European Union (Amendment) Bill
Lord Maclennan of Rogart (Spokesperson In the Lords (With Special Responsibility for Civil Service Reform); Liberal Democrat)
I am very grateful to the chairman of our committee for that statement, which I think puts the matter beyond further argument.
In making my final point about the issue of single legal personality I want to reflect briefly on the reasoning already expressed by the Government, which it is perhaps better for the noble Baroness to express for herself and for them, but there were earlier stages in the discussion of this issue when the single legal personality was not explicitly endorsed for inclusion in the treaty because the Government, in their diplomatic exercise, were seeking to put beyond doubt that the retention of the common foreign and security policy would be a separate matter requiring unanimity in the Council before international agreements were entered into. They wanted that to be clearly defined, as it has been, in a separate treaty. That makes it understandable that the Government took the position that they did.
That position has changed and the Government have—to my mind, sensibly—accepted that there is a need to bring together the actuality—the existence of de facto legal personality—with a juridical legal personality in respect of other matters, such as trade. That is a sensible clarifying move, and one that I hope will now be considered to be beyond dispute, at least by lawyers. I find the hesitation about lawyers rather surprising, because I am not entirely clear who else the noble Lord believes we should turn to for expert advice on interpretation of the language of treaties.