (Nickie Aiken) and for Stoke-on-Trent South (Jack Brereton), the hon. Member for Ogmore (Chris Elmore)—I give him a special call-out, as he is the treasurer of the CPA—and the hon. Member for Cardiff North (Anna McMorrin). I thank them for their fulsome support for this Bill.

I particularly thank the Minister for setting out so clearly how he will treat the secondary legislation that is required to make this Bill work. I join him in thanking the Comptroller of His Majesty’s Household, my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point (Rebecca Harris), whom I did not thank earlier. We are never quite sure how to thank Whips in this place, but I thank her very much for her incredible support—she is involved in all things to do with the FCDO.

I thank everybody in the House of Commons for their great support in recognising the ICRC and the CPA as international organisations. This Bill will help both organisations to do their jobs even better. I thank the Minister and his colleagues at the FCDO for their unstinting support, which I hope continues as the Bill passes to the other place.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.