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General Committees

Debated on Tuesday 15 September 2020

Delegated Legislation Committee

Draft Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chair: Mr Philip Hollobone

Abbott, Ms Diane (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) (Lab)

Ali, Rushanara (Bethnal Green and Bow) (Lab)

† Cartlidge, James (South Suffolk) (Con)

† Davies-Jones, Alex (Pontypridd) (Lab)

† Green, Chris (Bolton West) (Con)

Greenwood, Lilian (Nottingham South) (Lab)

† Harper, Mr Mark (Forest of Dean) (Con)

† Latham, Mrs Pauline (Mid Derbyshire) (Con)

† Logan, Mark (Bolton North East) (Con)

† Maclean, Rachel (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport)

† Pawsey, Mark (Rugby) (Con)

† Rimmer, Ms Marie (St Helens South and Whiston) (Lab)

† Rodda, Matt (Reading East) (Lab)

† Rowley, Lee (North East Derbyshire) (Con)

† Saxby, Selaine (North Devon) (Con)

Thompson, Owen (Midlothian) (SNP)

† Throup, Maggie (Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury)

Nina Foster, Committee Clerk

† attended the Committee

Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee

Tuesday 15 September 2020

[Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Draft Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

I beg to move,

That the Committee has considered the draft Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

This draft statutory instrument is made under powers conferred by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and will be needed at the end of the transition period. As hon. Members are aware, we have conducted intensive work to ensure that a well-functioning legislative and regulatory regime for transport continues. In this case, the regime covers the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail.

This instrument uses powers under the 2018 Act. It is subject to the affirmative procedure, because it transfers an European Union legislative function to a public authority in Great Britain in that it gives the Secretary of State power to derogate from the standards set in three international agreements concerning the carriage of dangerous goods by road, rail and, to a lesser extent, inland waterways through the issuing of domestic exceptions to those agreements. This instrument also ensures that bodies that inspect transportable pressure equipment in Great Britain continue to be able to perform inspection activities for such equipment on the non-EU market through the introduction of a new, optional, UK-only compliance mark.

The regime for the transport of dangerous goods in the UK derives from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe model regulations on the carriage of dangerous goods. For road transport, since 1968 that has been implemented in the UK through our being a signatory to the European agreement concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road, known as ADR. Thus, the UK is committed to the ongoing implementation of the requirements of that agreement, which predates our EU membership. ADR does not automatically have legal force and is now implemented in the EU by the dangerous goods directive of 2008.

The EU also introduced the related directive on transportable pressure equipment in 2010, which mandates the requirement for such equipment to have access to and free movement within the European market. Those directives are applied domestically through the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009, as amended.

For the rail transport of dangerous goods, the UK is also a signatory to the convention concerning international carriage by rail—COTIF—and predecessor conventions since 1980. The convention falls under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail. The regulations concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by rail, or RID, form part of COTIF. As with ADR, the dangerous goods directive implements RID in the EU, and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations, as amended, implement its requirements domestically.

A number of powers and requirements in the directives are predicated on the UK being a member state of the EU. This draft instrument will ensure that Great Britain continues to work to the same requirements and standards in the carriage of dangerous goods at the end of the transition period, providing legal certainty for the participants.

The carriage of dangerous goods is devolved to Northern Ireland, so this instrument will ensure that transportable pressure equipment assessed in Northern Ireland in accordance with the transportable pressure equipment directive continues to be recognised in Great Britain through acceptance of the UK’s NI mark. That implements the requirement of the Northern Ireland protocol relating to unfettered access of goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

I thank the Minister for setting out the Government’s position on this important draft statutory instrument.

Clearly, safety must come first when goods such as petrol, chemicals and other dangerous materials are transported. Indeed, many tankers and other vehicles pass through densely populated areas. This happens in my constituency, in roads and rail links through Reading, Woodley and Caversham, and in many other parts of this country.

Drivers may also be at risk if there is an accident. Indeed, many drivers spend a great deal of time training how to transport goods such as petrol and chemicals and how to respond to an accident, should one occur. In addition, hazardous goods often pass through environmentally sensitive areas where any spillage could cause significant damage.

As a result, this is clearly an important regulation. As such, it deserves the full attention of parliamentarians, no matter how tempting it may be for the Government to rush through legislation to change laws in the face of the looming Brexit deadline, ongoing negotiation deadlines and political pressure. We must not, as parliamentarians, allow our standards to slip.

As the Government move to transpose EU regulations into UK law, I will use this opportunity to reiterate the importance of maintaining our high standards, and the need to keep workplaces, the environment and our roads and railways safe. On safety at work, we need the full translation of legislation in order to maintain standards and provide clarity for the sectors that urgently need it. I appreciate that that seems to be the intention today. Workers and industry bodies have called for this.

It is paramount that people at work should be safe, and there are some specific protections in this industry. The petroleum driver passport should be safeguarded. This critical standard, which was hard fought for, protects health and safety, and it ensures high quality in fuel delivery. I urge the Government to work with industry bodies and trade unions to identify similar crucial standards and to move to protect them in UK law. It is not clear from the draft of the SI whether that is the case in this instance.

A number of trade unions have raised concerns with me that regulations covering construction, testing and packaging of intermediate bulk containers, large packaging tanks and bulk containers, which are all currently linked to European standards, are potentially subject to change from 2021. I would ask the Minister, who is very diligent, to take this opportunity to reassure the Committee that future regulations will ensure safety on these matters.

It is also worth pointing out some of the background to this. Surveys of those working in the haulage industry shows that many drivers already work with high levels of tiredness and exhaustion. Given those existing conditions, I believe it is paramount that standards are not allowed to fall, especially when it comes to dangerous goods, which we are discussing today.

In the past, the Government have refused to rule out suspending regulations in order to overcome potential Brexit difficulties, rather like those mentioned in today’s press. Some Members may have seen the report in The Guardian today about the possibility of 7,000 lorries being held up at the border. Again, I ask the Minister to reassure the Committee that she is willing to continue these sensible regulations.

It is also worth mentioning that the industry does not want to see these important standards reduced either. For example, British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association stresses that current legislation is complex and detailed precisely because this complexity allows for the regulation to guarantee public safety, and the Government should not take shortcuts when it comes to moving these regulations into UK law. Similarly, the Institute of Explosives Engineers also points out that there are currently specific considerations for the transfer of information between the UK and EU bodies. There is a range of similar areas, and I hope the Minister will reassure the Committee that her team and the Department are still considering these matters, and that we will have further reassurance.

More broadly, it is worth noting that EU regulations have played an important role in raising environmental standards in the UK. Friends of the Earth has concluded:

“Through laws, constant pressure and the threat of fines, the EU has been the main force driving the UK government to clean up its act.”

That is across a broad sweep of environmental measures, dealing with beaches, various forms of emissions and hazardous goods.

The Government must demonstrate their commitment to protecting the environment by guaranteeing existing rules in UK law, not merely by making promises. I hope the Minister will agree these issues are of great significance, and if we are to make progress on public work and environmental safety in years to come, we must first guarantee the progress we have already made.

I thank the hon. Member for Reading East very much for his comments and will now respond to his points. He highlights the importance of safety in the carriage of dangerous goods in both his constituency and many others. I am sure that every hon. Member here agrees with that and will be glad to see this draft SI pass into law to ensure just that outcome.

It is important that the regulations are passed, because they will achieve the protection of our environment in relation to such matters. As I have laid out, this SI ensures that GB continues to work to the same standards and requirements. I have been very clear throughout that that is the case, and Members are supporting the SI.

The hon. Gentleman raised concerns from some stakeholders, and I want to reassure him that we work closely with stakeholders, including the UK liquefied petroleum gas industry and the fuel tanker working group. In preparation for the SI, we issued a public consultation in 2018, and we received seven responses from industry. They did not raise any concerns about our approach, but they did influence the subsequent drafting. We continue to listen to industry on all matters on which the Government legislate. I hope that this explanation provides the assurance that the hon. Gentleman is looking for that we work with industry and we take its concerns seriously.

In conclusion, this statutory instrument is essential to ensure that we continue to have an effective regulatory framework for the carriage of dangerous goods following the transition period. I hope that the Committee has found this sitting informative and that it will join me in supporting the regulations.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee rose.

Draft Professional Qualifications and Services (Amendments and Miscellaneous Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chair: Ms Angela Eagle

† Allan, Lucy (Telford) (Con)

Beckett, Margaret (Derby South) (Lab)

Cummins, Judith (Bradford South) (Lab)

† Farris, Laura (Newbury) (Con)

† Fletcher, Mark (Bolsover) (Con)

† Furniss, Gill (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough) (Lab)

† Gideon, Jo (Stoke-on-Trent Central) (Con)

† Green, Damian (Ashford) (Con)

† Henderson, Gordon (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) (Con)

† Lopresti, Jack (Filton and Bradley Stoke) (Con)

† Pennycook, Matthew (Greenwich and Woolwich) (Lab)

Smith, Nick (Blaenau Gwent) (Lab)

† Smith, Royston (Southampton, Itchen) (Con)

† Tarry, Sam (Ilford South) (Lab)

Thompson, Owen (Midlothian) (SNP)

† Tomlinson, Michael (Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury)

† Zahawi, Nadhim (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Joseph Watt, Committee Clerk

† attended the Committee

Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee

Tuesday 15 September 2020

[Ms Angela Eagle in the Chair]

Draft Professional Qualifications and Services (Amendments and Miscellaneous Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

I beg to move,

That the Committee has considered the draft Professional Qualifications and Services (Amendments and Miscellaneous Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

It is a pleasure, Ms Eagle, to serve under your chairmanship. I will give a brief overview of the rationale behind the regulations, which relate to the recognition of professional qualifications and the provision of services. They form part of the Government’s preparations for the end of the transition period.

As members of the Committee know, the Government have signed agreements with the EU, the three European economic area and European Free Trade Association states, and Switzerland. They contain arrangements regarding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The agreements include provisions that protect the rights of EEA and Swiss nationals living and frontier working in the UK, and vice versa. The regulations will give effect to certain provisions in the agreements relating to the recognition of professional qualifications—or RPQ, as I will now refer to them—that are held by EEA and Swiss nationals. By doing so, the regulations will ensure that the decisions made by UK regulators to recognise the professional qualifications of EEA and Swiss nationals before the end of the transition period will be grandfathered after the end of the transition period. Such individuals will be able to continue to practise their profession in the UK. The regulations also make various changes to the domestic framework for RPQ and services, including in respect of regulations made in anticipation of EU exit, which will ensure that they function effectively after the transition period.

I can tell the Committee that professionals from the EU make a significant contribution to the public and private sectors in the United Kingdom. Between 2007 and 2016, the UK gave 148,000 recognition decisions to EU professionals. I will also remind the Committee of the background to RPQ. The mutual recognition of professional qualifications system is derived from EU law. It allows UK professionals to get their qualifications recognised in the EEA and Switzerland, and vice versa, with minimal barriers. Across the whole of the EEA and Switzerland, there are approximately 570 different professions under the system.

After the transition period, the EU system will cease to apply to the United Kingdom. Last year, in preparation for the UK leaving the EU, the Government made various RPQ EU exit regulations to amend the domestic law that implements the current EU system for RPQ, in order to fix deficiencies caused by exit. The existing EU exit regulations include provisions that protect recognition decisions already made, allow applications for recognition submitted before exit day to be concluded after exit day, allow providers of temporary and occasional service one year from exit day to complete their service provision, and retain aspects of the recognition system to provide a route for certain EEA and Swiss qualification holders to apply for recognition of their qualifications after exit day.

I should say that the retention of part of the existing recognition system is not covered by the agreements with the EU, EEA or Switzerland, or by these new regulations, but it forms part of the Government’s plans to ensure that the UK is prepared to leave the single market. The Government have decided that the system should remain in place temporarily after the transition period in the event that there are no satisfactory arrangements from the EU free trade agreement negotiations.

I shall move on to explain how the regulations will implement the RPQ provisions of the agreements to which I referred earlier. The agreements contain similar but slightly different provisions from those contained in the existing RPQ provisions. These new regulations will make amendments to EU exit regulations introduced by my Department, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to give full effect to the RPQ terms of the agreements.

That is because the agreements were finalised after the existing EU exit legislation was passed. The provisions in these regulations relating to the agreements will protect recognition decisions made before the end of the transition period, allow applications for recognition submitted before the end of the transition period to be concluded, ensure that UK regulators co-operate with their EEA and Swiss counterparts to facilitate the completion of applications ongoing at the end of the transition period, and ensure that professionals whose professional qualifications are recognised are treated on the same basis as UK nationals.

In respect only of Switzerland, these regulations give effect to provisions in the Swiss agreement that provide for a longer transition period for certain individuals. In particular, they will allow a further four-year period for certain Swiss nationals to apply for recognition under current EU rules, and allow certain Swiss service providers to continue to provide their services in accordance with their contract for up to five years after the end of the transition period.

The RPQ provisions of the agreements will be reciprocated by EU member states, the EEA/EFTA states and Switzerland respectively. I remind hon. Members that these regulations do not cover certain legal or health care provisions, which are being covered in separate statutory instruments.

To ensure the frameworks for RPQ and services function as intended after the transition period, these regulations will also make various other changes, which can be separated into four categories. First, retained treaty rights in respect of RPQ will be disapplied. These are overarching rights derived from the treaty on the functioning of the European Union and the EEA agreement in respect of free movement of workers, and retained treaty rights for RPQ derived from the Swiss free movement of persons agreement. After the transition period, the default position is that these rights will become retained EU law under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. These regulations disapply these treaty rights insofar as they relate to RPQ, to ensure legal clarity about the post-transition period system for recognition of EEA and Swiss qualifications.

Secondly, a retained delegated regulation on ski instructors’ qualifications and two delegated decisions that update annexes to the EU directive on RPQ will have no practical effect in the UK after the transition period. These regulations will therefore revoke them to tidy up the statute book. Thirdly, these regulations will make minor corrections to RPQ EU exit regulations and technical amendments, with references to exit day changed to IP completion day in the existing RPQ and service EU exit regulations. This will be done so that the regulations will function effectively after the end of the transition period.

Lastly, consequential amendments and a minor correction to a transposition error will be made to the 2015 EU RPQ regulations. I should point out to colleagues at this stage that the UK regulators have been consulted on an informal basis throughout the process of developing RPQ EU exit legislation and these regulations.

To conclude, I reiterate that these regulations are vital to the Government’s preparations for the end of the transition period. It is imperative that they are made so that professionals and businesses are equipped to be ready for the end of the transition period. I commend these regulations to the Committee and look forward to hearing the views of hon. Members.

It is an absolute pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Eagle. I thank the Minister for his comprehensive summary of the regulations. We recognise that the instrument before us is technical in nature and that its purpose is—somewhat refreshingly, I have to say, given the events of recent days—to ensure that specific provisions of the withdrawal agreement are given effect. As such, we will not seek to divide the Committee this afternoon, and I do not wish to detain Members any longer than I have to. However, I wish to put two brief points to the Minister. Hopefully he can provide his thoughts on both.

The first is a general point relating to certainty. As with so much of the secondary legislation that the Government have introduced of late, the instrument we are being asked to approve is presented in essence as a contingency piece of legislation. The Minister spoke about the temporary nature of many of the regulations and how they are given effect. However, with just 15 weeks remaining until the end of the transition period, it is becoming increasingly hard to view these regulations as such.

I know that I do not need to tell the Minister about the benefits that flow from professional qualifications, in terms of driving up standards of practice, giving confidence to UK employees and consumers, and improving contracts for workers. I know, too, that he is well aware of how many UK professionals depend on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications across the European economic area, the implications for their jobs and livelihoods should the Government not secure an adequate replacement framework by 31 December, and the impact of such an outcome on an area in which the UK enjoys a significant comparative advantage.

However, the UK, EU and Swiss professionals affected still await more information from the Government on their vision for a future recognition framework, and their frustration at its absence cannot be overstated. With just over 100 days remaining, all they have to go on at present is the commitments set out in the legally non-binding political declaration and in the withdrawal agreement, the permanence of which, as he knows, Ministers have called into question over recent days. I do not expect the Minister to comment on ongoing negotiations, but can he today provide those professionals affected with some comfort, and confirm that the Government are intent on securing a long-term agreement in this area that will provide for their future jobs and livelihoods?

The second point relates to the involvement of those professionals in a dialogue about the replacement framework that the Government are seeking to secure. The Minister’s Department launched its public consultation on the recognition of professional qualifications on 25 August, just 21 days ago. We obviously welcome the fact that consultation is taking place, but will he tell the Committee why it took so long for the Government to initiate it? That also begs the obvious question: if the Government are only now discovering what those who stand to be affected want to see negotiated to replace the current arrangements, what has shaped the Government’s negotiating position in this area to date? With the consultation due to close as late as October, it is difficult not to view the exercise as little more than window dressing. I hope he can reassure me on that point.

I urge the Minister to take this opportunity to reassure professionals and businesses here in the UK and in the EU not only that the Government remain committed to securing an efficient and robust mutual recognition system that will enable our talented professionals to operate in the EEA and Switzerland, as they have done for so many years, but that their views will continue to shape what is being fought for in the negotiations.

I thank the shadow Minister for his support today and members of the Committee for listening so intently. Let me conclude by emphasising that the changes in these regulations are essential for precisely the reason that the hon. Member has just pointed out: the importance to the UK economy of professional services. We are committed to protecting citizens who benefit from rights under the agreements, many of whom make valuable contributions to the UK workforce, and we are absolutely committed to negotiating in good faith to ensure that we conclude a deal.

Although these regulations are mainly focused on protecting existing rights and not, obviously, future arrangements, it is important that the regulations make changes to ensure that the UK’s existing EU exit regulatory framework for RPQ and services function effectively at the end of the transition period. If the rights were not disapplied, they could be used to undermine the provisions of the RPQ EU exit legislation, potentially leading to legal challenges.

It is worth noting that the continuation of the recognition system after the end of the transition period is a temporary measure. Obviously, the future RPQ policy will depend on the outcome of the negotiations. I can give the hon. Gentleman one guarantee: we will negotiate in good faith and want this to work, and the outcomes in this area should be a win-win for both sides.

The call for evidence that the Department is currently conducting, to which the hon. Gentleman referred, is quite important. I work with the sector all the time. I co-chair the professional business services council, and I know how valuable that engagement is from both sides. The call for evidence is helping us both to gain insight on what our approach should be for the future recognition of professional qualifications from other countries and to consider our approach to the regulation of professions more broadly. To close, I underline once more that these regulations are a vital part of the Government’s preparations for the end of transition period, and I commend them to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee rose.

draft Immigration (Persons Designated under Sanctions Regulations) (EU Exit) REGULATIONS 2020

The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chair: Judith Cummins

Abrahams, Debbie (Oldham East and Saddleworth) (Lab)

† Afolami, Bim (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con)

Cooper, Yvette (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab)

† Crosbie, Virginia (Ynys Môn) (Con)

† Daly, James (Bury North) (Con)

† Dines, Miss Sarah (Derbyshire Dales) (Con)

† Efford, Clive (Eltham) (Lab)

† Elmore, Chris (Ogmore) (Lab)

Grady, Patrick (Glasgow North) (SNP)

Hammond, Stephen (Wimbledon) (Con)

† Lewer, Andrew (Northampton South) (Con)

Lynch, Holly (Halifax) (Lab)

† Philp, Chris (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department)

† Pursglove, Tom (Corby) (Con)

Seely, Bob (Isle of Wight) (Con)

Sultana, Zarah (Coventry South) (Lab)

† Vickers, Martin (Cleethorpes) (Con)

Kevin Maddison, Committee Clerk

† attended the Committee

Seventh Delegated Legislation Committee

Tuesday 15 September 2020

[Judith Cummins in the Chair]

Draft Immigration (Persons Designated under Sanctions Regulations) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

I recognise that it is very hot in here, so Members are more than welcome to remove their jackets. Before we begin, I remind Members about social distancing. Please make sure that you sit in the spaces that are clearly marked out. I also have a shout out for Hansard, who would be very grateful if you sent any speaking notes to

I beg to move,

That the Committee has considered the draft Immigration (Persons Designated under Sanctions Regulations) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Cummins, for, I think, the very first time. I will do my best to observe social distancing, which is something the Opposition spokesman, the hon. Member for Ogmore, should not find too challenging, given the numbers on his side. This is a narrow, technical matter, so I will not detain the Committee for long.

The regulations do not create any new powers but simply clarify which courts and tribunals will hear matters that may arise as a consequence of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. SAMLA gives powers to the UK Government to designate certain people or organisations to be subject to sanctions, the consequences of which may include a travel ban on coming to the United Kingdom. It is conceivable that the people to whom that sanction is applied may already be in the United Kingdom, in which case they may wish to appeal against that decision on two grounds. They may wish to appeal against, first, the imposition of the sanction itself or, secondly, their removal from the territory of the United Kingdom.

The regulations simply clarify that, in challenging the sanction, the matter will be heard by either the High Court or the Court of Session in Scotland. However, the immigration aspect of such a removal from the territory, which they may say breaches their human rights under the European convention on human rights, will be heard by an immigration tribunal as is currently the case. The regulations therefore simply clarify which court the subject may go to and the jurisdiction used in such matters of appeal. If, on the one hand, they are appealing against the imposition of a sanction, it will be the High Court or the Court of Session. On the other hand, if they are appealing against their removal, they will go to the first-tier tribunal, as would happen with any normal immigration case.

We envisage fairly small numbers of cases because most people to whom international sanctions are applied tend to be outside the United Kingdom to start with, but the regulations provide helpful clarification as to which court or tribunal should handle each case. I commend the regulations to the Committee.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Cummins, for the first time after your many distinguished years in the Opposition Whips Office. I thank the Minister for his explanation of the regulations and for his understanding that my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax is unable to travel to Westminster to be here because a member of her household is awaiting covid test results. I say to the Minister that I might be lonely on the Opposition side of this Committee, but Labour Whips are never lonely, as Mrs Cummins knows.

The official Opposition welcome the regulations, which seek to ensure clarity when considering the human rights or protection claims of those subject to travel bans and sanctions under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. We support the continued commitment of the UK to remain a resolute and robust actor against human rights abuses perpetrated by states and entities as legislated under the Act.

Given the seriousness of the alleged crimes of some of those subject to recent asset freezes and travel bans, including high-ranking Myanmar generals involved in the heinous crimes committed against the Rohingya population and Russian nationals involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, it is important that we can and do apply those sanctions.

However, as the Minister said, it is also crucial that domestic sanctions do not undermine fundamental rights or interfere with our obligations under the refugee convention. We recognise that such cases are likely to be limited in number, but it is vital that we delineate the process for legal challenge and clearly set out the boundaries, so that we can keep the immigration consequences of the sanction separate from the challenge of the sanction itself. We feel that the draft SI reflects that approach, and we support its aims. We note, however, that the clarity in the SI was asked for, and promised by Ministers, to coincide with the consideration in Committee, in the Lords, of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. It is somewhat overdue.

I simply ask the Minister to confirm that where we have a legal process, as outlined in the regulations, with entirely appropriate and defined roles for legal representatives, those who undertake the work will not be deemed “activist lawyers”, as recently happened to those who simply sought to ensure that there was due diligence, and that legal obligations with respect to immigration cases were upheld by the Home Office. I hope that the Minister can reflect on that point, and I repeat that we will not oppose the regulations.

I shall be brief and avoid detaining the Committee on the wider issues. I extend my good wishes to the hon. Member for Halifax and her family and hope that they are safe and well, and I wish her a safe return to the House with all speed.

I will comment briefly on legal proceedings in immigration matters, because they are not strictly relevant to the regulations. We find that repeated, last-minute, and essentially vexatious claims are submitted with the purpose in mind of frustrating the removal of people who should not be in the country, including dangerous foreign national offenders. Such claims are often wholly without merit, and they are often submitted, intentionally at the very last minute, before they can be given proper consideration by a court—often late at night or in the early hours of the morning—and a judge may feel that there is no option but to suspend a removal or deportation pending proper consideration of the claim, even though it is subsequently found to have no merit.

That, in my view, is an abuse of process. The Government in no way condone it, and, as I said on the Floor of the House in response to an urgent question on 2 September, we are exploring legislation in that area, to make sure that the legal system is not abused as I just described. That is not directly relevant to the regulations, which I continue to commend to the Committee. I thank the shadow spokesman, the hon. Member for Ogmore, for his support in this matter.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee rose.