Trade Bill - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 21st January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords) 5:45 pm, 21st January 2019

I am grateful to the Minister for her comments. I think she summed up very accurately the sense in the debate that we have issues here that are worthy of further consideration and should be brought forward and considered, but in another place—and that they can inform and improve the quality of what we do more generally in terms of the Government adhering to high standards in the work they commission, but also that there is a role for SMEs in that which is embraced by the Government. She gave some evidence of work moving towards that.

I think all noble Lords who have contributed to this debate will get something from it—even my noble friend Lord Davies of Stamford, who counselled us not to get too carried away with the drift of trying to get everything included, particularly for SMEs in relation to the safety of our Armed Forces, who we count on to defend us and for whom only the best can do. The SME world would not necessarily accept that it is not performing at its best. It will have a role. I think the key was in something that the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, said: we need to be quite clear what we are talking about here. It is not main contracts.