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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:30 pm on 2nd May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Wigley Lord Wigley Plaid Cymru 10:30 pm, 2nd May 2018

My Lords, seeing the noble Lord, Lord Callanan, sitting next to the noble Lord, I took that as read at this stage of the debate.

I wanted to put on record my appreciation and thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, for the consultation and the opportunity to discuss various aspects of the Bill. I hope that we can take advantage of that in future. I also thank everyone who has taken part in the debate—the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, who has stood up so effectively for England, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter—for their contributions.

I have just a couple of quick points. Of course, there needs to be thought about how England comes into any such structure, but the same argument exists now as it probably did 100 years ago: whether it is England as a whole or England on a regional basis, and how that interplays when you have national units elsewhere. That needs to be thought through.

I will obviously withdraw the amendment in a moment, but I hope that out of this debate, two avenues of thought can proceed on the post-Brexit situation. One is, what will become the equivalent of the Council of Ministers when we have a multinational United Kingdom as a single market? Thought needs to be given to that, and it may be something that can be pursued outside.

Secondly, if we cannot put the JMC on a legislative basis, how can we at least make it much more formal and therefore more effective, so that it plays the role it has the potential to play? As the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, outlined, it has not always done so as effectively as it should. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, might be able to sow the seeds of thinking on that in other parts of government, and that we do not allow the water just to run into the sand from this short debate tonight. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 92A withdrawn.

Schedule 3: Further amendments of devolution legislation