Amendment 1

Part of Agriculture Bill - Third Reading – in the House of Lords at 2:01 pm on 1st October 2020.

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Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative 2:01 pm, 1st October 2020

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes. I thank my noble friend for bringing forward this small group of amendments and will speak in particular to Amendments 1 and 4.

My concerns echo those expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes. This is a recurrent theme expressed by the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies which we hear of in the EU Environment Sub-Committee, on which I have the privilege to sit. In thanking my noble friend for listening to their concerns and bringing these amendments forward, I note that consent was given by the Scottish Parliament only yesterday, which seems quite late. Would my noble friend use his good offices to keep Parliament informed and update us on continued progress and on how this will impact negotiations and, afterwards, the implementation of the new policy? It is very important that the national Parliament at Westminster should be kept informed on the impact on the devolved Assemblies.

I take this opportunity, as I will not participate on the last stage, to thank my noble friend for his boundless patience, courtesy and tolerance during the many hours of debate. Through him, I thank the Bill team for the outstanding service they have performed to the House. I also thank the Public Bill Office and all who have been involved, including my noble friend’s able assistant, my noble friend Lady Bloomfield, who has been utterly charming and patient throughout this process.

As my noble friend Lord Gardiner is aware, I hoped he would have brought forward a government amendment on another issue. The House has spoken; it voted overwhelmingly, by I think a majority of 100, to take forward an amendment to the House of Commons on protecting our standards and ensuring that imported food products continue to meet these standards. I also look forward to my noble friend and his department’s response to the Dimbleby report, which would have been very helpful to have.

We are on a voyage of discovery, as there is very little detail about either the interim SFI or the ELMS proceedings—the sustainable farming initiative and the new environmental land management schemes. But we are at this stage, and I congratulate my noble friend on all the hard work from him and his department to get us here.