Regulations under Part 1

Trade Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 30 January 2018.

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Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade 2:30, 30 January 2018

I beg to move amendment 13, in schedule 2, page 12, line 5, leave out from “section 1(1)” to the end of line 6 and insert

“may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”

This would require regulations implementing the Agreement on Government Procurement to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

This amendment is a simple but vital first attempt to restore democracy to the Trade Bill. It is simple because it replaces the negative resolution procedure the Government wish to use for future regulations under paragraph 2(1) of schedule 2 with an affirmative resolution procedure. It is vital because, without that, the Government have carte blanche to introduce regulations to implement the obligations arising from our independent membership of the GPA without the slightest hint of anything resembling parliamentary scrutiny. While the UK is a member of the World Trade Organisation in its own right and will continue to be so after Brexit, we are a member of the WTO’s plurilateral government procurement agreement only by virtue of our EU membership. We know that the Government will have to initiate a separate parliamentary procedure under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 to prepare for the UK to rejoin the GPA in its own right. I am pleased the Minister made the commitment in our first line-by-line session last Thursday that there will be a vote in Parliament to decide on the terms under which we rejoin the GPA.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. That is not a correct assessment of what I said on Thursday. I said we would allow the power for Parliament to bring forward a vote under the Act. It is clearly stated in Hansard.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

Good Lord, Mr Davies, it’s a jolly good job I have an extract from the Hansard here. I will press on and then quote from it.

CRAGA does not require there to be a debate or a vote on any treaty laid before Parliament under its terms, as has been repeatedly confirmed by the House of Commons Library via an expert witness from the Hansard Society and by everybody else who has read the Act or knows what it says. Yet, it certainly leaves the possibility open for Government to hold that vote if they are prepared to do so. Again, I am pleased the Minister reaffirmed last week not only that it is possible under CRAGA for the Government to bring forward a vote on the UK’s terms of entry into the GPA, but that

“the terms on which the UK enters the GPA in our own right will be subject to a separate vote in Parliament.”—[Official Report, Trade Public Bill Committee, 25 January 2018; c. 131.]

Those are the words the Minister actually used. I am surprised he wants to cavil about them now. As he knows, our dissatisfaction with CRAGA is that it includes no requirement for a debate or a vote on a treaty laid before Parliament under its provisions. We are dependent on the good will of the Government as to whether Parliament is granted or denied the opportunity for a vote.

In this instance, I thought the Government had confirmed that there will be a vote, not that there might be, depending on the Labour party, so we look forward to the Government introducing that debate in Government time. However, that in no way deals with the broader issue of why Parliament should be dependent on the Government’s good will to have the opportunity to exercise its rights to due democratic process.

Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South 2:45, 30 January 2018

It has been widely documented that the use of the negative resolution procedure the Bill proposes affords Members less opportunity for scrutiny in the House than is currently enjoyed by Members of the European Parliament. Indeed, Jude Kirton-Darling MEP told the Committee in no uncertain terms that the Bill is

“an enormous step back in democratic oversight of trade agreements.”—[Official Report, Trade Public Bill Committee, 23 January 2018; c. 43, Q86.]

Does my hon. Friend therefore agree that, for the Government to meet their commitment that the Bill will replicate existing arrangements as closely as possible, they must support the amendment to ensure the opportunity for scrutiny enjoyed by Members is closer to that currently enjoyed by MEPs?

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

Indeed—my hon. Friend is right. Many Members on both sides of the House think it a travesty that we are afforded less opportunity to scrutinise things and less transparency than is afforded to our colleagues in the European Parliament.

On the agreement on government procurement, once we have had our opportunity to debate and vote on the terms under which we will rejoin it, the Government will then lodge our annexes with the WTO. The next stage is to issue the regulations that will implement the terms of our accession to the GPA, and then, in the years thereafter, to make changes to our domestic legislation that reflect the accession of new parties to the GPA or the withdrawal of any countries that decide to leave it.

It is important to note that that is not a temporary power covered by a sunset clause, as with the international trade agreements in clause 2. This is a permanent power for the Government to issue regulations implementing the UK’s obligations under the GPA into the indeterminate future—for as long as the WTO remains and the GPA is one of its constituent agreements. When we look at the fine detail of the Bill, we yet again discover that it is not a temporary little Bill about rolling over existing agreements; it actually has permanent, lasting effect. The roll-over powers could give Ministers the powers in perpetuity, under the Henry VIII provision.

We hear that the Bill is small, necessary, timely and time-limited, but in actual fact it is not. Our amendment 13 seeks to replace the negative resolution procedure, which the Government wish to apply to clause 1(1), with the affirmative procedure. I will remind the Committee of what that means so that we have a proper understanding of what we are talking about in this context, because it will also be essential to several later amendments that we will bring forward to other parts of the Bill.

The scrutiny procedure for delegated legislation in the House of Commons has come in for intense criticism in the context of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. That criticism is well merited. The Hansard Society’s expert report, “Taking Back Control for Brexit and Beyond”, lifted the veil on just how badly the system is failing to deliver the necessary scrutiny of secondary legislation at precisely the moment we need full confidence in it as we rebuild our system of checks and balances for the post-Brexit future. That report does not make pleasant reading.

The negative resolution procedure the Government propose for regulations under clause 1(1) is the least rigorous of all parliamentary procedures available. Secondary legislation subject to the negative resolution becomes law automatically once it has been laid before Parliament and has remained unchallenged for the requisite number of days—no need for a debate, no call for a vote. MPs may pray against any regulation by means of an early-day motion, but there is no obligation for the Government to schedule parliamentary time to debate that prayer.

The convention is that prayers made by Her Majesty’s official Opposition should receive parliamentary time for a debate, yet even then there is no guarantee that the convention will be respected. In the 2015-16 parliamentary Session, the Leader of the Opposition tabled a dozen prayer motions for debate—five were granted. Of the 585 negative instruments laid before Parliament in that session, only 3% were even debated. In the following parliamentary Session, fewer than one in 100 statutory instruments subject to the negative resolution procedure were debated at all.

The main point of the negative resolution procedure is to allow the Government to have their way without any need to bother parliamentary democracy, and it has been spectacularly successful. The last time a negative instrument was successfully annulled in the House of Commons was the Paraffin (Maximum Retail Prices) (Revocation) Order in 1979. I think that tells the story about what is intended by making these provisions subject to the negative resolution procedure.

Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

Almost every individual who has appeared before this Committee over the past week, from business leaders to academics, civil activists and lawyers, has told us that more needs to be done by way of parliamentary scrutiny in this Bill. If the Government will not support these amendments, what good reason do they have to ignore the recommendations of these individuals?

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

Again, my hon. Friend puts it very succinctly and very well.

The delegated powers memorandum argues that the negative resolution procedure is appropriate to implement the UK’s obligations as an independent member of the GPA. It argues that it would be inappropriate to demand primary legislation to bring in the legislative changes necessary to reflect our new status as an independent GPA member, as this could introduce a significant delay in the proceedings.

Labour Members agree; we are not opposing the Government on that point. Primary legislation would be inappropriate to implement our obligations under the GPA once we had fully debated the terms on which we were joining the agreement, as the Minister promised us last Thursday that we will. Yet the issue here is not primary versus secondary legislation; it is negative versus affirmative in respect of the resolution procedure that governs the secondary legislation.

We simply do not believe that the negative procedure can be appropriate, precisely because of the lasting damage that could be done to contractors currently providing councils with goods and services if the regulations about Government procurement are made wrongly. Nor do we accept the Government’s contention that they must be allowed to use the negative resolution procedure because of time pressures inherent in the GPA itself. It is entirely spurious to suggest that the 30-day period between depositing the UK’s instrument of accession to the GPA and the accession coming into force is in any way coterminous with the drafting of a statutory instrument and its passage through Parliament.

The guidance on drafting statutory instruments issued by the Government Legal Service recommends allowing an absolute minimum of 22 weeks for the very simplest of negative instruments, with more complex ones requiring anything up to 61 weeks from their inception to the time they come into force—that is, well over year. Affirmative resolution instruments require only marginally longer, depending again on how complex they are—the Government Legal Service suggests allowing 26 to 67 weeks. In both cases, the process requires many months of planning beyond the 30-day period stipulated in the GPA. Government officials will have had to start work on the secondary legislation months in advance of depositing the UK’s accession instruments with the WTO, and they can just as easily factor in an affirmative resolution procedure as they can a negative one.

When it comes to the future accession of other WTO members to the GPA, which may well happen, the situation is even more acute. Here, Members of Parliament will have had no opportunity to consider any of the ramifications of opening up our public procurement contracts to new countries. So the only chance we will have of subjecting those new regulations to any scrutiny will come through the procedure that we enshrine in this Bill.

The WTO lists 10 countries that are in the process of acceding to the GPA: Albania, Australia, China, Georgia, Jordan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Oman, Russia, Tajikistan and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Five other WTO members have undertaken commitments in their WTO accession protocols to initiate accession to the GPA: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and the Seychelles. If and when they do accede, the UK will need to open up its Government procurement contracts to suppliers from every one of those countries. Once again, we agree with the Government that it would be overly burdensome to require new primary legislation every time another country accedes to the GPA. We are not asking for that. But we disagree that new Government regulations to implement our obligations should just be passed through on the nod. That is why we are arguing for the affirmative procedure in this case too.

Once again, the Government’s argument that we are constrained by the 30-day period between a country’s accession and our having to grant that country access to the UK’s public procurement market is entirely spurious. We will have been party to the negotiations surrounding their accession for months beforehand, giving Government officials ample time to prepare the requisite instrument for either negative or affirmative resolution.

This is a blunder. Even where a statutory instrument is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, the scrutiny that it undergoes is still remarkably light. MPs who have previously been assigned to Delegated Legislation Committees—and there will be many in this House—know they are not encouraged by the Whips to engage and speak. The affirmative resolution procedure has been called farcical and a waste of time. The Hansard Society notes, not surprisingly, that this system is “not fit for purpose”. It concludes with the stinging rebuke to all of us who are responsible for the proper functioning of Parliament that

“MPs can no longer be indifferent to the inadequacies in the system. They must now finally take seriously their democratic responsibility for delegated legislation.”

That is why the Labour party has tabled amendments to the Bill calling for an upgrading of the process for parliamentary scrutiny in respect of regulations stemming from our new trade obligations. As we have noted repeatedly, those obligations are serious. They are binding commitments made in international treaties that cannot easily be repealed. Domestic legislation can be repealed much more easily. If there was ever an example of secondary legislation crying out for proper parliamentary scrutiny and oversight, this is it. For the regulations necessary to implement obligations arising from the UK’s independent membership of the GPA, we consider the affirmative resolution procedure to be appropriate and proportionate. However imperfect the system is, at least the affirmative procedure provides Members of Parliament with the possibility of a debate and a vote. It is then up to us to make proper use of that opportunity.

Having heard the objections of such an independent body as the Hansard Society, I hope Government Members will agree with us—on this amendment at least—and support it.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

The UK currently participates in the government procurement agreement, known as the GPA, through our EU membership. The GPA offers UK businesses guaranteed access to approximately £1.3 trillion per annum of global public contract opportunities. We intend to remain in the GPA with the same rights and obligations that we currently enjoy as part of the European Union. Those were negotiated by the EU on behalf of member states for the 1994 GPA. The 2012 revised GPA was negotiated by the EU and scrutinised by the European scrutiny Committees in Parliament.

The power in clause 1 is a narrow one designed to allow us to implement the GPA as an independent member, as well as to reflect new parties joining and crucially—the hon. Member for Brent North rather overlooked this—to allow existing parties to withdraw from it. It will be a case of the UK using clause 1 to reflect having a new status within an existing, established agreement on procurement.

We need to be able to use the power quickly, so that UK businesses can continue to benefit from guaranteed access to an annual global procurement market worth £1.3 trillion. Parliament will have the opportunity to scrutinise the terms of the UK’s independent membership through the CRAG process. That process gives this House the power to consider, and where it felt this was appropriate, to block the UK’s ratification of the GPA.

I would like to clear up what I think is a misinterpretation by the hon. Member for Brent North of our exchanges last Thursday. I have conveniently acquired a copy of Hansard. I said:

“in other words, it is possible to bring a vote in Parliament”.

That does not say that there will be a vote in Parliament. We all know that is how the negative procedure works. It is possible to bring a vote in Parliament on the terms under which the UK will join the GPA.

The hon. Member for Brent North intervened, seeking clarification. I gave him that clarification. I repeated:

“That is why I was careful to clarify that it is possible to bring forward a vote on the UK’s terms of entry into the GPA.”

That is not guaranteeing a vote; that is saying that it is possible to have a vote.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

I agree with the Minister’s interpretation of what he has just read out. Does he accept that he also said the following:

“the terms on which the UK enters the GPA in our own right will be subject to a separate vote in Parliament”?—[Official Report, Trade Public Bill Committee, 25 January 2018; c. 131.]

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

Hence, the clarification, twice over, to be absolutely precise how that vote would work. I know the hon. Gentleman has attacked the negative resolution procedure, but I do not remember any such exhortation when he was a Minister under Tony Blair—I did not listen to every single thing he said in those years, but I do not recall that. I think he would have troubled the scorers if he had attacked such a procedure at the time under CRAG, which as we know is an Act of Parliament introduced by the last Labour Government.

The hon. Member for Brent North confirmed last week that he did indeed vote for CRAG. He said it was important in the days when the treaties in question had already been scrutinised by the EU and scrutiny was also passed down to

“this Parliament, where the European Scrutiny Committee…would examine forensically the contents passed from Europe”.—[Official Report, Trade Public Bill Committee, 25 January 2018; c. 149.]

I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that the revised GPA in 2012 went through the very process he described to the Committee and the very process that he voted for in 2010.

The hon. Gentleman asked why the GPA power is not time-limited. The answer is that new accessions to the GPA are covered by the clause to ensure that the UK does not breach its own GPA commitments. It is also essential to have the power to reflect withdrawals to ensure that withdrawing parties do not continue to enjoy guaranteed access to UK procurement markets. I will speak in more detail about withdrawals from the GPA.

The hon. Gentleman asserted that the GPA power continues into perpetuity, including the Henry VIII power. There is no Henry VIII power in clause 1, which allows for the implementation of the GPA. The powers in clause 1 are narrow in scope. They are designed to allow the UK to make legislative changes that reflect its new status as an independent member but, none the less, as a member of an existing and settled agreement.

The UK needs to use the power in clause 1 quickly to prevent UK businesses from losing guaranteed access to valuable procurement markets. The revised GPA has already been scrutinised by the EU and the European Scrutiny Committee, using the powerful microscope the hon. Gentleman described last week and for which he voted not so long ago.

Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

Last Thursday my hon. Friend the Member for Brent North spoke of the emails members of this Committee had received from members of the public urging them to amend this Bill to protect our democracy. The number of these emails in my inbox—and, I am sure, in all other Members’ inboxes—has reached just over 5,000. If the Government will not support these amendments to introduce at least some degree of parliamentary scrutiny, what good reason can they give the 5,000 individuals who have taken time to contact us for ignoring their concerns?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, because it allows me to put on the record something that concerned all members of this Committee when they logged on last Tuesday and discovered, seemingly, a large number of emails—hundreds and, in one case, 1,200—about this Bill. I am sure he, in the course of being a good constituency MP, would seek to check whether those emails were, indeed, from his constituents. I have to report that my colleague who received 1,200 such emails discovered, following further examination by his very diligent parliamentary staff, that precisely four of those 1,200 emails came from his constituents.

I would say to the hon. Gentleman that, in respecting parliamentary rules, I would have a close look at those emails and ask where they are coming from. Is the hon. Gentleman, indeed, answerable to these people? All of them will have a Member of Parliament in this House who will be the right person to direct those emails to. Getting 5,000 emails from across Britain in relation to one issue in this Parliament need not necessarily be representative of a wider move against this Bill, which is a technical Bill all about the continuity of our existing trading arrangements.

Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

I thank the Minister for giving me time. This is a national issue; it is not just a constituency-based issue. I understand that there is parliamentary procedure and that we do not have to reply to all those emails if they are not from our constituents. However, surely it tells us, as parliamentarians, that the problems and issues among the general public and in the business environment are quite immense.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. We might be going too far down this road. I do not want to sound in any way condescending to a new Member, and my only advice to him, having been a Member in this House for 12 years, would be that the receipt of 5,000 emails from 650 constituencies is an average of nine emails per constituency. If he is suggesting that we make public policy, and that each of us makes our policy decisions, based on the opinions of nine constituents, I do not believe that would be a helpful road for us to go down.

Returning to the GPA, the UK’s independent membership will be considered under the CRAG process, meaning Parliament will be able to scrutinise the terms of the UK joining the GPA before the GPA can join, as I referred to in the debate on Thursday. The Government therefore believe that the negative resolution procedure provides an appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny for the power to implement the GPA in clause 1.

Furthermore, the Opposition amendment would also apply the affirmative resolution procedure when the UK uses clause 1 to make regulations to reflect new parties joining the GPA or—this is a very important point—existing parties withdrawing from it. In the case of new and withdrawing parties, it is important that the UK is able to respond quickly and flexibly. Once a new party deposits its instrument of accession, there is a period of only 30 days before that accession comes into force. The UK will then be under an immediate obligation to provide that new party with guaranteed access to UK procurement opportunities covered by the GPA. If the UK failed to offer the new party this guaranteed access, it would be in breach of its GPA commitment. On the other hand, a party to the GPA can decide to withdraw unilaterally, and where a party notifies the GPA committee that they intend to withdraw, they will cease to be a GPA member just 60 days later. Therefore, it is vital we are able to react quickly to such a notification.

If the power to amend UK legislation to reflect parties withdrawing from the GPA were subject to any affirmative procedure, the UK might not be able to legislate in time to remove the party by the 60-day time limit, which, of course, could result in the UK contracting authorities continuing to give guaranteed access to UK markets to a party that is leaving or had already left the GPA, and was therefore no longer entitled to access.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

I am listening carefully to the Minister. Does that 60-day timescale for countries seceding from the GPA mean that in those cases the Minister will not be able to fulfil the guidelines for statutory instruments that I referred to? If that is the case, it suggests that at an absolute minimum a statutory instrument, even on the negative procedure that he proposes, would only be for 22 weeks and at the outside for 60 weeks. Is he confirming to the Committee that in those circumstances, the guidelines laid down by the Government and Parliament in this area, even for the negative procedure, would not apply?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

I want to make sure of the answer to the hon. Gentleman’s question. Perhaps I can pledge to write to him, copying in other members of the Committee and you, Mr Davies, on precisely how this fits in with our statutory instrument procedures.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

To conclude, the withdrawing party would have no obligation to give UK businesses reciprocal access to its procurement markets, and it is of course vital that Parliament has the opportunity to scrutinise new accessions to the GPA.

I reassured the Committee last week and earlier today that we want to ensure a clear and significant role for Parliament in scrutinising future trade agreements. The provisions will enable those agreements to be completed effectively and efficiently, while respecting due process in Parliament. New accessions to the GPA will be included within that scrutiny process. That will ensure that Parliament can scrutinise new accessions during accession negotiations. The power that we are discussing will be used after that scrutiny, and approval of the accession, so I invite the hon. Member for Brent North to withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

I am grateful to the Minister for his assurance that he will write to the Committee, but I will press the amendment to a vote, because it makes an important point.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 9, Noes 10.

Division number 13 Caledonian Pinewood Forest — Regulations under Part 1

Aye: 9 MPs

No: 10 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

I beg to move amendment 16, in schedule 2, page 12, line 5, leave out “or 2(1)”.

This is linked to amendments 14, 15, 17, 19 and 20.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 14, in schedule 2, page 12, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) in respect of a free trade agreement which meets the criteria under section 2(3) may not be made unless all provisions of paragraph 2A have been satisfied.”

This amendment is linked to amendments 15 and 16, which would require the United Kingdom’s free trade agreements with third countries which already have a corresponding agreement with the European Union to be subject to a super-affirmative resolution procedure prior to ratification.

Amendment 15, in schedule 2, page 12, line 17, at end insert—

“Scrutiny of corresponding agreements: super-affirmative procedure

2A (1) Before a free trade agreement which meets the criteria under section 2(3) and to which the United Kingdom is a signatory may be ratified, the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament—

(a) a draft order to the effect that the agreement be ratified, and

(b) a document which explains why the Secretary of State believes that the agreement should be ratified.

(2) The Secretary of State may make an order in the terms of the draft order laid under subparagraph (1) if—

(a) after the expiry of a period of 21 sitting days after the draft order is laid, no committee of either House of Parliament has recommended that the order should not be made, and

(b) after the expiry of a period of 40 sitting days after the draft order is laid, a motion in the terms of the draft order is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(3) If a committee of either House of Parliament recommends that an order should not be made under subparagraph (2), the Secretary of State may, after the expiry of a period of 60 sitting days after the draft order is laid, make a motion for a resolution in each House of Parliament in the terms of the draft order.

(4) If a motion in the terms of the draft order is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament under subparagraph (2)(b) or (3), the Secretary of State may make an order in the terms of the draft order.

(5) A free trade agreement to which this paragraph applies shall not be deemed to be a treaty for the purposes of Part 2 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

(6) In section 25 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, after subsection (1)(b), at end insert—

‘but does not include a free trade agreement to which paragraph 2A of Schedule 2 to the Trade Act 2018 applies.’”

This would require the United Kingdom’s free trade agreements with third countries which already have a corresponding agreement with the European Union to be subject to a super-affirmative resolution procedure prior to ratification.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

Let me state for the record that I am grateful to you, Mr Davies, and to the Clerks for agreeing to the reordering that we requested, so that amendments 14 and 15 could be selected with amendment 16, and debated ahead of amendments 17 and 19. I will try to make it clear why that is necessary.

I touched on the central problem of the Bill in my opening remarks in Committee when we first began our line-by-line examination of it. The Bill provides for the Government to issue regulations that will implement the UK’s new trade agreements with countries that currently have a trade agreement with the EU. The new UK trade agreement need bear no resemblance whatever to the EU agreement that it replaces; the Bill contains nothing requiring the UK agreement to match or mirror the EU’s existing agreement in any way, shape or form. It can be a wholly new departure with wholly new obligations. All the Bill requires is that the other signatory and the European Union were signatories to a trade agreement before Brexit took effect.

As we know from our witness sessions, there is every possibility that our trading partners will seek to use the negotiations on a new agreement with the UK to reopen any areas where they were unhappy with the outcome of their negotiations with the European Union. That is precisely what South Africa’s Trade Minister, Rob Davies, confirmed last year when he said that South Africa would be looking to expand the agricultural trade quotas and revisit the sanitary and phytosanitary measures that were negotiated as part of the EU’s economic partnership agreement with the Southern African Development Community.

Nor will the new UK agreement have undergone any process of scrutiny akin to the process that currently pertains, in which both the EU and our European Scrutiny Committee examine and debate trade agreements as they are being negotiated, as well as when they are being prepared for signing and ratification. Instead, the Government must simply lay the text of any new agreement before Parliament for 21 sitting days, as we have discussed extensively.

Using the power granted by the Bill, the Government can issue implementing regulations by means of the negative procedure, effectively removing Parliament from the process. That is why the Library briefing, which I cited earlier, is undeniably correct in stating bluntly that the Bill

“seeks to minimise Parliament’s role”.

Rather than repeating what I said, I will quote Mr Grieve; he asked the Secretary of State for International Trade:

“does the delegated powers memorandum not make it absolutely clear that the powers are broad enough to enable not just the implementation of these agreements, but their substantial amendment, including the creation of new obligations? Does that not then make it sensible—I urge him to do this—for the Government to look, as the Bill progresses, at ways to ensure that those can be properly scrutinised? That is because the methods we currently have of the European Scrutiny Committee and the European Parliament will no longer exist. That is a relevant issue for this House, and if the Government were to look at it in a sensible light, the Bill would be improved.”—[Official Report, 9 January 2018; Vol. 634, c. 218.]

I could not have put it better. The right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield is absolutely right. This is the moment for the Government to look at the issue in the sensible light that he proposed, and to make those necessary improvements to the Bill.

Schedule 2(2) is where the issue comes to a head, as it deals with parliamentary scrutiny of regulations that will implement the new UK trade agreements designed to replace those we have by virtue of being in the EU. Our amendment 15, the substantive amendment in this group, speaks directly to our desire to ensure that Parliament can subject the new free trade agreements to proper scrutiny.

I point out again that amendment 15 speaks to the UK’s new free trade agreements—the significant, comprehensive trade agreements that are notifiable under article XXIV of the general agreement on tariffs and trade and article V of the general agreement on trade in services. It does not suggest that we need to adopt such a process in respect of the other trade agreements that remain undefined in the Bill, namely mutual recognition agreements and the like. We are concerned with major free trade agreements that could have lasting social and economic impacts—precisely the type of treaty that has aroused public anger and resistance to the free trade agenda over the past few years.

Amendment 15 introduces a super-affirmative procedure to the process prior to ratification. This is the only procedure available to Parliament that ensures a proper level of scrutiny, guaranteeing both Houses of Parliament a vote on whether to approve the ratification of a new treaty. It provides for a Committee of either House to recommend rejection of the treaty; that goes some way towards replacing the lost powers of the European Scrutiny Committee. As per normal parliamentary custom, the precise function of such a Committee would be detailed in the Standing Orders.

We have deliberately constructed this amendment in such a way that the process applies prior to ratification. It would require the Government to lay before Parliament a draft order under which the trade agreement in question would be ratified. During the period covered by the Bill’s sunset clause, any UK free trade agreements that met the criteria of clause 2(3) would go through this process, rather than through CRAGA.

Once the new UK trade agreement has undergone this process of enhanced scrutiny, it will be possible to relax the level of scrutiny for the regulations needed to implement the trade agreement, as the treaty itself will have been through sufficient scrutiny prior to its ratification. This is why we needed to reorder the groups of amendments so as to take amendment 15 before amendment 19. If amendment 15 is voted through, we will not need amendment 19, as the scrutiny will already have taken place prior to ratification.

If, on the other hand, the Government vote down amendment 15, we will have failed to introduce a proper process of scrutiny prior to ratification. In that instance, trade agreements will have been ratified with a minimum of parliamentary involvement. We will therefore need to rely on scrutiny of the implementing regulations. We would then press to a vote amendment 19, which provides for the super-affirmative procedure.

Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South 3:15, 30 January 2018

The super-affirmative procedure closely replicates the powers that MEPs enjoy in the European Union, so does my hon. Friend agree that if the Government are to meet their commitment that the Bill will replicate existing arrangements as closely as possible, they must support the amendment?

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

Again, my hon. Friend makes the point about the discrepancy between the scrutiny available to us here in this sovereign Parliament and the scrutiny available to members of the European Parliament. It would seem entirely at odds with the Government’s stated purpose for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill if we ended up having fewer scrutiny powers than Members of the European Parliament. That would seem to be a travesty.

I look forward with perhaps slightly more than the usual expectation to the Minister’s response to the amendment, given that this is the issue on which not only the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield spoke on Second Reading, but on which several other hon. Members from across the House registered their profound concern. This is the moment when we discover whether the Government are prepared to heed the calls of right hon. and hon. Members alike and look at the Bill in a much more sensible way.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

Let me reassure hon. Members that I listened very carefully to what the hon. Member for Brent North said. First, let me repeat that the majority of free trade agreements within the scope of the Bill have already been ratified, and Parliament had the opportunity to scrutinise them during ratification. Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee also scrutinised these agreements when they were negotiated, included, signed and provisionally applied. They had, of course, already gone through the European Parliament process as well, to which the hon. Member for Warrington South helpfully drew our attention.

The Government have made clear their intention to ratify by exit date all the EU free trade agreements that currently provisionally apply, including the EU-Canada comprehensive economic and trade agreement, and the economic partnership agreement with the Southern African Development Community, or SADC.

The hon. Member for Brent North drew attention to the comments of a South African Minister. To be honest, I cannot remember precisely whom he referred to, but for clarity I refer him to the memorandum of understanding signed by the Secretary of State for International Trade in South Africa in either August or September. Both parties specifically agreed to transition the agreement and maintain continuity, without substantive change. Whatever the hon. Gentleman’s South African said, the memorandum of understanding is absolutely clear in that regard. As I said to the International Trade Committee last week, 70-plus countries have agreed in principle to maintain continuity in trading arrangements. For example, we signed a similar memorandum with the CARIFORUM group to do precisely that.

Parliament’s scrutiny of these agreements, which have already been scrutinised, will be guaranteed by the process under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. As we have made clear, this is a technical exercise to secure continuity in our existing trading arrangements, not an opportunity to renegotiate the terms of existing agreements. That means that further scrutiny of those agreements, the benefits of which are already felt by businesses and consumers, is unnecessary. As we have made clear, we want Parliament to play a vital role in the scrutiny of future trade agreements that are not covered by the Bill, but that is for a separate occasion. We made clear in the trade White Paper and in this Committee on Thursday that our future trade policy must be transparent and inclusive.

Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

We heard from many witnesses last week that so-called roll-over agreements not only will be legally distinct from our existing EU agreements, but are likely to be substantially different in their terms. Does the Minister agree that those new agreements need to be subjected to adequate scrutiny and parliamentary oversight, and that a super-affirmative procedure is appropriate?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. I very much appreciate the way, as a new Member, he is getting stuck into the Bill, but I remind him that, in terms of securing the continuity of agreements, more than 70 countries have now agreed that there will not be substantive change. I mentioned South Africa, with which we have a memorandum of understanding saying that. There is no need to re-scrutinise agreements that are substantively the same and have already been through the proper scrutiny processes of both Houses. That is why we made clear in the trade White Paper and in this Committee on Thursday that our future trade policy must be transparent and inclusive, and that Parliament will be engaged throughout the process. I therefore ask the hon. Member for Brent North to withdraw amendment 16.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 7, Noes 10.

Division number 14 Caledonian Pinewood Forest — Regulations under Part 1

Aye: 7 MPs

No: 10 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

I beg to move amendment 17, in schedule 2, page 12, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”

This would require regulations implementing international trade agreements to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment 19, in schedule 2, page 12, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) may not be made except in accordance with the steps in subparagraphs (1B) to (1E).

(1B) The Minister shall lay before Parliament—

(a) a draft of the regulations, and

(b) a document which explains why the Secretary of State believes that regulations should be made in terms of the draft regulations.

(1C) The Minister may make an order in the terms of the draft regulations laid under subparagraph (1B) if—

(a) after the expiry of a period of 21 sitting days after the draft regulations are laid, no committee of either House of Parliament has recommended that the regulations should not be made, and

(b) after the expiry of a period of 60 sitting days after the draft regulations are laid, the draft regulations are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(1D) If a committee of either House of Parliament recommends that the regulations should not be made, the Secretary of State may—

(a) lay before Parliament revised draft regulations, or

(b) after the expiry of a period of 40 sitting days after the revised draft regulations are laid, make a motion for a resolution in each House of Parliament for approval of the draft regulations.

(1E) If a motion under subparagraph (1D)(b) is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State may make the regulations.”

This would require regulations implementing international trade agreements to be subject to the super-affirmative resolution procedure.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

Amendment 19 would require any regulations implementing new UK trade agreements to be subject to a super-affirmative procedure. If the Government are not willing to allow us the super-affirmative procedure prior to ratification, as they have just shown they are not, we will be compelled to argue for it afterwards. Clearly, we would prefer to keep the stable door shut rather than having to retrieve the horse after it has bolted, but if we could at least provide for some parliamentary process subjecting implementing regulations to scrutiny, that would be better than nothing. As it is presently constituted, nothing is precisely what the Bill offers.

The procedure mirrors that which we seek to introduce with amendment 15: namely, in this case, a proper process granting Parliament the power to subject implementing regulations to scrutiny. The provisions are drawn from existing primary legislation that provides for enhanced scrutiny in other contexts. Once again, the key elements of them are that a Committee of either House can object to the regulations, and that both Houses must give their approval before the Secretary of State can proceed with making the regulations.

Amendment 17 is, in a sense, our fall-back position should amendment 19 not succeed. I cannot believe that the Government will risk the ire of right hon. and hon. Members from the Conservative party as well as the Opposition parties by turning down every single attempt to introduce scrutiny provisions to the Bill. We would have preferred something altogether more rigorous than just intervening at the late stage of implementing regulations, but if that is all that the Minister is prepared to leave us with, we will have to satisfy ourselves with that meagre pottage. In the relevant Delegated Legislation Committee we would then be able to have a debate and vote when the implementing regulations were submitted.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade 3:30, 30 January 2018

I think we are potentially about to have quite a similar debate to the one that we just had, but let me be as succinct as I can. I remind Members that this power will be used only to introduce regulations that reflect current obligations in our EU trade agreements. That means that we are not seeking to change the effects of our existing trade agreements through the power. The agreements have already been examined by Parliament as part of its regular scrutiny of EU business. Ratified free trade agreements have already been through the normal parliamentary scrutiny process for treaty ratification.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

The Minister said that the Government are not proposing to change the provisions in any of the treaties. I think he said earlier in our debate that 71 countries had already agreed. Could he just clarify for the Committee once and for all, because he has failed to do so thus far, whether that includes Norway, Switzerland and Turkey?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

I thank the hon. Gentleman, but we have already covered that ground as well. The agreements with Norway, Turkey and Switzerland will inevitably be dependent on our future trading relationship with the European Union, because of the unique way that each of those countries operates in conjunction with the European Union.

The hon. Gentleman says that we are not proposing changes. It is just as important to recognise that more than 70 of our partners do not want substantive changes to the agreements either. Perhaps we need to put aside for a moment some of the ways in which the Bill operates, and think about what is in the interests of our trading partners. It is as much in their interests as ours to have continuity of the existing agreements. It is therefore not a surprise to me that more than 70 countries have said that they are not seeking substantive changes to the agreements.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Labour, Warwick and Leamington

I appreciate the point that the Minister seeks to make. However, as he says, there are 70 of them and one of us. In any negotiation, the disadvantage is always with the minority. We are going to be in a very difficult position. One could well imagine—this point came up at the International Trade Committee last week—that the opportunity exists for those nations to renegotiate or, recognising the time pressure that we will be under, to make changes. Surely it should be for Parliament to consider any such change to a trade agreement, not for the Minister or a select few.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

The hon. Gentleman puts his question in a reasonable way. I know he is a member of the International Trade Committee and was there for the evidence session last Wednesday. However, it is not the case that we and the 70-plus countries are in some kind of plurilateral agreement. The number he talks about is the number of agreements, not the number of negotiating partners to that same agreement. Essentially, they would run the same risk that we would run if anyone were to want to renegotiate the agreement. The risk is that we would run out of time to have the transitioned agreement in place come the day that we leave the European Union. We have as much risk and as much downside as the counterpart does. That is the important thing to understand. The Government therefore consider the negative procedure to offer the appropriate level of further scrutiny over the operation of the power.

Turning to amendment 19, as we have made clear, the purpose of the Bill is to help maintain the effects of our existing trading arrangements as we leave the EU. It is vital that we secure that continuity without delay, to avoid disruption for businesses and consumers. That is why we are seeking a power that ensures that our transitioned trade agreements can be implemented in the nimblest and most efficient way possible, through the negative resolution procedure. A switch to the super-affirmative procedure would risk undermining that objective. Statutory instruments subject to the super-affirmative procedure may take even longer than using primary legislation to implement a transitioned agreement, which would therefore increase the risk of a cliff edge in our trading relationships.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Labour, Warwick and Leamington

Just to clarify—the Minister can correct me if I am wrong—the agreements will in many cases be trilateral because of our existing relationship with the EU and the relationship with the other country among the 70-plus the Minister mentioned. There is therefore an opportunity for that other country to make the negotiation or arrangement difficult. That is why we are seeking to put in place scrutiny in Parliament.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the comments I made earlier: none of the 70-plus countries that we have spoken to has said that it wants to do that. It would not be in their interests for them to do so, for reasons of maintaining continuity in our trade relations. That is very much in our and their interests.

Let me finally remind the Committee that Parliament still has oversight of statutory instruments introduced under the negative resolution procedure, using well-established processes as outlined in CRAG. I therefore ask the hon. Member for Brent North to withdraw the amendment.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 9, Noes 10.

Division number 15 Caledonian Pinewood Forest — Regulations under Part 1

Aye: 9 MPs

No: 10 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed: 19, in schedule 2, page 12, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) may not be made except in accordance with the steps in subparagraphs (1B) to (1E).

(1B) The Minister shall lay before Parliament—

(a) a draft of the regulations, and

(b) a document which explains why the Secretary of State believes that regulations should be made in terms of the draft regulations.

(1C) The Minister may make an order in the terms of the draft regulations laid under subparagraph (1B) if—

(a) after the expiry of a period of 21 sitting days after the draft regulations are laid, no committee of either House of Parliament has recommended that the regulations should not be made, and

(b) after the expiry of a period of 60 sitting days after the draft regulations are laid, the draft regulations are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(1D) If a committee of either House of Parliament recommends that the regulations should not be made, the Secretary of State may—

(a) lay before Parliament revised draft regulations, or

(b) after the expiry of a period of 40 sitting days after the revised draft regulations are laid, make a motion for a resolution in each House of Parliament for approval of the draft regulations.

(1E) If a motion under subparagraph (1D)(b) is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State may make the regulations.”—

This would require regulations implementing international trade agreements to be subject to the super-affirmative resolution procedure.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 9, Noes 10.

Division number 16 Caledonian Pinewood Forest — Regulations under Part 1

Aye: 9 MPs

No: 10 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

I beg to move amendment 20, in schedule 2, page 12, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) relating to an international trade agreement other than a free trade agreement which does not meet the criteria under section 2(4) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”

This would require regulations implementing an international trade agreement which is not a free trade agreement and which does not correspond to a prior or existing EU agreement to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

This is the final amendment in our series trying to introduce just a modicum of parliamentary scrutiny into the Bill. It refers to the last category of trade agreements that have not yet been covered in the previous amendments.

If hon. Members cast their minds back to amendment 3, which we presented in the first line-by-line sitting last Thursday, that amendment sought to expand the remit of the Bill to include not just agreements that correspond to existing EU agreements but those with countries where there is no prior EU agreement in place. The major set of amendments that I presented at that sitting sought to introduce a full process of preparation, debate and scrutiny up to the point of signature of free trade agreements within the category of comprehensive agreements that need to be notified under GATT article XXIV or GATS article V. Amendment 20 picks up on trade agreements that are not free trade agreements for the purposes of GATT article XXIV or GATS article V, and that do not correspond to an existing EU agreement. Without the amendment, they would not be covered anywhere in the expanded Bill as we envisage it.

We do not believe that it would be an appropriate use of parliamentary time to subject every new mutual recognition agreement to the full rigour of impact assessment and mandate-setting parliamentary scrutiny. We believe it would be enough to have the minimum scrutiny of the affirmative resolution procedure, which allows for a debate and vote where it is thought necessary, but which also allows for the swift passage of regulations through Parliament where they are clearly non-controversial.

I will point out here that some mutual recognition agreements and other agreements are potentially very controversial. In the case of mutual recognition agreements with countries whose regulatory systems are radically different from our own, such as the United States, there could be huge pitfalls in allowing for mutual recognition where it could lead to products entering the UK market that have not been subjected to the rigorous tests that we demand in our jurisdiction. If anything, we are erring on the side of being too pragmatic in suggesting that those agreements be subjected to the affirmative resolution procedure only, seeing as the affirmative procedure can be open to the abuse I described earlier in my reference to the Hansard Society’s report. At least we can take comfort in the fact that a Delegated Legislation Committee would have the power to hold the most controversial regulations up to scrutiny and subject them to a vote in Parliament, which would be a quantum leap from what the Bill currently offers.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

Clause 2 would limit the scope of agreements on which the power can be used to those where the other party had a free trade agreement signed with the EU before exiting. Amendment 20 would establish a procedure whereby the power is used in relation to agreements falling outside those parameters. As we do not wish to extend the scope of clause 2 to allow the power to be used in relation to more agreements, it follows that we do not need to apply a procedure to the implementation of such agreements. The amendment, therefore, is unnecessary in every way.

However, if the spirit of the amendment is to explore what constraints we have drafted into the clause 2 power, I am happy to provide reassurance to the Committee. As I have said before, the power can be used only in relation to free trade agreements with countries that have signed EU free trade agreements before exit day. A free trade agreement covers substantially all trade notifiable to the World Trade Organisation. To be clear, the power cannot be used to amend primary legislation except when that primary legislation is retained EU law. It cannot be used to implement a trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union itself. Nor can it be used to extend or create new criminal offences or create new fees or charges.

The power has a five-year sunset clause from exit day. If the Government wish to extend this period, they may do so only with the permission of both Houses. We and our trading partners are clear that this will be a technical exercise to ensure continuity in trading relationships. It is not an opportunity to change or renegotiate the terms of these EU agreements. Therefore, I ask the hon. Member for Brent North to withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

I do not wish to shock the Committee, but we will not press the amendment to a vote. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed: 14, in schedule 2, page 12,  line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) in respect of a free trade agreement which meets the criteria under section 2(3) may not be made unless all provisions of paragraph 2A have been satisfied.”—

This amendment is linked to amendments 15 and 16, which would require the United Kingdom’s free trade agreements with third countries which already have a corresponding agreement with the European Union to be subject to a super-affirmative resolution procedure prior to ratification.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 9, Noes 10.

Division number 17 Caledonian Pinewood Forest — Regulations under Part 1

Aye: 9 MPs

No: 10 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed: 15, in schedule 2, page 12, line 17, at end insert—

“Scrutiny of corresponding agreements: super-affirmative procedure

2A (1) Before a free trade agreement which meets the criteria under section 2(3) and to which the United Kingdom is a signatory may be ratified, the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament—

(a) a draft order to the effect that the agreement be ratified, and

(b) a document which explains why the Secretary of State believes that the agreement should be ratified.

(2) The Secretary of State may make an order in the terms of the draft order laid under subparagraph (1) if—

(a) after the expiry of a period of 21 sitting days after the draft order is laid, no committee of either House of Parliament has recommended that the order should not be made, and

(b) after the expiry of a period of 40 sitting days after the draft order is laid, a motion in the terms of the draft order is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(3) If a committee of either House of Parliament recommends that an order should not be made under subparagraph (2), the Secretary of State may, after the expiry of a period of 60 sitting days after the draft order is laid, make a motion for a resolution in each House of Parliament in the terms of the draft order.

(4) If a motion in the terms of the draft order is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament under subparagraph (2)(b) or (3), the Secretary of State may make an order in the terms of the draft order.

(5) A free trade agreement to which this paragraph applies shall not be deemed to be a treaty for the purposes of Part 2 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

(6) In section 25 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, after subsection (1)(b), at end insert—

‘but does not include a free trade agreement to which paragraph 2A of Schedule 2 to the Trade Act 2018 applies.’”

This would require the United Kingdom’s free trade agreements with third countries which already have a corresponding agreement with the European Union to be subject to a super-affirmative resolution procedure prior to ratification.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 9, Noes 10.

Division number 18 Caledonian Pinewood Forest — Regulations under Part 1

Aye: 9 MPs

No: 10 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Schedule 2 agreed to.

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 5