Trade Bill - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 21st January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Lansley Lord Lansley Conservative 3:45 pm, 21st January 2019

My Lords, the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, would be valid only if this Bill were designed to give the Government a power to make a free trade agreement with a country such as Australia or New Zealand, but it is not. I participated at Second Reading, as did the noble Lord. Therefore, he will know that the Bill is designed as a continuity Bill. It is not a Bill to provide a power for establishing new free trade agreements, but to give the Government a power to ensure that the existing free trade agreements which the European Union has with third-party countries are able to be continued in law in this country after exit day. Much of that is already able to be incorporated into our law by virtue of the EU withdrawal Act, but some aspects would not. On that basis, this Bill is not, as most people in this debate seem to be saying, a mechanism by which to establish new free trade agreements with lots of new countries and we need therefore to know what the scrutiny process is; it is a continuity Bill and we should see it solely in that context.