All 2 Baroness Deech contributions to the Trade Bill 2017-19

Read Bill Ministerial Extracts

Mon 21st Jan 2019
Trade Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee: 1st sitting (Hansarad): House of Lords
Wed 20th Mar 2019
Trade Bill
Lords Chamber

3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords

Trade Bill

Baroness Deech Excerpts
Committee: 1st sitting (Hansarad): House of Lords
Monday 21st January 2019

(5 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Trade Bill 2017-19 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 127-II Second marshalled list for Committee (PDF) - (21 Jan 2019)
Lord Reid of Cardowan Portrait Lord Reid of Cardowan (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I have only one brief point to make in response to our noble colleague the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde. He said that this is an extraordinary procedure. That is because we live in extraordinary times. No one in this country would have imagined even two or three years ago that we would be standing on the eve of the biggest act of self-immolation in economic terms in some 80 years and yet have no plans for the future. I was going to say that the continuity of which has been spoken is a vacuum, but that is too substantial a word for it. It is the most extraordinary set of circumstances that we have seen in my memory, having been involved in politics for over 40 or 50 years, and every day it gets more extraordinary.

Quite apart from the Bill, this morning Downing Street was apparently briefing that the solution would be for Downing Street to amend the Good Friday agreement—forgetting that even if that course of action might commend itself to this House, the Good Friday agreement is the product of two sovereign nations in a bilateral agreement, along with an American President and eight parties in Northern Ireland itself. Yet they speak as though they are ordering a pizza—as if they can just phone up and suddenly the order will be changed. If the noble Lord worries about extraordinary measures taken by this House, he should seek to remove the Government from the extraordinary position of incompetence and blindfold Brexit in which they find themselves.

Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I would not pretend to know a great deal about trade, but this I do know: we live in extraordinary times, and it is all the more important that one sticks with constitutional procedures and the rule of law. Imagine if we had a different Government; it is extremely dangerous to play fast and loose with our established procedures. At this moment, we should be clinging to them; it is really important.

We cannot take back control until we leave on 29 March. Taking back control has always meant that we do so in relation to other countries, not that we fight internal warfare in this House and in the other House. We would not be in this position if the leadership of the party of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, who moved the amendment, had been more co-operative and constructive. We would not be in this position if the EU itself had been more constructive and co-operative. Its failure to do so is a sign of a lack of confidence in its own future.

It is absolutely essential that we stick with our constitutional procedures and do not play fast and loose with them, because imagine what would happen in a future circumstance with a future Government. That could be far worse, and we must proceed as our procedures require us to do.

Trade Bill

Baroness Deech Excerpts
3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 20th March 2019

(5 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Trade Bill 2017-19 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 167-I Marshalled list for Third Reading (PDF) - (19 Mar 2019)
Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Portrait Baroness McIntosh of Pickering (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, it is a great pleasure to follow a fellow campaigner and the sole Green Party representative in this place. I congratulate the Minister on taking her first Bill through this House and thank her for the graciousness and openness that she has demonstrated in the meetings and exchanges that we have had. I thank the noble Baronesses, Lady Jones and Lady Henig, for supporting my amendment and for reaching common ground on this issue, as we have witnessed today. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, for showing his support, for his charm and graciousness and for not roaming in the gloaming as we did last week on the mobile phones SI. Above all, I acknowledge the work of the Minister in this regard.

I hope the Minister will not think me churlish of the spirit that she has shown in the text of the amendment, but it would be remiss of me not to say why I have tabled Amendment 4 for the purposes of debate today. I accept that it is a matter of language and semantics but, in the law, language is important. I understood her to say that guidance would be issued once the Bill had received Royal Assent, but guidance does not have statutory effect and I wonder what its legal status be. I do not take issue with her as much as the parliamentary and legal draftsmen in this regard.

As the Minister said in moving her amendment, we wish to maintain domestic standards when we leave the European Union. I point to the retained EU law—which I think we now call primary or principal law—on sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, in which it is generally understood that standards of food safety are paramount. That has been reflected in the campaign carried out by all the farming organisations, not least the NFU. However, the wording of the World Trade Organization and its committees states that:

“For all of these agreements, the WTO encourages international standards as it believes they are ‘less likely to be challenged legally in the WTO than if it sets its own standards’”.


That is the reason for tabling the amendment. It is a serious omission.

My noble friend said that proposed new subsection (4B)(a) to (d) covered food safety but, having seen epidemics almost every 10 years such as BSE, foot and mouth disease and the horsemeat scandal that could easily have been a food safety issue, I think that it is better to get it on the statute book.

I reiterate what the Minister said: there have been constructive discussions which have permitted us to coalesce around her Amendments 1 and 2. However, as the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, has done, I put down a marker that we will return to this issue when the Agriculture Bill reaches this House. However, I again thank the Minister and congratulate her on getting us so far to Third Reading.

Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, perhaps I may make what I hope are reassuring noises about food safety. There has been much discussion here about the fear that our food safety will decline once we have left Europe. Across Europe there are 23 million cases of food poisoning a year and 5,000 deaths.

In the global food security index we tie, at number three, with the USA. Only Ireland and Singapore are ahead of us. Most European countries are way down that list, including, for example, Poland and Bulgaria. In other words, they should be keeping up with us. We would have an awful long way to fall before our food safety record could be compared with the very low standards prevailing in much of Europe. While one welcomes this amendment, in practice there is very little to worry about.

Earl of Lytton Portrait The Earl of Lytton (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, this is the first time I have intervened on this Bill and I do so without any interests to declare, although back in the 1980s we had great discussions about the criteria for dealing with protected areas in the United Kingdom. This was because in the classification of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, UK national parks were regarded not as category 1 protected areas but as multi-use areas. The meaning of national park here was different from what it was in the United States, Australia or many other countries.

There used to be a three-legged approach to what happened in protected areas in the UK, based on the principles of environmental, economic and social balance. It seemed to me then—and still does—that that encapsulates all that one might expect without skewing the outcome in one direction or another. None of the four items in proposed new subsection (4B) in Amendment 2 refers to business economics or to the leisure and cultural activities of those who may be living and working in protected areas. This is an omission of some significance in regard to protected areas in the UK. Can the Minister say, therefore, whether the three-legged approach is still meant to be encapsulated in the four-legged one in proposed new subsection (4B)?