Clause 4 - Orders in Council

Part of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and International Committee of the Red Cross (Status) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 6 March 2024.

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Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 10:15, 6 March 2024

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for introducing the amendments and am happy to give her the assurance that she requires. The FCDO has engaged with the CPA and ICRC throughout the legislative process. The FCDO will consult them both ahead of secondary legislation and work closely with them to agree the arrangements for the appropriate privileges and immunities for each organisation. The FCDO has already committed to lay the draft Order in Council as soon as possible. His Majesty’s Government does not, therefore, think the amendments are necessary, and I ask my right hon. Friend to withdraw them.

On clause 4, it has of course been long-standing practice that privileges and immunities are conferred by Order in Council. The clause provides that any Order in Council made under clauses 1 or 2 is subject to the draft affirmative parliamentary procedure. Statutory instruments that are subject to that procedure require the approval of both Houses of Parliament before they may have effect, as we all know.

The clause also provides further detail regarding the scope and extent of the delegated legislation-making power under clauses 1 and 2. In particular, an Order in Council made under the Bill

“may make different provision for different cases and for different persons”,

and

“may contain consequential, supplementary, incidental, transitional or saving provision.”

In addition, the clause provides the enabling power for two important aspects that are fundamental to the operation and management of privileges and immunities in respect of an international organisation. First, the Order in Council may specify circumstances in which privileges or immunities do not apply, whether because of an exception to those privileges or immunities or because they have been waived by the organisation.

Secondly, the Order in Council may specify that fiscal reliefs and exemptions are subject to arrangements or conditions imposed by the Secretary of State or the commissioners of His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. This will facilitate the application to the organisations of the existing administrative schemes and processes in respect of international organisations that are administered by, among others, the FCDO and HMRC.

Clause 5, on interpretation, explains that the term “ICRC” means the International Committee of the Red Cross, as stated in clause 2. It also ensures that the definition of “statutory provision” allows for the treatment of the CPA and ICRC as international organisations to be applied in regard to all relevant legislation, primary and secondary, including the devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, whenever such legislation is made. This is important because the Bill gives both the CPA and the ICRC treatment comparable to that of an international organisation; therefore, the organisations need to be recognised in the same way across all relevant legislation.

Under clause 6, the Bill’s provisions will extend and apply to the whole of the UK as a reserved or accepted matter relating to the conduct of international relations, and the Bill will come into force on the day on which it receives Royal Assent.

In conclusion, I commend the contribution of my right hon. Friend in a spirit of gratitude.