Wales Bill - Committee (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General 9:30 pm, 7th November 2016

My Lords, I am a lawyer, but I have no idea what Clause 3(5) means. I look forward to the Minister explaining it because what is being referred to if,

“power to make laws other than that of the Assembly is disregarded”?

I have no idea at all.

On Amendment 44, I believe in consolidation but I do not know that I believe in this particular amendment. The law affecting Wales will be what one might call Acts of the Assembly, subordinate legislation under Acts of the Assembly and legacy law—that is to say, if in devolved areas the law in England moves on, the provisions which previously applied to Wales will continue. In devolved areas, the Westminster Government may decide to change the law as a result of policy, leaving Wales with the legacy. Proposed new Section 108B says on consolidation that:

“Nothing in this Act prevents the Assembly restating … the provisions of any enactment that provide for the government of Wales”.

What does that refer to? Is it the legacy law and, if so, how does the Assembly restate it?

Subsection (2) of the proposed new section in Amendment 44 really makes me puzzle. It says that the Secretary of State—presumably, the Secretary of State for Wales

“may by regulations repeal the provisions of any enactment … restated by the Assembly in accordance with subsection (1)”,

so whatever mechanism restatement is supposed to be, the Secretary of State here in Gwydyr House can repeal it. The Assembly may make this pronouncement: “We are following the law that previously applied to England and Wales but England has moved on. We are continuing the law as it was previously stated in Wales”. Then the Secretary of State for Wales comes along and repeals it, not by any legislation but simply by statutory instrument on an affirmative resolution by each House of Parliament. I really do not know what this consolidation means. I agree with my noble friend Lady—