Amendment 29

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Report (2nd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 21st January 2020.

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Photo of Lord Howarth of Newport Lord Howarth of Newport Labour 5:30 pm, 21st January 2020

As the noble Lord knows, I shared some of his frustrations about the last Parliament. However, in the last Parliament this House did not subvert the authority of the elected House but sought to be in consonance with its wishes. I therefore do not think that Members of Parliament need to be concerned —nor did they need to be concerned during the last Parliament—that the House of Lords is a threat to the House of Commons. That plainly is not the case in this Parliament.

Amendment 29 is a moderate amendment. There are two issues. One is the Government’s propensity to take excessive Henry VIII powers. The other is procedure—the manner in which Parliament should approve the regulation-making powers that would be brought forward under this legislation. My amendment does not seek to remove the Henry VIII powers. It does not say that Clause 41 should not stand part. I do not know what the consequences would be for the proper functioning of the legislation if I had sought to achieve that. I have sought to amend the aspect of the Bill dealing with the procedure for adopting regulation-making powers. I hope that the Government accept that it would be appropriate to substitute the affirmative resolution procedure for the negative one. Even then the amendment would not be ideal, because if your Lordships’ House rejected regulation-making powers under the affirmative procedure, there would be howls of protest, as my noble friend Lady Hayter observed earlier in our debates. It would be regarded as a constitutional outrage on the part of your Lordships’ House. At any rate, if the Government are willing to accept this amendment, it will enable Parliament as a whole—both Houses—to express its view on the legislation and, if necessary, for either House to reject any attempt that the Government might make, by way of regulations, to alter the principles of law or to rewrite primary legislation. I beg to move.