Internal Market Information System Regulations (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2021 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 29th November 2022.

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Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) 4:15 pm, 29th November 2022

My Lords, I am sorry that the very interesting and, to me, quite new explanation for the IMI, and its rather interesting resonances for cultural goods and other material that needs to be notified from country to country, has not attracted a wide number of speakers. However, I will do my very best to enliven the House for a few seconds while we get to the point at which we make a decision about these important regulations.

My first question is very simple, and I was surprised that the Minister did not mention this in his introduction. Why the delay? This instrument was originally laid on 20 July 2021. It is still referred to as a 2021 regulation, although it seems to me that we are in 2022, almost 2023. There must be an explanation. It might be eluding the Minister at the moment, but I am sure that inspiration will arrive very shortly from the Box. We will wait for that to occur. It may or may not be important, but it links to what I want to say at the end. I therefore make the point now and look forward to the response.

It is very unusual for this House to have the leisure of so much time to consider regulations in any detail. Those of us who have struggled under many years of Conservative government legislation will know that we are often under pressure to read and respond to material at short notice. The idea that one has nearly 24 months to respond is one I could get used to very quickly.

Secondly, why is this being done at all? The main purpose here is to eliminate from the UK statute book things that are no longer relevant or which resonate with material relating to those who work or operate in parts of the United Kingdom other than Northern Ireland, so that the statute book is not cluttered up with that. However, as I understand it, but perhaps I am out of date, there is to be an EU Bill shortly which will do exactly the same thing. Perhaps I am reading something incorrect into these regulations, and if so, perhaps the Minister will correct me when he responds. However, this seems to be ahead of the plans of the former Secretary of State and his department. Of course, given that change, perhaps that Bill is no longer happening, but as I understand it the intention was to go through all the legislation retained after we left the EU to make sure that the statute book was uncluttered by it, yet here we have a statutory instrument doing that very job. Why is that?

Thirdly—I mention this because it raises issues relating to some of the affected material—we have not had an impact assessment and no consultation has taken place, as I understand it, on this statutory instrument. That is unusual, but not in relation to material carried forward from the exit from the EU. However, it would be helpful to those of us who have to consider these matters if we knew who precisely was affected. When he responds, can the Minister name any company or organisation that would be more profitable or even affected by the passing of this legislation? I look forward to his response.