Report (1st Day)

Part of European Union Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:18 pm on 8th June 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Hannay of Chiswick Lord Hannay of Chiswick Chair, EU Sub-Committee F - Home Affairs 4:18 pm, 8th June 2011

Before the noble Lord sits down, perhaps we could be just a little clearer. I thank him very much for the letter he sent me and other noble Lords about what I described as the chicken-and-egg situation, which is part of this nexus that he has been dealing with. That was a very helpful letter and I would be most grateful if he could agree that that letter should not only go to noble Lords who participated in this debate but could also go in the Library of both Houses, because I fear that sometimes the other place does not take very much cognisance of what is said by Ministers in this House. On this occasion, what is said in that letter, in particular about nothing in this Bill inhibiting Ministers from participating in negotiations other than on the final decision, is very important. I hope he can agree that the letter should go in the Library of both Houses.

On another point arising from what the noble Lord himself said, I have to confess to some slight confusion about how many of the instances of "or otherwise support" get taken out and how many get left in and whether there is not a degree of potential ambiguity from leaving any of them in at all. Perhaps he could just clarify that point. I had at first thought, and from what he initially said this afternoon, that he was actually saying that all the references to "or otherwise support" were going and that the statement would simply be that we would not allow any decision to be taken. That is, I think, the sense of what the Government have been trying to do and what those of us who have been trying to amend this provision are trying to do. However, I am still not quite clear where we are on that point.