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Trade Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 4th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords) 9:30 pm, 4th February 2019

By this stage of the proceedings the Minister is usually tearing up her notes and packing her bag while the team are leaving the Box, and the Committee is allowed to descend into a sort of torpidity at the end of a long and heavy day—day four, in this case—while we heave a sigh of relief. However, I have always wanted to table an amendment about the commencement of a Bill because it is something that we always forget to look at.

I was mulling this over a few weeks ago and thinking about what aspects of commencement one could look at. It is all very straightforward, although Clause 7(1) has a strange thing where it says:

“Regulations under section 1(1) or 2(1) may … make transitional, transitory or saving provision”.

I was wondering what on earth they were and thinking about a suitable probing amendment when I happened to run into the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, who said, “I’ve been thinking about commencement and we ought to do something about it”. Out of that we hatched this wonderful amendment, which is the last one that we are going to move tonight, and I hope the Committee will accept it as it stands. It provides a sensible and clear exposition about what position Ministers should be in before they begin to implement these procedures. It is very simple, inserting a new clause further to Clause 15(2), which says that the powers that would otherwise,

“come into force on such day as a Minister of the Crown may by regulations made by statutory instrument appoint; and different days may be appointed for different purposes”,

Those are two quite clear conditions that have to be met. I beg to move.