Amendment 1

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 1:30 pm on 6th September 2019.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 1:30 pm, 6th September 2019

Perhaps it would be helpful for the Committee if I said a few words about the amendment. Both my noble friends Lord Forsyth and Lord True are essentially correct, except in one important detail. I should say to my noble friend Lord True that even if the rest of the Committee does not want to hear from him, I do, because he speaks a lot of good sense on these issues.

It is true that initially, during the fast-moving events at a late hour on Wednesday evening, it was our intention to ask the House to remove this amendment. However, since then we have looked at it further. My noble friend Lord Forsyth said that the Government do not support this Bill and do not favour it. We think it is flawed and that this Kinnock amendment tries, but does not succeed, to make it even worse. The amendment is confusingly drafted, is contradictory to the aims of the rest of the Bill and its deficiencies are such that its effect is rendered pointless.

I always hesitate to disagree with my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay but my strong advice is that this amendment is legally inoperable. It appears contradictory with other parts of the Bill because it requires an extension to pass legislation to implement a deal, when, under this Bill, the extension is being sought only because no deal has been agreed.

For all those reasons, as I have said, we think it is inoperable and largely pointless. I am happy to say that it was our original intention to take it out—we had discussions to that effect and so my noble friend Lord True is correct, as always—but since then we have looked at the matter further.