Trade Bill - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 21st January 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Fairhead Baroness Fairhead The Minister of State, Department for International Trade 6:30 pm, 21st January 2019

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Lansley has made a suggestion which I will definitely reflect on, as it is important that these reports give appropriate information. With respect to making the Clause 2 powers super-affirmative, I am concerned that the amendment would damage our ability to deliver the promise of continuity, particularly when time is of the essence. That increases the risk of a cliff-edge. We are trying to offer reassurance by providing these reports; as I said, I will reflect on my noble friend’s comments.

My response to the noble Lord, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, is that I too am thankful for the conversation we have had. It is exactly the kind of conversation that helps because, given his experience, it aids an informed debate. I want to clarify my response about what we will report back to the Constitution Committee: this will be specifically on the Trade Bill, not on the future. However, I have said on the Floor of the House that we are open to views and we will be coming back with detailed proposals. The noble Lord commented on different ways that one can get negotiating leverage. We are always looking for negotiating leverage; sometimes it is really effective and sometimes not so much. But I take his point that we should be thinking about all the things we can do to add to that.

We have already shared some views with regard to future trade agreements. I am open to hearing views from all Members around the House about what our approach should be. Given all the elements of oversight and scrutiny that we have put in place for these trade continuity agreements, I hope that I can reassure the House and would therefore ask the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.