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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 28th February 2018.

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Photo of Lord Deben Lord Deben Conservative 5:00 pm, 28th February 2018

My Lords, I draw the attention of the House to my declaration of interests. I declare an interest in the question of waste and I would like to follow on from the noble Baroness.

I am inclined to follow the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, in dealing with this amendment. My problem with the snapshot concept—although it is the concept—is that it is rather fuzzy at the edges. Unless we think carefully through this, we will find that if we leave the European Union we may have signed up to obligations which we have not had time to carry through but which we intended to carry through. We may also sign up to obligations which, perhaps in retrospect we did not intend to carry through. However, that is unlikely. We may also have signed up to obligations where we had not worked out how we were going to carry them through. So there is bound to be uncertainty at this stage.

I emphasise what the noble Baroness has said: we have worked extremely hard across the board on a number of packages, particularly those concerned with the environment. Her Majesty’s Government have been enthusiastic about most of the elements that that contains. The noble and learned Lord who has replied to the previous two debates has been extremely helpful, not only in explaining to the House where the Government are but in giving us real hope that they will look carefully at the real questions we have raised. It is not a question of whether or not you are in favour of Brexit but of how we get this right. As the Minister has been kind and generous in that way, I hope he will help us to see what we should do. I say to my noble and learned friend that I do not think we should do this, but it is clearly something we have got to do if people are to know where they will stand.