We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (6th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:52 pm on 8th May 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Goldie Baroness Goldie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip) 7:52 pm, 8th May 2018

That is a reference to this Bill preserving the competence of the Scottish Parliament to legislate on that matter. I understand that they would have to make legislation within the competence of the Parliament. As the noble and learned Lord will be aware, the UK Government question the competence of the continuity legislation. That, therefore, as far as I am aware, is a completely separate issue and not what I was referring to.

Amendments 83KA, 83P, 83LA, 83MA and 112B require the Scottish Ministers to make the same explanatory statements when exercising the powers, under this Bill or when amending regulations made under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act, that UK Ministers must make when exercising their powers. I will not stray into greater detail on each of these statements, as we have debated them at length already. I will, for the sake of clarity, remind noble Lords that this obligation to explain comprises seven elements. The first is a “good reasons” statement; the second is an equalities statement; the third is a statement explaining the purpose and effect on retained EU law of the instrument; the fourth is a statement of urgency when using the made affirmative procedure; the fifth is a “good reasons” statement when using any delegated powers to amend ECA Section 2(2) regulations; the sixth is, where appropriate, a statement of the “good reasons” for creating a criminal offence, and of the sentence attached; and the final one is, where appropriate, a statement to explain why sub-delegation of the power is appropriate. As is the case where a UK Minister sub-delegates the powers, there will also be a duty on the authority to which the power is delegated to then lay before the Scottish Parliament an annual report on the exercise of the sub-delegated power, if exercised that year.

Finally, Amendment 83AC makes a straightforward provision to clarify that the duties on UK Ministers to make explanatory statements when exercising powers under the Bill will apply when exercising the Schedule 2 powers jointly with a devolved Minister. A purpose of joint exercise will allow greater scrutiny by requiring instruments to be considered by this Parliament and the relevant devolved legislature. It would not, therefore, be correct for Parliament to receive less information in relation to the instrument than it would have received if the UK Minister had been acting alone, and this amendment clarifies that this will not be the case. The duty will not extend to devolved Ministers, but the statements, as with the instrument, will be the joint product of both Administrations. The statements, in being made available to Parliament, will also therefore be available to the devolved legislatures, and the relevant devolved Administration can choose whether to lay this alongside the joint instrument.

I hope that noble Lords will recognise these amendments for what they are: they are positively the product of our continued and sincere engagement with the devolved institutions. I also hope that your Lordships will welcome the steps this takes to respond to calls in this House and in other places for greater scrutiny of delegated powers. I beg to move.

Amendment 69C agreed.