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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Minister of State, Department for International Development 7:00 pm, 8th January 2019

I thank my noble friend Lord Hodgson for ably introducing this amendment. A substantial part of my speaking notes is remarkably similar to those for Amendment 2, when I responded to the comments made by the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles, on early reporting. Again, we have made some progress, so let us perhaps just leave that on the record.

I will make a couple of specific points about my noble friend’s amendments, and those which the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles, has put her name to as well. These amendments would require the Government to lay reports on the use of the power every six months, rather than every year; to set out why the power would need to be used; and to include a table setting out the provisions of the EU legislation that have or have not been transposed into domestic legislation, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, mentioned in an earlier debate. Again, I can assure noble Lords that the Government’s intention has always been to set out such reasoning and detail as part of the reports referenced in subsections (8) and (9).

As to the frequency of the reports, the current drafting has been designed so that the reports will provide an overview of how the powers have been used in the first year, and how the Government propose to use them in the second year. The intention behind this is to allow enough time to pass for a meaningful report to be drawn together. I hope this helps to clarify the Government’s intention to be as transparent as possible in the exercise of these powers.

As with the amendments tabled earlier by the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles, I have listened carefully to the arguments being presented on all sides, and particularly in this instance by my noble friend Lord Hodgson. It may be that we need to consider further exactly how such a process can run, so that we can provide the House and Parliament with the necessary assurances that it seeks. In that regard, I ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment, given my commitment that we will look again at this issue and seek to make some constructive suggestions on a new way forward at Report.