Amendment 1

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 1:15 pm on 6th September 2019.

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Photo of Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Justice) 1:15 pm, 6th September 2019

My Lords, I would have preferred not to see the Kinnock amendment in the Bill, whether it was a mistake or not. As the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, pointed out in Committee, it is not open to the European Union to impose conditions on an extension, and this amendment seeks to remove the provision that suggests that there could be conditions. It is certainly not possible for the European Union to impose conditions on the conduct of the British Government during any extension. The words of the Kinnock amendment that this amendment seeks to remove are so woolly as to be meaningless. They refer to the outcome of cross-party talks, which was uncertain; indeed, the talks were abandoned. Along with the Bill’s promoters in the House of Commons and here, I believe that the words of the Kinnock amendment would have no legal effect.

To the noble Lords, Lord Cormack and Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, I say this: there is nothing whatever in the Bill as it stands to prevent the negotiation of a deal by the Government, if it were negotiated and passed through the House of Commons. The central point is that we have to live with the Kinnock amendment. We need to vote against the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, because we are under the time constraints of Prorogation. Whatever the noble Lord, Lord Hamilton, says about the opportunity that may be there on Monday morning, we cannot foretell what may happen in the Commons on Monday morning if we send back amendments. I therefore urge the House to reject the amendment, which will not affect the central thrust of the Bill in any way.