My Lords, we welcome the Government’s significant movement towards the use of the treaty procedure, which we and, I believe, the Labour Benches argued for at the previous stage. I was concerned that the amendment was incomplete, and the Minister has explained why her amendment refers to “laying” the treaty, but not the other provisions of Section 20 and several subsequent sections of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.
As the Minister has told the House, it is quite a complicated and potentially long drawn-out procedure. I accept that, but it is long drawn-out because it is designed to give Parliament a proper opportunity to have input into the final product of the treaty, with various stages for its consideration, ending up in ratification. The Minister, in arguing on the first group of amendments, stressed the importance of the procedure. She has just said that the Government might want to make a designation before ratification. It seems to me that this nullifies the impact of the procedure process, and assumes that Parliament will ratify—in other words, will vote as the Government tell it to, which is precisely the arrangement we do not want in place.
The Minister has, however, just talked about the treaty not coming into force until ratification—she is nodding at that, for which I am grateful. I wonder whether she would be prepared to have a discussion—she has been prepared for lots of discussions on the Bill already, for which we are grateful—about an amendment we might table at Third Reading to tidy this up, encapsulating what she has just said to the House about delaying the process until the parliamentary process has been completed. I had better move this amendment, and then we can debate it.