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Amendment 35

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Committee (2nd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 15th January 2020.

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Photo of Viscount Trenchard Viscount Trenchard Conservative 9:45 pm, 15th January 2020

I believe that the policy which my right honourable friend the Prime Minister used to persuade his new supporters in the north of England and elsewhere to support is one that will produce more prosperity for the United Kingdom and a brighter future for all, and that those who voted for him in the north of England will see that it is in their interests to continue to vote for him and his successors, because his policy will have so clearly worked. Furthermore, since we will be free of the cash drain and the regulatory strictures of the EU, which have progressively stunted the United Kingdom’s voice in global fora—I speak as someone who has spent a large proportion of his working life outside the UK, looking in—the new supporters of the Conservative Party in the north will, I hope and trust, wish to continue to support it.

The noble Lord, Lord Fox, talked a lot about regression and standards. He is always trying to bind the Government not to resile or retreat from the high standards set by the EU. But standards are not about high and low; they are about what is proportionate, what properly balances the interests of the innovator with those of the consumer, and what sufficiently but properly protects the consumer against risk. EU regulation in many fields relies so much on the precautionary principle that it has a very negative effect on innovation. That places at risk the UK’s position as the best country in the world in which to conduct medical and scientific innovation, so for all those reasons I would resist the noble Lord’s amendment.