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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:19 pm on 12th May 2020.

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Photo of Viscount Trenchard Viscount Trenchard Conservative 6:19 pm, 12th May 2020

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Boswell, for introducing this debate, even if his committee’s interesting report was published 14 months ago. Much has changed since then. We have a new Prime Minister who has successfully negotiated a new withdrawal agreement, and the country has left the EU, at last delivering on the decision of the British people and fulfilling the promise made by the Government led by David Cameron.

Nevertheless, much of the report remains valid, and the committee has served your Lordships’ House well. The report deals extensively with the need to deploy whatever influence we can on our erstwhile EU partners during the implementation period. It recognises that our direct influence on the framing of EU laws and regulations has diminished because we are no longer in the room with the EU institutions. Does the Minister agree that the report should perhaps have recognised that this loss of influence at the EU level will be compensated for by the increase in influence at the global level where we will, just as soon as the implementation period is over, be in the room in our own right as a sovereign independent nation?

In many areas, rules and regulations are increasingly set at the global level, and we now have an opportunity to play our part in ensuring that the development of the global trading system continues to be based on rules-based competitive free trade and mutual recognition of equivalence of regulatory outcomes. We can be a strong advocate for the adoption of proportionate regulation which gives less weight to the precautionary principle and encourages innovation. In this endeavour, our natural allies will be the United States and Japan, as well as our Commonwealth partners, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Singapore and the other members of the CPTPP, and I trust the Minister will confirm that we will seek early accession to it.