Motion to Approve
My Lords, I was unable to attend the Grand Committee because of business in the House. Will the Minister confirm whether this is another of the many hundreds of statutory instruments that this House has to consider to prepare for a no-deal exit from the European Union, which no one in their right mind wants and on which a large number of civil servants are spending time which they could use more profitably?
The noble Lord will find out there were 17.4 million people in their right minds who voted for this. The Government are following through that proposal.
Payment Accounts (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018Motion to Approve3.43 pmMoved by That the draft Regulations laid before the House on 6 November be approved. Relevant document: 6th Report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee A), considered in Grand Committee on 12 December
My Lords, I was unable to attend the Grand Committee. Will the Minister confirm whether this is yet another of the many hundreds of statutory instruments which we are having to consider in this House in the event of a no-deal exit from the European Union, which 17.4 million people did not vote for—because there was never any suggestion of there being a no-deal exit when that referendum took place? I hope the Minister will correct his statement on the previous regulations. This is something which is taking up a lot of our time in Grand Committee, and a lot of civil servants’ time, which could be used in more profitable activities.
My Lords, further to the point made by my noble friend Lord Foulkes, this has obviously taken up barely a minute or two of your Lordships’ House’s time, but could the Minister tell us how many other such instruments he expects to bring in a similar vein to this House and through the procedures that the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, mentioned? How much time does he therefore expect the House to have to devote to these matters?
We are in the process of preparing, which any responsible Government should do, for the no-deal situation, which is not what we want. We want the deal to go through, but we have to prepare for every eventuality. I commend the work of my noble friend’s committee in providing very detailed scrutiny of these regulations, as I also commend those Members who did actually attend Grand Committee on 12 December and provided that scrutiny in person.
My Lords, there is a statutory instrument available in the Printed Paper Office this week entitled the Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships and Partnerships (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations. Has this already been considered? If not, what is the proposed timetable for considering this instrument?
There is an agreed procedure in Section 8(8) of the EU withdrawal Act, which sets out exactly what can be done. We are following exactly that course of action, with proper scrutiny and a huge amount of work being done by your Lordships’ House and our terrific civil servants in preparing for this eventuality, and doing so professionally, openly and transparently. That is why we commend the regulations to the House.
My Lords, the Minister says that this is essential good responsible planning from a Government in case there is no deal. Would it not then have been more helpful to Parliament as a whole had the Prime Minister not pulled the expected votes last week, so that Parliament could have voted on whether it considered no deal an acceptable option at all?
My Lords, the European Commission has today published a paper entitled Preparing for the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019, which gives various scenarios for financial services, transport, air and everything that we discussed yesterday. It says that it will allow a certain time for arrangements to be put in place, provided that the UK Government match it with similar concessions the other way with UK residents on the continent and everything else. How will the Minister and the Government deal with the responses to that paper and have them debated in your Lordships’ House?
The usual channels will arrange for these discussions to take place and have debates on them. We are debating the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. The regulations have been reviewed by the committees, as has been referred to. They have been reviewed and debated in Grand Committee and passed without objection, which is why they find themselves on the Order Paper.
The Lord Speaker decided on a show of voices that the Motion was agreed.