European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 2nd May 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 10:00 pm, 2nd May 2018

My Lords, in my own profession when you make a mistake you stop, reflect and rectify. Fortunately, we have seen that happen with Clause 11 and I take this opportunity, having not spoken previously, to commend all players who have renegotiated the amendments that we have agreed to this evening. I pay particular tribute not only to Mark Drakeford but to Carwyn Jones, who has had a role in all this—much more quietly than Mark Drakeford, who has fronted it—and all the civil servants who have supported this process. I have certainly appreciated the interventions from the noble Lord, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, who has kept me up to date with some of the progress.

This amendment, as proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, takes us to the next stage because when you are in a completely new situation, you have to do the best you can. You have to learn from past mistakes and find a new way forward. We are facing a completely new, evolving situation. There really need to be new working arrangements between the devolved nations and Westminster, and they have to be on a much more level playing field than before. I can see that the way this amendment has been drafted is not for the Bill and I would not expect the Government to accept it. However, I hope that the principle of having a different framework whereby these discussions happen will be accepted and taken forwards. I also hope that, however the terms of reference for this group are written, they will be open for discussion and come out of discussion with all the nations involved, rather than being centrally generated and offered as something to be signed up to. There really is a need for ownership going forwards.

On rectifying what has happened as we enter the new partnership, which the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, spoke about previously, I thought it was telling that in the previous debate the noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris of Aberavon, mentioned money. One way the Government might like to help re-establish some of the working practices is to build on the debate we had the other day about the Swansea barrage, consider asking the National Assembly for Wales what it would like to do, and help it achieve whatever it feels is best for jobs and the future energy supply of Wales.