My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for her response to this short debate. It is fitting that we have further evidence in her response of the constructive and positive way in which Ministers have listened to the debate and sought to meet the concerns raised. That has been evident throughout our discussions.
I apologise—I should have declared an interest. I am the UK co-chair of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group, and in that context Sir David Wright, who is the chair-designate of the Trade Remedies Authority, was a member of that board and a former ambassador to Japan, so I know him. It will be evident from those who know him that the purpose of this discussion is not in any way to question his suitability for the post—far from it—but rather the process by which his successors are to be appointed in years to come. In that context I was grateful for the specific nature of the assurance my noble friend was able to give.
The difference between a pre-appointment hearing, in circumstances where the Secretary of State is minded to appoint somebody who is then seen by the Select Committee, and a pre-commencement hearing, where the Secretary of State has appointed somebody but the post has not been taken up, is a distinction without a difference in circumstances where the Secretary of State could proceed in any case. There is a benefit in such appointments being taken up by those seen by Parliament as well as by the Executive, not least having been seen positively in the context, not of trying to second-guess the Secretary of State’s choice of the right person but of understanding at the outset, before somebody takes up the post, how they propose to approach it, their suitability for the tasks, and what objectives they are looking for—what kind of outcomes they are hoping to achieve. In that respect, what my noble friend was able to say adequately and fully meets the purposes that I was raising in my amendment, so I beg leave to withdraw it.
Amendment 59 withdrawn.
Amendment 60 not moved.