Amendment 46

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 5:00 pm, 16th January 2020

The clause that the noble Lord quoted comes under the consequential provisions. As I just said, the consequential power is construed strictly by the courts. I am advised by departmental lawyers that there is an extremely narrow focus; they are amendments that can be made only as a direct consequence of the Bill when it is enacted. I do not think that it in any way provides leeway for a Minister to make things up on the spur of the moment and amend primary legislation. The powers are very strictly constrained to consequential amendments, and this is not an unusual provision. It exists in many other Acts, including those I quoted earlier. We believe that moving the consequential provision to the affirmative procedure would frustrate the ability of departments to make consequential changes before exit day.

As I said also on the other amendments, I am sure that the noble Lord will agree that the use of the negative procedure does not prevent parliamentary scrutiny taking place. Members will still have the opportunity to pray against regulations should they consider it appropriate—and, as I said, there are the restrictions on the use of that power that I mentioned earlier.

I hope that, with the reassurances I have given noble Lords and a fuller explanation of the powers we propose to take, the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.