Money Market Funds (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:43 pm on 25th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Tunnicliffe Lord Tunnicliffe Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow Minister (Transport) 3:43 pm, 25th February 2019

My Lords, I feel the need, once again, to express my repeated objection to being here. We are here to discuss no-deal statutory instruments: I believe the Government are being irresponsible in not ruling out a no-deal outcome. A no-deal outcome would be serious in every area of life, particularly in its economic impact and in its security impact. I also believe that it is possible that we may fall into a no-deal scenario by what could be described as “by accident”. Accordingly, I will continue with my duty of scrutinising the SIs. The problem with this is that, when you come in on a Monday morning and people ask if you enjoyed the weather yesterday, you have to say: “What weather?” There was no weather for me; I was busy studying these five SIs. What made that even more irritating is that I failed to find any serious problems with them.

I have to admire the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, for delving into the instruments themselves. I always find that pretty close to impossible, because of their habit of amending previous SIs that amend previous SIs that amend previous Acts. I will listen to the Minister’s answer with interest. I also join the noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, in her concern at the tone of the Explanatory Memorandum on the matter of information. I know that the Minister will say that it is just turning it from an obligation to an option. I am sure that is what the words say, but I hope that if we get into the extraordinarily unfortunate situation of leaving with no deal, the appropriate regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom go out of their way to co-operate with regulators in the European Union. These SIs—this one and quite a number of the others—touch on the core issues which caused the 2008-09 crisis, and overall the SIs we are looking at are sensible in making these markets safer.

Having said all that, I noticed the standard format: references are changed appropriately; scope is changed appropriately; functions are allocated appropriately; and then there is the old favourite of a temporary marketing permissions regime of three years and as many 12 months as the Treasury feels it needs. However, when you have read all the way through these things, the fundamental issue is that the provisions are asymmetric; they do nothing to allow UK firms to trade in the EU, which will be one of the many economically negative things that are coming out of this exercise.