European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:25 pm on 7th March 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 1:25 pm, 7th March 2017

I will leave that to the usual channels, who will discuss it at the time. I deal with content not process. That is why I will be pleased when this Bill is over and we get into the real meat of the negotiations, with which I wish Ministers luck. The task of negotiating will be extremely hard and that is why they could benefit from discussions in the House.

It is important that we should hear back almost the mood music of what is going on. We should hear some detail so that it will not be any surprise. If people think this will all be done in secret then they will not have worked in Brussels for very long. It is as leaky as a sieve and we will be reading a lot about the negotiations. It will be more like a colander than a bucket about the things that are going on in there and taking stock will be important. We have already stressed the importance of the devolved Administrations also being involved and to check that they are. We can talk on this.

Therefore, with a nod to this afternoon’s debate and what I hope will be its outcome—that Parliament will get the final vote—if the final deal is to win the consent of Parliament there should be no surprises and a grown-up conversation should go on. I am sure that the Government will not veer off in ways that surprise us, because we do not want to vote down something because it is a surprise. We will want to have a proper vote at that time. To make the final vote a proper one, we ask for these reports to be quarterly, and if the Minister thinks that means only quarterly he needs to think again: there needs to be a minimum of quarterly reports, so that we can discuss how it is going. I beg to move.