Amendment 3

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Report (1st Day) – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 20th January 2020.

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Photo of Lord Duncan of Springbank Lord Duncan of Springbank Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 5:45 pm, 20th January 2020

The noble and learned Lord raises a point that needs to be addressed head-on. The point is that we know that the existing powers whereby we can direct Welsh Ministers, or by using a Section 109 order, might well be inadequate for certain elements of the types of negotiations we anticipate. The problem we would have is that, if we place in the Bill all those aspects that we anticipate, we will run into some difficulty. They are primarily technical in nature, as might be expected in a negotiation of this complexity. The purpose of the powers is therefore to ensure the technical alignment of the various elements as we go forward to implement the Northern Ireland protocol. The ambition to do so will be done using the various instruments already available to us, including the Joint Ministerial Committee, which is primarily a method whereby we can examine the technicalities. The negotiations that will unfold will be technical and it might well be that out of that will emerge no elements in which we will need to invoke these powers—but, if we do need to do so, in areas where we anticipate that the current means to do so are not available, we would need to have these additional powers to move this matter forward.