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Trade Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 4th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords) 6:15 pm, 4th February 2019

I am trying to help both sides come to an arrangement. I do not think that the noble Baroness whose amendment we are talking about is trying to set out a route map for the Government—if she is, she is doing it in a very gentle and responsive way. I think she is struggling, as we all are, with the question: if you want to make changes—which she so evidently does, and which a lot of us would support—what is the best way of doing that? Obviously, the noble Baroness has made it clear that you can do it on three levels. You can do it on a case-by-case basis as trade agreements come up, inserting the points you want to make. Alternatively, you can go through the United Nations, which is separate but still obviously influential as regards the wider tone and context in which these matters operate. But the central point, as the noble Baroness said, is that the WTO itself is in some difficulty. It may be all we have and the only way we can do it, but is the Minister seized of the arguments being made that the status quo is not satisfactory in so many ways that there needs to be some sort of movement around the whole issue, but presumably focusing on the WTO, and does she support that?