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

Part of United Kingdom Internal Market Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 15th September 2020.

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Photo of Richard Fuller Richard Fuller Conservative, North East Bedfordshire 2:30 pm, 15th September 2020

Thank you very much, Dame Rosie—that was unexpected. It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, and to have the opportunity to raise some general points and specific questions relating to the clauses under consideration today.

Overall, I am very supportive of the Bill, but, as with any substantial change, caution, checking and prudence should be part of the Government’s process. When I look at regulations and regulatory frameworks—which perhaps I do a little too often—uppermost in my mind is the quality of the regulations or framework, their effectiveness, their relevance, and whether we have the correct allocation of decision authorities given the different parts of the United Kingdom or different groups for which the regulations are being made.

On that last point, I want to pick up on some of the issues that animated Drew Hendry and perhaps others in their questions about the choice of a common approach compared with a common framework. I should perhaps know more about this area, but it is alluded to in paragraph 8 on page 5 of the explanatory notes to the Bill, which states:

“As part of its vision for the UK internal market, the Government is also engaging in a process to agree a common approach to regulatory alignment with the devolved administrations. The Common Frameworks Programme aims to protect the UK internal market by providing high levels of regulatory coherence in specific policy areas through close collaboration with devolved administrations.”

Where is that in the Bill or today’s considerations? What is the Government’s current thinking around engaging in a process to agree a common approach as part of their vision, as the explanatory notes state?

I did not get an answer from the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey to my question about how disputes would be resolved in a common frameworks approach, which seems like a fundamental issue.