Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what opportunities there will be for United Kingdom citizens who have reached the age of 18 since the European Union referendum to have a say on the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union.
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: Oh. But may I invite the Minister to join the growing tide in favour of a people’s vote, not because the referendum was corrupted—although it was—but because this will be the first opportunity we will all have to choose between the result of the negotiation, on the one hand, and the status quo on the other? It will be the first time that 18, 19 and 20 year-olds will have had...
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My noble friend Lord Adonis has this completely wrong. I normally agree with him, fully. There is no contradiction between having incremental reform now, while there is a Conservative Government and working towards major reform. I support major reform of the Labour Party, which Labour’s candidates stood on at the last general—that is, a senate of the nations and regions and not a...
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: What is a Northern Irish Peer and what is a Scottish Peer? Can the noble Lord define them?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: Just to take an example, if a Peer lived in London but owned a huge chunk of Scotland—and there are a few of those—would he be a Scottish Peer?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, the Minister said that the Government would step in where necessary. Why is it not necessary in the case of the NHS, as the noble Lord, Lord Empey, asked?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, how can we believe that the Government will take urgent action in relation to this potential manipulation of our electoral process when they are doing absolutely nothing about the Russian intervention supporting the leave campaign in the EU referendum?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: Will the Minister clarify the position regarding the vote on the deal? Does he envisage that one of the options that Parliament might consider is that we remain in the European Union?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, the Minister said a minute ago that the White Paper will be published tomorrow, the day the House rises, which seems rather strange. What time tomorrow will it be published?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, would it not be a better solution to have a coherent system of devolution of powers, including transport, to all the regions of England? Will the Government look at this? If they do not do it soon I can assure them that it will be brought in by a Labour Government. The way things are going, that cannot be far away.
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, on all these reports, we now have the report of the Electoral Commission, which found that the Leave campaign broke the law; we have very strong evidence of Russian involvement; and there are reports of other investigations which have been carried out into the veracity of the referendum. Yet the Minister says that the Government are still willing to accept the result. What would it...
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, I declare an interest as chair of Age Scotland. Charities are finding it very difficult at the moment because of cutbacks in grants from government and local government and difficulty in fundraising. Can I suggest that we ask the views of the chair of the Charity Commission on this? We will then find out whether her interest is really in favour of charities or of the Government.
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, does the Minister agree that cheating in universities is nothing when compared with the cheating in the EU referendum by Nigel Farage and his cronies? In the light of the report by the Electoral Commission, should the result of that referendum now be declared invalid?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, the Leader of the House has indicated that a lot more work has been done by the Government on the possibility of a no-deal outcome. How would such an outcome affect the Northern Ireland border, the position of European Union citizens in the United Kingdom and United Kingdom citizens in Europe, and our payments to the European Union?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, given what we have just heard about the draft report from the Electoral Commission and what the Minister heard yesterday from my noble friend Lord Rooker and myself on the Bloomberg report, how can the result of that referendum still be considered valid?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: I respect what the Minister said. We are not asking him to comment on a private deal. There are two points to be made. First, if information is made available to a section of the public, the law is clear—that it is effectively being made available publicly—and the section of the public in this case was the hedge funds. So some breach clearly took place. Secondly, the evidence may...
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: One problem, as I understand it, is that this may not be something that the Department for which the Minister is directly responsible can deal with. Will he draw it to the attention of Ministers in the department which might be able to act?
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, I add my thanks to our chair, the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, and our locum chair, the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, both of whom were really exceptional and showed their vast experience in politics and Parliament. I also thank the staff, who were exceptional, and the witnesses, without whom we would not have had a report. Like most, if not all, the Select Committee reports that we see,...
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: The right reverend Prelate is also shaking her head.
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, is the Minister aware that there is one part of this country, the United Kingdom, where we do not have any of these problems of highly paid water executives, because under successive Governments of different parties, water has remained in public ownership—and that is Scotland?