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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 Baroness Smith of Newnham Baroness Smith of Newnham Liberal Democrat 6:45 pm, 18th April 2018

My Lords, I am one of the signatories to this amendment. As other noble Lords have said, it is about protection and future-proofing. I was initially going to say that the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, had said it all and perhaps I did not need to rise, but I want to support the point that Amendment 11A from the noble Lord, Lord Low of Dalston, makes: that human rights protection is clearly also important.

I reassure the noble Baroness, Lady Oppenheim-Barnes, that this is not about saying EU legislation has to be enshrined in UK law in perpetuity entirely unchanged. The amendment says there are certain aspects of EU law that we believe are hugely important and it should not be possible simply to amend them by statutory instrument, nor for Ministers to engage in any sort of casuistry to change them. If Parliament wished to amend the legislation then it would be possible, but it would be subject to very strict guidance about the approach that it took. Surely the amendment would allow Parliament to take back control but also ensure that the protections we currently enjoy as part of the EU would be retained.