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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Committee (7th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 14th March 2018.

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Photo of Lord Beith Lord Beith Liberal Democrat 5:00 pm, 14th March 2018

My Lords, I follow my noble friend on her specific point and reiterate the question. On the specific point, we are in even more of an Alice in Wonderland world than she and the noble Lord, Lord Lisvane, indicated because under subsection (2) it might be possible to make regulations that delete the provisions of Amendment 7—that is, to remove the words,

“subject to the prior enactment of a statute by Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal”.

That might be something that was thought appropriate by Ministers because they felt they had to get on with something before Parliament had got to the stage of considering withdrawal. It is possible under this provision. It seems clear from all those who have looked carefully at it that the way Clause 9 is worded really needs drastic surgery, if I may use the words of the noble Lord, Lord Lisvane.

This brings me back to the question that I have tried, by brief intervention on two occasions so far, to get an answer to: why do the Government want to persist in including in the Bill the first half of Clause 9(1) and the remaining subsections? Following the inclusion of the Amendment 7 provisions, the proper place for whatever powers are needed for statutory instruments arising from the withdrawal agreement is the withdrawal agreement Bill. We would have plenty of time between now and then to make sure that they are expressed in terms not open to the abuses that several of us have pointed out. Why do the Government still want these words in the Bill?