Licensing of Operators and International Road Haulage (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 18th March 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) 4:15 pm, 18th March 2019

My Lords, I took a slightly more optimistic view of this SI than the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson. However, clarification in plain language will help. Paragraph 2.7 of the Explanatory Memorandum says:

The UK operator licensing regime will generally remain as at present”.

I wonder whether we could have simpler language than that. My understanding, taken with recent agreement in the EU, is that the situation will be fully reciprocal. I will say it again, because it is a question to which I would like a direct answer. The Explanatory Memorandum uses terms such as “provided that”, which enthused me to look up the European Commission—I will not do this again. On 19 December 2018, it published a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on,

“common rules ensuring basic road freight connectivity with regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the Union”.

At the end it says that the regulation applies until 31 December 2019, and that it was “done at” Brussels. I do not understand EU law. Is that now a piece of EU law? Does it, together with this SI, mean that in all respects, except the names of these licences, the situation for operators is identical to where we are now, with, of course, the overriding importance that the agreement of the EU is only until the end of the year?