Amendment 236A

Part of Agriculture Bill - Committee (6th Day) – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 23rd July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Wigley Lord Wigley Plaid Cymru 9:45 pm, 23rd July 2020

My Lords, I am delighted to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff, and I agree very much with the points that she has made. They underpin the reason I added my name to Amendment 255, in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, who spoke earlier. The points made by the noble and learned Lord and the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, very much come together in the context of this amendment and this part of the Bill.

Earlier today, we started with a debate that was carried over from late on Tuesday evening. We discussed the relationship between the Governments of these islands, the way to secure a harmonious relationship within the UK single market and the need to get a framework for that purpose. The response that we got from the Minister to that debate, and particularly to the points that I raised at some length on Tuesday evening, was, quite frankly, non-existent. It is not good enough to say that we can have a semi-ad hoc working relationship between Ministers and that they will come together and sort things out. There has to be a formal framework.

I accept that the Minister, who replied to the earlier debate, might not be in a position to bring forward those proposals at this point, but in the light of points made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, and others, I press him very strongly to give a commitment at the end of this debate that, between now and Report, the Government will seriously look at some practical working framework arrangement that can be agreed between the four Governments and that meets the sort of practical difficulties that have been pinpointed in this series of debates.

I believe it is important to get that sorted out now and not to find further down the road that we are in an almighty mess and that unnecessary tensions have built up which threaten to undermine the structures that we are currently so keen to construct for a harmonious working of the agricultural market within these islands.