My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhope specifically said—and as the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, adopted and applied—the security of our citizens is the paramount responsibility of the Government. The security implications of Brexit have not been debated nearly enough, and I believe the Government should have found time for a comprehensive debate about it so that our citizens could be fully informed of the implications of this decision that they in the majority have asked us to make.
I commend and thank the noble Lord, Lord Jay, for the thoughtful way in which he introduced this report. I also congratulate the noble Lord and his committee on this excellent report. I will not be able to do justice to it in the time that has been allotted, but I will do my best. In so doing, I remind your Lordships that on
I was not the only speaker to make that point. In the closing stages of the debate, on
“beyond the EU by reciprocal arrangements—for example, in the case of Norway and Iceland”—[
“maintain the sort of relationship that we would intend to have going forward”.—[
I remind your Lordships that, in the words of the Prime Minister—specifically, her Statement when she came back from the December European Council—this will be,
“the deepest security partnership that has ever been agreed with the EU”.—[
That clearly implies an agreement that is better than the Norway and Iceland agreements.
As a simple aide-memoire, I have with me Norway’s official brochure, which can be found on its Government’s website, on what Norway’s partnership with Europe means. If anybody takes the trouble to look at it, they will see that pages 18 and 19 cover justice and home affairs and the Schengen agreement. I do not intend to go through this shortened version, but it has a number of agreements with the European Union. To get access to EU police co-operation, Norway had to join the “Schengen co-operation”, as it refers to it, in 2001. In order to beat that, do our Government intend to join the Schengen co-operation or to make some similar arrangement with the European Union to meet the challenges of the political declaration? The brochure goes through all the agreements on another page.
The important thing is that this is the result of what appears to be 13 years of negotiations, and even the co-operation with regard to the European arrest warrant, which was agreed in 2014, has not, four years later, entered into force. That seems to echo many of the recommendations in the report that we are debating, which are probably expressed more temperately than I have put them. The Government may think that they can do it another way, but the evidence does not suggest that they can.
The report that we are debating was published, as we have heard, in July. Since then, the negotiations with the EU on withdrawal have concluded, and on