Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill [HL] - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Adonis Lord Adonis Labour 4:15 pm, 8th January 2019

My Lords, the noble Lord speaks as if there is not that power at the moment. There is: it is the power to introduce primary legislation. The Government do not lack this power; it is the power the Government have, in all cases, to recommend to Parliament changes in the law. What he has not made the case for is why the power should be given to the Government to make these changes by decree, which is, let us be clear, what Orders in Council amount to, with just a straight yes/no power in respect of the whole provision. He has not made that argument at all.

The Minister says that it is restricted, but the restrictions are entirely unsatisfactory. There is a time restriction of two years, which is more than enough time for the Government to do what they like with large parts of the statute book. The second, to which the Minister has just referred as though it is some kind of safeguard, are the measures listed in Schedule 1. But the list is incredibly extensive. These are fundamental and wide-ranging changes to the law, which in many cases, as the noble Lord himself has just said, we will not have played a part in agreeing within the democratic institutions of the European Union. Effectively, the Minister is saying that we will neither have played a part in agreeing them within the democratic processes of the European Union, nor will this Parliament have a proper role to play. The only people who will agree them are the Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and a few officials in the Treasury, and we will then be expected to rubber-stamp them. I am afraid that that is totally unsatisfactory.