Beyond Brexit (European Union Committee Report) - Motion to Consider

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:38 pm on 12th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Labour 5:38 pm, 12th May 2020

My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Boswell, for his introduction to this debate and for the way in which, while chairing the European Union Committee of your Lordships’ House, he consistently sought to include the interests of the devolved nations of the United Kingdom in its deliberations and in the recommendations of its reports. That is as true of this report as it has been of previous reports.

I would like in particular to address recommendations 17, 20, 21, 37, 41 and 42. All stress the importance of engaging properly with the devolved Governments and Parliaments of the United Kingdom. Since 1999 and the creation of devolution in the UK, there has been strong engagement—consistent with the previous engagement with the Welsh and Scottish Offices—in UK delegations, in prior discussions and in ongoing technical work around EU legislation. That should continue after Brexit, as it did in the early years of devolution, when we were fully engaged in delegations, fully engaged in UK decision-making and fully engaged at the technical level too.

Also in relation to the Parliaments, I notice the recommendation that specific consideration be given to Members of the devolved Parliaments participating in any parliamentary Assembly. I think that the Parliaments in Holyrood, Cardiff and Belfast should automatically be part of the delegation, alongside the House of Lords and the House of Commons. That would be a positive step towards repairing some of the damage done to inter-UK relations over the past decade.