Business of the House - Motion to Agree

– in the House of Lords at 3:06 pm on 26 March 2019.

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Moved by Baroness Evans of Bowes Park

That Standing Order 72 (Affirmative Instruments) be dispensed with on Wednesday 27 March to enable a Motion to approve a draft affirmative instrument laid before the House under Section 20(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to be moved on that day whether or not the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments has reported on it.

Photo of Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal

My Lords, the Motion standing in my name will allow us to dispense with Standing Order 72 tomorrow so that we can take the SI that will amend the definition of exit day in UK law before the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments has reported on it.

Whether or not we approve the SI, we will now not be leaving on 29 March. As noble Lords will know, the Article 50 period has been extended. Exit day has already been changed and it is important that domestic law is aligned with that. Without the SI coming into force, the domestic definition will remain set at 29 March —this Friday—and our statute book will not function correctly. We need to suspend the Standing Order because the JCSI has not yet had the opportunity to formally consider the SI, which was laid yesterday. The committee meets on a Wednesday afternoon and its reports are not normally available until the following Friday. The Government take the scrutiny of their secondary legislation very seriously and I do not move this Motion lightly.

I can tell the House that the extension SI was sent in draft to the JCSI’s lawyers at the end of last week to undergo pre-laying scrutiny, which is one of the highly valuable functions that the committee and its staff perform on behalf of both Houses. It is my understanding that the full Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee will, outside of its current working pattern, meet this afternoon to consider the SI and will make a report available to the House ahead of the debate tomorrow. I am grateful to both committees. I beg to move.