Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Third Reading – in the House of Lords at 8:30 pm on 21st January 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Ludford Baroness Ludford Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 8:30 pm, 21st January 2020

My Lords, I too thank everyone involved in the Bill: Ministers, the Opposition, the Cross-Benches, the Bill team and other officials, the clerks and other staff of the House and, as the Minister mentioned, the committees of the House, which provided us with such useful and timely reports. Of course, I also thank the many colleagues on my own Liberal Democrat Benches—too numerous to mention—who have taken part in the Bill’s proceedings, as well as my leader and noble friend Lord Newby, my Chief Whip and noble friend Lord Stoneham, and our adviser Elizabeth Plummer who is, quite frankly, indispensable to us.

Clearly, we would have preferred not to have had this Bill. We on these Benches continue to think that Brexit is a bad mistake and that the UK will, sooner or later, re-join the EU. We feel that this Bill has been improved by the detailed scrutiny and votes in this House that I believe we were entirely right to deliver. We have improved the Bill in two major areas: first, respect for people—the rights of EU citizens and child refugees—and, secondly, respect for the law and the constitution regarding the courts, judicial independence and the devolution settlement. We hope that the other place will consider those carefully, but I am bearing in mind what the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, has just said. I strongly believe that we have given value for the many days of work we have done on the Bill. I just wish that the Government had been in listening mode.