Motion to Approve
That the draft Regulations laid before the House on 23 July be approved. Considered in Grand Committee on 24 October
My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.
As I understand it, this Motion is debatable and divisible. Before we consider whether to divide on it, it would be helpful if the noble Lord, Lord Callanan, would explain to the House why it is necessary, and as the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, said earlier, I hope that he will do the same for all the important statutory instruments that appear before us as a result of Brexit. I look forward to hearing the noble Lord’s explanation as to why the House should pass these regulations.
My Lords, I am very happy to do that, but it is slightly regrettable that the noble Lord did not take the opportunity, as other noble Lords did, to speak during the full debate on the statutory instrument last Wednesday. I remind him that the Companion to the Standing Orders is very clear. Paragraph 10.15 says:
“Notice should be given of any intention to oppose a motion or amendment concerning delegated legislation”.
That notice is usually given by way of an amendment to a Minister’s Motion, and the noble Lord kindly had a word with me as I entered the Chamber this afternoon that he might oppose the Motion. I am very happy to talk him through the details of the statutory instrument, so I hope that he is sitting comfortably.
These draft regulations make technical, consequential repeals and amendments to certain pieces of legislation using the consequential power in Section 23(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act for two main purposes. First, they repeal legislation that has become redundant in consequence of the repeal of Sections 1 to 13 of the European Union Act 2011 and Section 5 of the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008, which provides mechanisms for the approval or ratification of certain EU decisions or treaty changes that would result in a transfer of power from the UK Government to the EU. Sections 1 to 13 of the 2011 Act and Section 5 of the 2008 Act were repealed on 4 July this year following the acceptance by this House and the other place that they were redundant in the context of our exit from the EU. During the Report stage of the Bill, the Government set out that the repeal of this legislation would be effective shortly after Royal Assent, and indeed that is what happened.
Secondly, in consequence of those repeals, legislation that approved matters in accordance with those Acts has become redundant. That includes Sections 1 and 2 of the European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Act 2013, which approved the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the EU and the protocol on the concerns of the Irish people relating to the Lisbon treaty. It also includes the European Union (Approvals) Act 2017, which approved decisions that allowed Albania and Syria to participate as observers in the work of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, and an agreement between the EU and the Government of Canada regarding the application of their competition laws.
My Lords, I do not know whether any of my colleagues or others wish to participate in a debate but, first, I shall explain to the House and to the noble Lord that last Wednesday I was chairing a meeting involving Age Scotland, Age UK, Age Cymru and Age NI in my capacity as chair of Age Scotland, so I apologise for not having been able to attend the Grand Committee. However, I assure the Minister that I will be keeping a very close watch on all statutory instruments going to Grand Committee in the future, and, when I am here, I will certainly take the advice that he has now given me and come along to express my view, as I did on the matter of the British Transport Police and Police Scotland merger, when a number of my colleagues supported me.
However, as the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, rightly said, there is a very large number of these statutory instruments to be considered, and it is important that this House considers them properly, whether in Grand Committee or on the Floor of the House or indeed both. Now that the noble Lord has given me that explanation, for which I am particularly grateful, on this occasion I do not intend to divide the House.