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Amendment 11

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Committee (1st Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 14th January 2020.

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Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice) 6:30 pm, 14th January 2020

My Lords, I am not immediately aware of the significance of the italics, but no doubt someone will pass me a piece of paper in a moment that explains them—or not, as the case may be.

We have not yet determined the cost—this also responds to a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Greaves—or budget requirements for the IMA. I therefore cannot comment further on that. The obligation to ensure that it is fully and properly funded lies on the Secretary of State and therefore on the UK Government. What further or future negotiation there might be about cost sharing is a matter beyond the terms of the Bill. I would imagine that if we start with an obligation that lies with the Secretary of State and the UK Government it will not easily be transferred in any form to the devolved Administrations. Perhaps one day we will have a reverse Barnett formula, but we do not have one at present.

In the circumstances I have set out I hope it will be appreciated by the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, that Amendments 58 and 60 are not required in this context. The approach that we take to exercising the powers with regard to the IMA will be proportionate and appropriate and it would therefore not be necessary or appropriate that the procedures in the Public Bodies Act 2011 should apply. The bodies to which that procedure usually applies are those established on the basis of domestic policy. It will be appreciated that this is a rather different body which is the product of an international agreement and therefore it has to comply with the obligations we have entered into at the level of international law and it should not be tied to domestic legislation.

On the noble Baroness’s observations about the italics that appear in the Bill, it may well be that she alighted upon an issue that may arise later in the day, but I am advised very clearly that it is a misprint. Apparently, the entire Bill should have been in italics.

I have sought to reassure noble Lords about the concerns that have been raised and which have motivated these amendments. We have sought to design the IMA to provide robust, effective and fully independent oversight of citizens’ rights and our commitment to citizens’ rights. It is necessary to bear in mind that we are implementing international law obligations that we have incurred by entering into the withdrawal agreement. The clause and the schedule in their present form meet those international obligations and the demand for robust, effective and fully independent oversight of citizens’ rights and obligations. I hope that noble Lords will not press their amendments.