Clause 1 - The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Part of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and International Committee of the Red Cross (Status) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 6 March 2024.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 10:00, 6 March 2024

I am grateful for my right hon. Friend’s leadership on this issue and I am very pleased to be speaking in Committee on this important Bill. As laid out by my right hon. Friend, the UK greatly values its long-standing programme partnership with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and really appreciates the very important work that it does, right across the Commonwealth, to foster inclusive and accountable democracy.

Treatment as an international organisation will allow the CPA to continue to operate across the Commonwealth and international fora. It will also allow the organisation to participate fully in areas in which it is currently restricted. Therefore I am very pleased to be able to speak in support of clauses 1 and 3 and the schedule; I will just touch on those, if I may.

The powers provided in clause 1 subsections (1) and (2) reflect the constitutional arrangements of the CPA —including its current registration with the Charity Commission for England and Wales—and will facilitate its proposed future operating model. Comparable treatment to an international organisation would be limited to the core international organs of the CPA, such as the secretariat. It is not intended that any privileges, immunities or other facilities are extended to any of the national or subnational branches.

This clause enables conferral on the CPA of the legal capacities of a body corporate. Key capacities relevant to the operation of an international organisation in the UK are to conclude contracts, to acquire and dispose of property, and to institute and be party to legal proceedings. The clause also enables the provision in respect of the CPA of specific privileges and immunities, which will be determined on the basis of the organisation’s functional need and will be specified through an individual arrangement to be agreed upon on completion of the Bill. Clause 1(1)(c) enables the provision of specific privileges and immunities in respect of the secretary-general of the CPA. Those are limited to the privileges and immunities set out in part 2 of the schedule.

The clause provides for the Order in Council to specify certain statutory provisions in relation to international organisations that should apply in relation to the CPA, with any necessary modifications. This provision will ensure that the CPA can be accorded comparable treatment to an international organisation—in particular, where the definition of international organisation in the legislation is limited to intergovernmental organisations.