United Kingdom Internal Market Bill

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Excerpts
3rd reading & 3rd reading (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 2nd December 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 View all United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 155-I Marshalled list for Third Reading - (27 Nov 2020)
Moved by
1: Clause 12, page 8, line 30, leave out subsections (6) and (7)
Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Portrait Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, my original Amendment 21 on Report, also signed by the noble Lords, Lord Anderson and Lord Wigley, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles, on which I spoke on 18 November 2020 and moved formally on 23 November 2020, replaced the original Clause 10 with a new clause listing public interest derogations from market access principles. I was pleasantly surprised and grateful that the Government accepted the amendment without a Division. The clerks subsequently advised us that the amendment required some consequential changes to the Bill to remove minor inconsistencies. These changes are set out in the amendments before your Lordships’ House today. Amendment 1 removes two subsections on page 8 and Amendment 3 removes Schedule 1 entirely. I beg to move.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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The Government regret the changes made to the previous Clause 10 on Report, but I will not reopen that debate here. I appreciate the need for these amendments to tidy up the Bill text so the Government will not oppose them.

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Moved by
3: Schedule 1, leave out Schedule 1
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Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Portrait Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Lab) [V]
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I thank the ministerial team for their time and accessibility while we have been working on the Bill. Bills that span departments—three, in this case—are a nightmare to run. Credit is due to those involved, in BEIS, the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, for their seamless performance. We tried hard to find divisions between them, but we failed. I particularly want to thank the Minister from the Cabinet Office, Chloe Smith MP, at a difficult time for her. I am sure the whole House will want to join me in wishing her well for the next six months, and a speedy recovery.

Our team in the Lords is used to working collaboratively, and we have tried to blend our experiences and interests to good effect in working on the Bill. I thank in particular my noble friend Lady Hayter for her endless supply of wit and wisdom, and my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer, who must have been a terrifying vision when he rose at the Dispatch Box to take on the combined ministerial skills that he was dealing with. We have also worked closely with Commons colleagues, and we now pass to them the responsibility for defending the changes that we have made.

The Bill team has supported the parliamentary processes very well and has managed the large number of Zoom meetings and letters with huge professionalism. We thank them. We should also thank the technical teams who have supported the hybrid House so well. Last, but not least, I thank Dan Harris, our legislative support team member, who has absorbed huge amounts of work and juggled his other commitments so as to keep us on track, drafting all our amendments and dealing with the Public Bill Office to get us to where we are. He celebrates a big birthday this week, and he deserves the break that he is taking.

As the noble Lord, Lord Fox, said, it is customary to say that Bills that have been sent to us for consideration by the other place leave here much improved by the detailed scrutiny that your Lordships’ House brings to legislation. I am not sure that this Bill—with, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, observed, its 65 amendments in all, and shorn of about one third of its original material—can qualify for that appellation. It still seems to have some problems and deficiencies. However, we think it has been improved.

My colleagues and I were heartened by the handover meeting we held yesterday with the ministerial team, involving Commons Ministers as well, which seemed to open up possible joint solutions to many of the remaining issues. Of course, external events may well intervene, but we are not far apart on many issues, and we remain willing to work together with the Government to resolve the outstanding issues over the next period.