Amendment 56A

Part of Professional Qualifications Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 22 June 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 4:15, 22 June 2021

My Lords, in the face of such Welsh expertise, I rise apprehensively as an Englishwoman to add my support to the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, and my noble friend Lady Randerson, and to support Wales and the Welsh Assembly. We all recognise that the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Welsh Assembly have different powers, remits and terms of reference. However, it seems strange that the Welsh Assembly is the only one to require the consent of a Minister of the Crown before being able to act, whereas the others do not. If devolution is truly to mean that the different nations have mastery over their countries, this surely cannot be necessary. The noble Baroness has already pointed out that Wales has prestigious bodies which could undertake these tasks.

The other thing which puzzles me is that the Bill talks about the consent of “a” Minister of the Crown, so it is not necessarily the Welsh Minister or a Minister who knows anything at all about Wales. It seems it could be any passing Minister who has a few minutes to spare, regardless of his or her Welsh knowledge. I do not know whether that is how the Government intend the legislation to read, but that is how I read it. This really is unnecessary, for all the good reasons that have already been said. These sections should be withdrawn. We need to retain the friendly regard and respect which the nations of the UK should have, one towards another. As my noble friend Lady Randerson said, there should be no right to override the Welsh Assembly in these matters.