Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:17 pm on 9th July 2015.

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Photo of Nicholas Boles Nicholas Boles The Minister for Universities and Science, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Jointly with the Department for Education) 5:17 pm, 9th July 2015

I will be glad to get the right hon. Gentleman a specific answer to that question. I do not believe in pretending to know things that I do not know, and I do not have the information required to answer it. I am sorry for having assumed from his eloquence in this place that he must at one point have been a lawyer. I agree that that is an appalling slur on any man’s character and I withdraw it unreservedly.

I want to move on to the important question raised by the hon. Member for Ochil and South Perthshire about whether Parliament will have an opportunity to consider the Bill. I want to be clear so, if hon. Members will forgive me, I will read a little from the text in front of me. The agreement is expected to be a mixed agreement to which the UK is individually a party. It will therefore be subject to agreement by member states’ Parliaments— including that of the UK—the EU Council and the European Parliament. As part of this process the UK Parliament will receive the complete draft text of the agreement to scrutinise in debates in both Houses.

I hope that provides the reassurance that the hon. Lady seeks. I note that the party that currently governs Scotland is now very adequately represented in this House and I note the level of interest shown by her party late on a Thursday afternoon, so I am sure that she and her colleagues will provide the level of scrutiny that she seeks.

In conclusion, I am certain that this agreement could have enormous benefit for the people of Scotland and the people of the United Kingdom. I am satisfied that the agreement will not threaten the public services that we hold dear and that we want in large measure to remain public—there is nothing in it that will do that. I am also satisfied that there is no process in it that will usurp Parliaments or democratic processes for changing regulations or laws, but I endorse and support the desire for proper scrutiny of an agreement that will be a very substantial commitment by all member states of the EU. I congratulate the hon. Lady for starting that process here this afternoon. I have no doubt that she will continue it over the months to come.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.