Law Enforcement and Security (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Approve

– in the House of Lords at 4:39 pm on 18th March 2019.

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Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

That the draft Regulations laid before the House on 15 January be approved.

Relevant documents: 17th Report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee A). Considered in Grand Committee on 12 March.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

My Lords, the instrument that the House is invited to approve today was debated in Grand Committee last Tuesday. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, was unable to take part, but we had a good and thorough debate, so I shall keep my remarks brief and confine them to the points raised by him in his amendment.

However, it is perhaps worth underlining what we want to achieve in regard to law enforcement and security as we exit the EU. We all want to protect the operational capabilities that help the police, law enforcement and prosecutors do their jobs in protecting the public and bringing criminals to justice. The Government’s position remains that the best way to do that is to exit with a deal. However, it is right and necessary that we prepare for all eventualities, including the no-deal scenario that most of us do not want to see. The instrument before the House forms part of the programme of secondary legislation that the Government have been bringing forward to ensure that there is an effectively functioning statute book on exit day. It addresses deficiencies in our domestic statute book that would arise if we leave the EU without a deal, focusing in particular on deficiencies in the area of security, law enforcement, criminal justice and some security-related regulatory systems. It is important to be clear that the regulations play no part in bringing about the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Rather, the purpose of the instrument is to make amendments to the UK’s domestic statute book, including retained EU legislation, to reflect that new situation.

Having said a few words about what the instrument does, I should also be clear about what it does not set out to do. For the most part, the instrument is not a vehicle for implementing the Government’s policy response to a no-deal exit. Our contingency arrangements for co-operation with EU partners on security, law enforcement and criminal justice involve making more use of Interpol, Council of Europe conventions and bilateral channels. These are existing alternative channels, outside the EU, that are already in use between the UK and many other non-EU countries. Accordingly, they do not require domestic legislation to set up. That is why those contingency arrangements are largely outside the scope of what these regulations set out to do. Even the Council of Europe Convention on Extradition, in respect of which this instrument links into our contingency arrangements, is already in place and in day-to-day use by the UK with non-EU countries. I beg to move.