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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 23rd April 2018.

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Photo of Lord Mackay of Clashfern Lord Mackay of Clashfern Conservative 6:30 pm, 23rd April 2018

My Lords, perhaps I may break the rules of Report and intervene. The Government have said repeatedly that they cannot do anything about this or that. They have said, “If you want to vote on this, you have to do it now and not at Third Reading”. However, this is a rather different situation in that their position has been made clear rather close to dealing with this amendment, and it is only reasonable that the House should be given an opportunity to study it. I do not think that that would be a breach of the general rule that we try to get rid of everything before Third Reading, and I do not anticipate that those who have tabled the amendment will want anything else.

An important point is that the amendment has raised an issue which I think the Government now accept is covered by the terms of the Bill as it was—the principle of the value of human health recognised in EU law. They have accepted that and the Bill carries it forward. It is only right that those who have brought forward the amendment should have the opportunity to study what has been said. I know that that is not in accordance with the general rule that the Government have set for Ministers but I think that this is an entirely exceptional circumstance, and I will certainly be very disappointed if, instead of getting an agreement, which I believe we have, we have an unnecessary vote.