Clause 28 - Functions of the CMA under this Part: general provisions

Part of United Kingdom Internal Market Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:02 pm on 15th September 2020.

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Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means) 2:02 pm, 15th September 2020

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Clause 28 stand part.

Amendment 29, in clause 29, page 21, line 3, at the beginning insert

“Following legislative approval from all devolved administrations,”.

This amendment would ensure that the CMA may only undertake a review following legislative approval from all devolved administrations.

Clauses 29 to 34 stand part.

Amendment 21, in clause 35, page 26, line 16, at end insert—

“(1A) Prior to publishing the information in subsection (1) the CMA must consult the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland about how it is to approach the exercise of its functions.”

The intention of this amendment is to ensure that the devolved administrations are consulted before the CMA determines how to exercise its functions in regard to the UK Internal Market.

Clauses 35 to 37 stand part.

Amendment 30, in clause 38, page 29, line 22, after “must” insert

“obtain the agreement of the devolved administrations and”.

This amendment would ensure that the Secretary of State cannot decide amount for penalties with CMA without agreement from devolved administrations.

Clauses 38 and 39 stand part.

New clause 1—Dispute resolution mechanism—

“(1) Within the period of two months after the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must consult the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland about how any disputes relating to the functioning of the internal market will be resolved between the four parts of the United Kingdom.

(2) Within the period of three months after the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must lay before each House of Parliament a report detailing how any disputes relating to the functioning of the internal market will be resolved between the four parts of the United Kingdom.

(3) Any dispute resolution mechanism established by the Secretary of State must provide for representation from each nation of the United Kingdom.”

The intention of this clause is to help resolve the functioning of the internal market between the four nations of the United Kingdom.

New clause 2—Limits on powers to override common frameworks—

The Secretary of State shall not make any order or regulations under this or any other Act of Parliament that has the effect of imposing lower standards on Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, in any area for which a common framework—

(a) has been agreed,

(b) is in development, or

(c) becomes necessary, unless, where subsection (b) or (c) above applies, the Secretary of State judges that a reasonable period has passed and the negotiations have failed to reach agreement, and a draft of the order or regulations has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.”

This new clause puts common frameworks on a statutory footing. Where there is a common framework agreed, Ministers would not be able to override them through secondary legislation to impose lower standards on devolved nations. Where a common framework was in development, or a new common framework became necessary, Ministers could not impose standards until the negotiation of common frameworks had taken place between the nations of the UK and failed to reach agreement after a reasonable period. The UK Parliament would be the ultimate arbiter of standards if reasonable agreement could not be reached.

New clause 3—Duty to consult, monitor and report—

“The CMA has a duty to consult with all relevant national authorities and shall produce monitoring reports on

(a) changes in standards, and

(b) assessments of whether standards have been met.”

New clause 4—Appointment of members to the Competition and Markets Authority board by the devolved administrations—

“(1) Schedule 4 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 is amended as follows.

(2) After sub-paragraph 1(1) insert—

‘(1A) The members appointed under sub-paragraph (1)(b) must include—

(a) a member appointed by the Scottish Ministers,

(b) a member appointed by the Welsh Ministers, and

(c) a member appointed by the ministers of the Northern Ireland Executive.’”

This new clause gives the devolved administrations the power to each appoint a member to the board of the Competition and Markets Authority.