My Lords, we must work collectively in this House, as the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, has so eloquently explained, to give real effect to the commitment in the gracious Speech to promote the strength and integrity of the union. I therefore particularly welcome the step taken at the end of the old Parliament by the Secretary of State for Wales and the noble Baroness, Lady Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist, to set about constructive discussion with Peers who have a particular interest in Wales.
There are four matters in particular which we should address together. First, there are the common frameworks —I have had the privilege of serving on the committee for their scrutiny, so ably chaired by the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews. The name of these instruments does not suggest for a moment that they are of much interest or importance, but the first report of the committee, published on
Secondly, I will refer to the levelling-up funds, which Part 6 of the internal market Act permits this Government to use in areas of devolved competence. When these provisions were debated in this House and at the final stages of ping-pong on
Thirdly, I will refer to the absence of proper structures for developing UK-wide policies on which again we in this House ought to work together. There are two basic problems: first, the current structures do not sufficiently involve the devolved Administrations and their Parliaments and, secondly—[Inaudible.]
Finally, I will refer to the balance of power between the Executive, the legislature and the courts. This must reflect a properly balanced, interdependent relationship between these three powers of the state. There is nothing that I can possibly add to the eloquent speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, explaining how the balance has swung too far in favour of the Executive, to the detriment of Parliament, particularly in the light of our method of legislation, and particularly framework legislation, so clearly summarised by the noble Lord, Lord Lisvane. It is important to stress that it is in that context that the position of the courts must be set.
To go back to my theme about the need to work together to strengthen the union, there is one point I must mention. The proposals will also have implications for the devolved nations. Therefore, I trust that the Government will look at ensuring that the Parliaments and Executives in those nations have a decisive voice in the arrangements in so far as they may be affected by these proposals, because they relate as much to democracy in the devolved nations as they do to democracy within the United Kingdom as a whole.