Trade Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 30th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bilimoria Lord Bilimoria Crossbench 6:00 pm, 30th January 2019

I thank the Minister for giving way. He mentioned that the Government are for scrutiny, so why are these amendments required? The amendments have been tabled because there is a complete lack of parliamentary participation in the Trade Bill. Surely he can understand the uneasiness of this House. The Government tried to railroad the implementation of Article 50 without the permission of Parliament, and the case had to go all the way to the Supreme Court for Parliament to have a say. The Government then tried to withhold a meaningful vote from Parliament, and Parliament had to fight for that. The Government tried to hide their legal advice and Parliament had to fight for its disclosure. Now we have Henry VIII powers being implemented left, right and centre and a Trade Bill acting in a similar way over future trade agreements.

Those agreements are going to be hugely difficult to negotiate. They take a long time to implement, as I know. India has only nine bilateral free trade agreements with other countries, and not one with a western country. This process is going to be hugely difficult, and it looks as if Parliament is going to be cut out of it altogether. We are wrecking the constitution of our country and the balance between the legislature, the Executive and the judiciary. I do not think the Minister can just say, “We are allowing scrutiny”.