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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 18th April 2018.

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Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Labour 6:45 pm, 18th April 2018

My Lords, I rise as a co-signatory to this amendment briefly to support what the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, said. In Committee, she gave an extensive explanation and justification for this amendment. She has done so again today, and I shall not repeat those arguments.

The two words I want to emphasise are “vulnerable” and “future-proofing”. The areas covered in this amendment are particularly vulnerable to backsliding from the existing situation, which has often been hard won over many years. That is why they have been singled out for enhanced protection in this amendment.

The second word is “future-proofing”—there is a hyphen in there, so it is a second word. The worry is not about the position just after Brexit. This amendment is about ensuring that these rights and protections cannot be tampered with in future by the casual use of statutory instruments. For me, it is the way that the Government have gone about the Brexit process and the mood of reluctance to be transparent that have led so many people to distrust their intentions. That is why we have so many amendments like this down on Report.

When I was a boy, my dad used to take me to see the Lord Mayor’s show. I was always fascinated by the man at the back of the parade with his broom and pan sweeping up the horses’ droppings. On this Bill, I sometimes feel that your Lordships’ House is having to emulate that gentleman a little too often.