Trade Bill - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 21st January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Purvis of Tweed Lord Purvis of Tweed Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (International Trade) 6:00 pm, 21st January 2019

I will not detain the Committee much longer but, from my understanding, it is clear that we will not be party to that agreement on the day after we leave if there is no deal. We would be in the process of seeking to join, and Parliament would have to approve that—and it may well happen. But, given the fact that the agreement is based on the principle that within three months of taking effect schedules would be updated, I am not entirely sure that that would be done immediately. That is of concern. If there is no deal, we would not be party to this very considerable agreement.

It is very important, if not today, for the Minister to give more information to the Committee about the implications of that for the many businesses who currently operate under the legal protection of that procurement agreement. In particular, what would that mean for agencies that are currently in mid-procurement or have signed procurement agreements with businesses? What is their status if we leave and we are not a party to the agreement? There are those with much greater legal knowledge than I have, but it is not reassuring in contract law to be outwith an international agreement despite the Government’s intention or aim to join it. That is simply not appropriate. If the Minister wishes to come back on that, I would be happy.