Amendment 48

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Opposition Whip (Lords) 5:15 pm, 16th January 2020

My Lords, I responded to an amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, on day 1 of Committee, so it seems we have come full circle. I offer a brief response to these further amendments regarding the independent monitoring authority. I understand that these are probing amendments, and I am keen to hear the Minister’s response, so I will not detain the Committee after three consecutive days of debate on this Bill, which I hope will not be a trend in future when debating Bills off the back of Brexit.

I am particularly interested in Amendments 49 and 50, which would prevent the Secretary of State from appointing a person to the IMA against the wishes of the relevant body. This suggestion strikes me as entirely sensible. Given previous ministerial assurances on the issues of devolution, I would be very interested to hear from the Minister in what circumstances the Government would seek to force through an appointment that had been opposed by a devolved Minister. If that were to happen, the current sub-paragraph (7) requires the Secretary of State to make a statement outlining the reasons for proceeding with that appointment. Can the Minister confirm what form this statement would take, and what opportunities, if any, the relevant devolved legislatures would have to hold the Secretary of State to account?