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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 28th February 2018.

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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 Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 7:00 pm, 28th February 2018

I thank the noble Lord. I apologise for misunderstanding that point.

I am afraid there was an offline conversation between the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhope, and myself. I do not know whether he referred to that when he spoke but in that conversation he gave a very good description of the aims of the Bill—namely, that after we have examined it and are satisfied that all the stuff is going into UK legislation, everyone should know what the rules are and the Bill should achieve that outcome. That is what this measure is about. It is about whether we leave it to Ministers in the future to decide which bits of retained EU law they can deal with in secondary legislation. As my noble friend Lady Drake said, we need to restrain executive powers as ministerial promises will not suffice. That in a sense is where we are with this issue.

My next point relates to the issue raised by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel—namely, that we as legislators look at something but may forget sometimes to undertake consultation, be it with families or anyone else. That is one of the other great advantages of primary legislation: it is much more out there for people to talk about.

The noble Lord, Lord Pannick, as always trumps everything I do and comes up with much better arguments. However, I too had not noticed the lack of a time limit in Schedule 8. I am sure that we shall want to return to that.

As we have heard a number of times, the Minister said that there has been no parliamentary scrutiny of the current EU law, so anything we get in future will be better. I remind him that much of that law goes through the Council of Ministers, where we have a Minister, and through the European Parliament, where we have British MEPs. Therefore, the idea that there is no democratic involvement from the Brits is not quite right. We are listening to the concerns of consumers, workers and, indeed, business, about the Bill and I think there will be amendments to it to address some of their concerns. However, we are looking now to future-proof it to ensure that we do not give Ministers rights that we may not want them to have. We will come back to that in the broader discussion. However, for the moment, all noble Lords will be very pleased to know that I beg leave to withdraw Amendment 21.

Amendment 22 (to Amendment 21) not moved.

Amendment 21 withdrawn.

House resumed.