Trade Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:54 pm on 11th September 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Hamilton of Epsom Lord Hamilton of Epsom Conservative 4:54 pm, 11th September 2018

I would point out to the noble Lord that you could make exactly the same point about the verdict of a general election. You could say that the people who won the election did not give the right information, ignored many vital issues and produced inaccuracies in their election addresses. Do you, on that basis, reverse the general election? If you do, you will find that people will be given no option but to take to the streets.

Actually I am rather heartened by the people contributing to this debate. Many of my noble friends who have arraigned us with their views do not seem to be speaking here today. Perhaps they have been somewhat discouraged by the lack of enthusiasm for the rebels in my party in the other place, who failed to uphold any of the amendments to what was then the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill—perhaps the stuffing has been knocked out of them.

This seems to be a very sensible Bill because it paves the way for transferring many of our trading arrangements. As my noble friend Lord Lilley pointed out, this is not a very complicated exercise because, of the countries that have free trade agreements with the EU, only about four, accounting for 80% of our exports, really matter in terms of the negotiations.

The point was made by the opposition Front Bench that some of these countries might want to alter the agreements. I have to say that I sincerely hope they do—but that does not mean that we do not transfer the agreements as they stand today on a cut-and-paste basis and then go back at a later date and negotiate a more wholehearted deal that will incorporate a lot more trade.