Debates between Baroness Noakes and Baroness Randerson during the 2019 Parliament

Mon 15th May 2023
Mon 14th Jun 2021
Thu 16th Jan 2020
European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard continued) & Committee stage:Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard continued) & Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard continued): House of Lords & Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard continued) & Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard continued): House of Lords

Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Baroness Randerson
Wednesday 17th April 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Randerson Portrait Baroness Randerson (LD)
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My Lords, I rise to speak specifically to Amendment 20A, to which I have added my name. I did so because the Bill is yet another intrusion on devolution. It is part of a pattern by which Bill after Bill in this House, Act after Act produced by this Government, raids the powers of devolved Governments and the devolved Assemblies. The Internal Market Act started that, along with the Procurement Act—and there are others. It is a complete pattern by this Government; an intention to reduce devolution in stature and in practice.

As a Wales Office Minister between 2012 and 2015, I recall that it was unthinkable that we, as a UK Government, would ignore the need for an LCM on something like this. We have now got to the point where it is routine for this Government to do that. In addition, in the case of this Bill, the unpredictability of Henry VIII powers will give the opportunity to the Secretary of State to make regulations that could have additional, profound implications for both Wales and Scotland, and throughout the UK.

The Government seem to forget the history of devolution. In 1999, when devolution was established, the Scottish Parliament had a much more comprehensive settlement than that provided for Wales. That proved to be a mistake. It was not just that Wales had fewer powers. The lack of a proper pattern to those powers and a comprehensive picture of them made it very difficult to make devolution work. I am conscious that I have signed an amendment led by the noble Lord, Lord Hain, and that I am criticising the Government of whom he was a part. I am sure he would agree that Labour First Ministers led campaigns to increase the powers of the Welsh Assembly, now the Welsh Senedd, specifically because it just did not work with much more limited powers. We now have something much more workmanlike, effective and constitutionally coherent. This Government have set about dismantling it again.

Added to that, the Bill is unnecessary. In the Senedd, the Minister made it clear that the Welsh Government are of the view that the UK Government have sufficient powers in place within the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement, enshrined in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, and that those powers enable fair and equal treatment of overseas bidders where there is a relevant trade agreement. They do not believe that there is any need for additional powers. The UK Government already have the power to set sanctions for trade. All these arguments and discussions that we are having are irrelevant because those powers already exist. The Welsh Government fundamentally believe that the powers in this Bill would have a significant impact on the freedom of public bodies and democratic institutions in Wales. They have the majority support of Members of the Senedd on this. The impact would be on their freedom to decide not to purchase or procure in a way that impacts on their existing legal obligations in relation to human rights, abuse of workers’ rights and the environment. In practice, these powers are not going to fit comfortably with the structure of our legislation as it currently exists.

The fundamental reason why I signed this amendment on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Benches is that this is yet another impact on devolution and the coherence and effectiveness of the way in which the Governments of the United Kingdom should work together in a positive and effective manner.

Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, I think that noble Lords who have spoken have misrepresented the devolution settlement. It is clear that foreign policy is a reserved matter. When we come to this Bill, the question of the political or moral disapproval of the conduct of foreign states is a matter of foreign policy that can be determined only by the UK Government.

Noble Lords have been trying to describe devolution as they would like it to exist but the plain fact is that foreign policy is a reserved matter, and that is what is driving this. I do not think that the other matters that the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, just referred to prevent action by the devolved authorities because of the quite extensive exemptions, which align with the procurement legislation, that are set out in the Schedule. We are talking about political or moral disapproval of state conduct, very specifically, and that is a matter reserved to the UK Government.

We have to remember that the devolved Administrations have form here in relation to Israel. To take the Scottish Government, back in 2014, they issued a Scottish procurement policy note which, in effect, encouraged Scottish bodies to boycott operations in the Occupied Territories. That note, which is quite difficult to find on the internet nowadays, because it seems to have disappeared into a black hole of an archive, was reconfirmed by current Scottish Ministers only a couple of years ago, so it remains the Scottish Government’s policy, which they cannot effectively implement because of the reserved nature of foreign policy.

To take the Welsh Government, in 2020 they informed the Welsh Parliament that they intended to issue advice to all Welsh authorities

“that they may exclude from tendering any company that conducts business with occupied territories either directly or via third parties”.

It was only after intervention from an organisation called UK Lawyers for Israel that the Welsh Government deferred their decision. So we have the Scottish Government and the Welsh Labour Government itching to boycott Israel, and to use that as a reason—

Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Baroness Randerson
Baroness Randerson Portrait Baroness Randerson (LD)
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My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendments 73 and 74, to which I added my name. I will preface my remarks with a brief comment about the attempts by the Government Front Bench to curtail people’s right to ask questions of other Members during speeches this afternoon. That is most unfortunate and particularly ironic in a debate that is pivoting on the issue of the powers of Parliament to scrutinise legislation. I hope that the Government Front Bench will think again about that line of action.

I welcome the Government’s concessions in the Bill, but I still want to remark on the length of time it took them to wake up to the inevitable—the realisation that the Bill was impossible to implement and requires fundamental change. I am deeply grateful to the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Callanan, for taking that message from this House to the Government. At the same time, having woken up to the need for change, the Government have now given us an impossible timescale in which to consider the 600 pieces of legislation they have identified—we have 48 hours from now. This remains a very flawed Bill, therefore, and represents a major accumulation of power in the hands of the Executive. That is power seized from both this Parliament and, despite important government concessions, the devolved Administrations.

The amendments to which I have added my name are of the most minor nature. Indeed, in Committee the Minister gave us cause to hope that the Government might look positively on such a change. They are minor—an extension from 10 to 15 days for the committees to look at this legislation—but they are nevertheless important because, without that minor change, the sifting of legislation will present a major hurdle.

The noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, referred to the report of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee in his speech on the first group of amendments. That report was called Losing Control?. I am delighted to now be a member of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee under the able chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, who is in his place. These minor amendments ask simply for Parliament to be given time to do its job. The Government have accepted that their initial Bill was impractical in its timescale. They now need to accept the lessons of that and, even at this point, to accept this minor change.

This Government have broken new boundaries by producing increasingly skeletal Bills and relying heavily on secondary legislation to flesh out the real meaning of their legislation. SIs are not immune to error. The Home Office recently accumulated a record of having to withdraw one in five of its SIs and remake them. That is not a record of perfect legislation. The Government need to accept that they make mistakes.

We have government by SI now, but the rules and procedures for scrutiny of SIs are locked in the past when primary legislation was much more detailed. If we are to be forced to work this way, procedures must change or there will be major legislative errors. I support the amendments put forward by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, and so ably explained by the noble Lord, Lord Lisvane, as a good, practical way of dealing with the new approach to legislation.

Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, I would like to offer a brief comment on Amendment 76 in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead. Like many Members of your Lordships’ House, I find the way in which we deal with the increasing amount of secondary legislation fundamentally unsatisfactory. I pay tribute to the work done by my noble friends Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts and Lord Blencathra and their respective committees last year, and to the important debate held in your Lordships’ House.

We should move towards re-examining how we handle secondary legislation going forward. However, I do not think that the right way forward is to produce one amendment in one Bill and try to say that it answers the problem. I have the greatest respect for the noble Lord, Lord Lisvane, because of his tremendous experience in the other place. But let us not pretend it is easy to find a good solution that will work with both Houses and produce the right degree of additional scrutiny without completely holding up the Government’s secondary legislation programme.

We should take time—I hope the Government will find time—to work between both Houses to find good, practical solutions going forward, but we should not legislate in haste in this Bill. We have secondary legislation procedures that have served us pretty well for a long time. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead, referred to needing to deal with flaws in secondary legislation. They can already be dealt with; they do not need any special apparatus to do so. The noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, referred to the procedure whereby statutory instruments are withdrawn when flaws are pointed out. That is a part of our existing procedure, and it works perfectly well. Let us not pretend it is so broken that we have to invent a special procedure for the Bill.

Professional Qualifications Bill [HL]

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Baroness Randerson
Tuesday 9th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, I do not normally intervene where devolved matters are concerned but I was so surprised to see the amendments tabled in this group that I felt I had to make some observations.

To start with Amendment 10 and Clause 7, I was very critical of Clause 7 in Committee, in that it was setting up an advice centre which I could not see the real need for. Nevertheless, if one is going to have one, it should be complete and accurate; the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead, has referred to that. The existing advice centre under EU law, which will be migrated into the one under this Bill, is certainly not complete and is therefore not accurate.

While I believe that the arrangements being made would benefit from scrutiny, I am not sure what the purpose of adding on a consent mechanism would be. The arrangements should be between BEIS and whoever is providing this advice centre to have complete and accurate information, and I do not think anybody needs to consent to that at all, because that is perfectly obvious. While I do not see any need to have that additional mechanism, it is good to have scrutiny on the centre’s input, but that can be done by informal means; it does not need the seeking and giving of consent.

Similarly, in the case of Amendment 10A in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Blake, I could not see anything in Clause 9 which could possibly be incompatible with a common framework agreement for professional services, if and when one emerged. All it says is that if somebody in one part of the United Kingdom wishes to practice in another part of the United Kingdom, the regulators in the two parts have to give each other information about that individual. It seems that there would never be any circumstances, under any form of common framework, where that would not be an essential part of it.

Lastly, on Clause 14 and Amendment 14, I was also mystified, because Clause 14 seems to respect the devolution settlements. It specifically creates the national authority’s powers in relation to things that are within the devolution settlements, so I could not see what would be added by the arrangements that Amendment 14 seeks. I could not think of any tangible, practical reason for the devolved Administrations to want to get involved in those areas in the way in which this is drafted. For me, this is something of a mystification. It may be partly explained by the bad feeling left by the internal market Act, but I genuinely do not see an issue of substance here that noble Lords should be getting excited about.

Baroness Randerson Portrait Baroness Randerson (LD)
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My Lords, the noble Baroness put her finger on it when she referred to the bad feeling engendered by the internal market Act. That has undermined confidence between the devolved Administrations and the UK Government. But there are also good, practical reasons why they need to be consulted. I support these amendments because it is absolutely crucial that, at the centre of this, the assistance centre truly represents the whole of the UK and can provide accurate information.

The history of this Bill is that the whole thing is a lot more complex than the UK Government originally thought. I think that the Minister would acknowledge that. The noble Baroness has played her part in pointing that out to the Government. It is not just a courtesy to seek consent. Things are different in different parts of the UK. I speak in this debate from the perspective of Wales, where our difference is partly underlined by language issues of significance. If you are looking at the clinical professions, or teaching, language is important in the delivery of those qualifications.

However, there is a key issue here in the interaction between this Bill and the United Kingdom Internal Market Act, which was designed to undercut devolved powers and which, despite some amendments, still has the power to do so. The UK Government deal internationally with what I am sure they see as the interests of the whole of the UK but, to give one example, the international trade deal with New Zealand provoked dismay in Wales because of the impact that it will have on Welsh sheep farmers. That may not be of direct relevance to this Bill, but it underlines the fact that, just because the UK Government are intending that it should benefit the UK, that does not mean that it will actually benefit the whole of the UK. The same applies with professional qualifications and the terms in which there could be an impact from an international trade deal on those qualifications.

The lack of legislative consent Motions is a symptom of the problem. Common frameworks are there and should be there to ensure harmonious working, but those of us speaking in this debate who are members of the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee—the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, my noble friend Lord Bruce and the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, who was here earlier—know that common frameworks have been applied so far in a fairly haphazard manner in some situations, and therefore we cannot entirely rely on them yet. I am very pleased to see the amendments that relate to them, because that reinforces their importance in improving relationships between the Governments within the United Kingdom. Therefore, I support these amendments.

Professional Qualifications Bill [HL]

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Baroness Randerson
Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, Amendment 30 is a probing amendment on the abiding theme in our debates on this Bill, namely regulator autonomy.

Clause 4(1) says that regulations can be made

“for the purpose of, or in connection with, authorising a regulator … to enter into regulator recognition agreements.”

That seems pretty straightforward. Authorising a regulator to enter into a recognition agreement should not involve any element of compulsion, but I have learned to be wary of wide regulation-making powers.

My Amendment 30 seeks to make it clear that Clause 4 cannot be used to compel regulators to enter into recognition agreements. With this probing amendment, I am asking one simple question: are there any circumstances in which the power in Clause 4 could be used to force a regulator to enter into any recognition agreements?

Since tabling my amendment, I have seen the Government’s response of 3 June to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, where they state that the power cannot

“be used to provide regulators with the ability to enter into regulator recognition agreements where they lack sufficient abilities”.

If my noble friend the Minister confirms today from the Dispatch Box that nothing in Clause 4 could compel a regulator to do anything it does not want to do, we will be able to dispense with my amendment fairly straightforwardly.

Baroness Randerson Portrait Baroness Randerson (LD)
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My Lords, I am very pleased to speak in support of this amendment in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes. This issue is the crux of the independence of regulators. The situation is that not all regulators are equal: they do not all have the same legal powers; they do not all have the same clout; they do not all have the same capacity. For example, in the years between 2007 and 2016, the Nursing and Midwifery Council issued 46,257 decisions on international regulation, whereas the General Chiropractic Council issued 29. We are obviously not talking about a group of organisations that are equal in terms of their ability to withstand not just the letter of the law, but the thrust of government policy. Pressure from the Government can be a very powerful thing for an organisation. We also have to take into account the fact that some of the countries with which these international trade agreements will be signed will have regulators that are only now properly developing. Not only are all our regulators not equal, but in other countries, not all regulators are equal.

I draw the Minister’s attention to a set of statements in the impact assessment. He has often emphasised the independence of regulators, so can he therefore explain the contrast between two of its paragraphs? Paragraph 111 of the impact assessment says:

“The Bill contains a power to enable regulators to negotiate and agree Recognition Arrangements (RAs) with their overseas counterparts. The Bill does not require the negotiation of RAs”.


In paragraph 118, however, it says:

“The Bill contains a power to make regulations to implement the recognition of professional qualifications (RPQ) components of international agreements. These regulations could include the ability to bind regulators to implement the RPQ chapters of IAs as appropriate.”


Paragraph 111 says that they cannot be bound, whereas Paragraph 118 says, just as the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, suggested, that regulations might trespass on the independence of regulators. I simply ask the Minister for clarification.

In his letter to me this weekend which, in the spirit of proceedings here, I read just after midnight, the Minister said that MRAs

“would not place obligations on regulators and instead encourage them to develop MRAs.”

Which is it? Are regulators to be truly and, in a wholesale way, independent and not subject to pressure, either direct or indirect, or are they to have their wings clipped potentially by regulations?

This amendment clarifies beyond doubt what I believe, from the Minister’s previous statements, is his favoured interpretation: that regulators would always be independent.

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Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, I am glad to have heard the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, introduce her amendment. We both tabled our amendments in light of the British Dental Association’s comments, but we ended up drafting them rather differently. I thought that the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, was drafting hers so that it would have to be approved by the UK regulator, rather than by the overseas regulator. I think that we are on the same page, and that my drafting is probably slightly more accurate, but let us not go there. It so confused those in the Public Bill Office that they tried to claim that there was a conflict between our amendments, and that we had to invoke something in the Standing Orders. I said that no, they were not in conflict, and could exist side by side perfectly well, but I now see that they are trying to address exactly the same issue.

The noble Baroness is right that a number of countries have a multitude of individual qualifications, some of which are good for the purposes of the regulated profession, and some which are not. There is a good example in this country: lots of bodies recognise accountants, but not all of them can be recognised as registered auditors; and there will be lots of examples beyond that. It is that point which we are trying to ensure is properly identified when dealing with Clause 4 and the position of the overseas regulation in relation to particular qualifications, and I hope that my noble friend the Minister will look on one or both of these amendments favourably.

Baroness Randerson Portrait Baroness Randerson (LD)
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My Lords, Amendment 32A, in my name and that of my noble friend Lady Garden, would require the appropriate national authority to consult with higher education institutions and other training providers before making regulations under this clause. I declare an interest as chancellor of Cardiff University.

I asked a Written Question, answered by the noble Lord, Lord Callanan, in which I asked Her Majesty’s Government

“why higher education institutions and other providers of training for professional qualifications are not listed as stakeholders affected in the impact assessment for the Professional Qualifications Bill; whether higher education institutions or others …were consulted on the proposals in that Bill, and … what plans they have to consult such providers in the future.”

The Answer stated:

“The proposals in the Bill do not affect the UK qualifications or experience required to practise a profession. The Government ran a Call for Evidence on the recognition of professional qualifications … between August 2020 and October 2020, which was open to anyone with an interest in professional qualifications”,


and that there were, among others,

“26 responses from educators who provide training and higher education institutions.”

The Answer continued:

“Officials have met representatives from Universities UK to discuss proposals in the Professional Qualifications Bill and will continue to pursue an active programme of stakeholder engagement.”


So, having told me in the Answer that this Bill has no impact on HEIs and other trainers, the Government went on to say that the HEIs and trainers identified themselves in the public consultation as being concerned by, or interested in, this Bill. Following that, the Government have been in discussion with Universities UK at least. Will the Minister clarify whether the Government have also spoken to other training providers, not just the representatives of universities?

I have had correspondence from Universities UK, which says that, although its contact with the Government has been fairly constructive so far, it would be helpful to require the Government to consult with higher education providers as they strike regulator recognition agreements, given the importance of these agreements to certain sections of higher education. The potential impact on onshore recruitment of EU students on relevant courses should be monitored. Clearly, that is of importance because if you are doing away with the EU-established system, there will be an impact on the number of EU students coming to this country, potentially some of them afresh as they will want to get their qualifications here, but also on the top-up courses that our HEIs provide. It also says that it would be helpful to have frequent consultation and analysis-sharing between the Government and higher education providers to help ensure that the Bill benefits the range of bilateral agreements that could increase recruitment to higher education, rather than have a detrimental effect.

It is not the case that this Bill does not affect HEIs. It affects the number of foreign students applying to the UK on top-up courses, and, crucially, what the HEIs and other training providers teach. Depending on what they teach, it affects who they employ and how many of them they employ, so this has a deep impact on them. I urge the Minister to consider this very reasonable amendment. The Government have recognised the legitimate role of higher education—I hope they have consulted other trainers as well—so what reason could they have for rejecting such a sensible and modest amendment?

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Baroness Randerson
Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard continued) & Committee stage & Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard continued): House of Lords
Thursday 16th January 2020

(4 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Randerson Portrait Baroness Randerson (LD)
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My Lords, I was a member of the committee to which the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, referred when he mentioned the evidence on this issue. Week after week we heard witnesses from the transport industries giving evidence, and they presented a pretty united picture. Not one of them bounced in and said, “No, it’s all right, we’ll cope; we aren’t worried.” They were all worried and they were all frustrated. Of course, they will do their best to cope, but many of them genuinely fear that their businesses will go to the wall in the process.

Transport of one sort or another has been the subject of a lot of discussion and controversy throughout the Brexit debate. This is a comprehensive amendment which includes references to passengers, freight, roads, rail, air and sea. All of these are currently governed by a mass of different rules and agreements. Some of the agreements are with the EU and some are international treaties, but we are a member of those treaties solely as a member of the EU. Therefore, our position has to be renegotiated as we leave. All of this has to be unravelled and reconstructed if our transport system is to flow smoothly. It will never flow as easily after we leave the EU, because the Government have set their face against the close trading relationship needed for it to do so. However, they can still do things to paper over the cracks.

It is important to recognise the size of the problem. The prosperity of our economy rests on the shoulders of our transport system. Much of that involves foreign trade and the movement of people between countries, but even parts of the economy that are purely internal are to a varying extent affected by problems in the international movement of goods and people. To give one example, any delay to the ports in Kent has a huge knock-on effect not just on the motorways but on the towns and villages of Kent as a whole, and has an impact directly on its internal economy.

Now we have the added factor of the border down the Irish Sea. I have spoken repeatedly in this Chamber about the impact that this would have on Wales—for example on the port of Holyhead, which is badly unprepared to deal with long queues of traffic simply because of where it is situated—and on the farming industry in Wales as a whole. Transport-related problems are not confined to the impact of increased bureaucracy, to which the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, referred, nor to more complex border arrangements and the delays they might produce. They are also caused by the steady departure of EU nationals. This industry has a very high percentage of such employees, and their departure will also cause recruitment issues.

I draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that many of the early arrangements we made as a country with the EU in preparation for this are now badly out of date. Indeed, I remember sitting opposite the noble Baroness, Lady Sugg, when she was the Minister, discussing whether the dates matched for the interim arrangements that had been reached. So all these now need to be updated. They took us a long time in the first place—many hours of work went into them—but they must be looked at again, and it would be very useful for this House to know how well the Government are getting on with that.

The Government have been relatively keen to maintain our membership of aviation-related treaties but have been much more limited in how they have approached, for instance, links with our current EU partners on the railways. They have wanted agreement only with our immediate neighbours. Is that still their position?

The Government have gradually woken up to the general issues and concerns, especially in relation to freight and ports. A great deal of money has been spent on an emergency infrastructure in Kent. Of course, a lot of that money was wasted because it led to previous dates for departure from the EU that did not come to anything. Then there is of course the famous ferry company with no ferries.

I see that the Government are now trying to reclaim some of the £10 million that they gave to this industry and others to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. That displays the Government’s confusion on all this, because the Prime Minister continues to threaten that if there is no trade deal this year there will still be a no-deal Brexit. Everyone I talk to or listen to who has any knowledge of the complexity of a trade deal says of course that it is a highly likely event, because it is virtually impossible to get an agreement by the end of the year.

The transport industry remains seriously concerned. It grapples with uncertainty and complexity. I argue that this issue is so fundamental that it deserves the spotlight and the report that the amendment suggests. It is about a great deal more than whether we will all need two different sorts of international driving permit. It is that kind of thing that will have a huge impact on the general public, but it is the complexity of all the other issues that will have a major impact on how our goods are carried to and fro, and with what efficiency.

The amendment is designed to impose on the Government an obligation to work for the smoothest possible trade arrangements going forward. I hope that the Government have no problem in accepting that principle; but I also hope that they accept that Parliament should have the opportunity to assess progress. I believe, and I have always believed, that it is not until we get the impact on our transport arrangements across the board that people in Britain will realise the size of the change coming to us.

I hope that the Government can accept the amendment. If they cannot, I hope that they will work toward agreeing something along similar lines that will impose similar obligations on them to give updates on progress as they move forward with agreements on transport.

Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, like the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, I served on the EU sub-committee, led very ably by the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, and took part in the preparation of the report to which the noble Lord referred.

It was very clear from the evidence we received in that committee that some serious issues remain to be resolved. In particular, I single out road haulage, with the issue of permitting. Not all the other sectors present the same degree of difficulty. However, in that committee we took evidence from the Minister in the Department for Transport. While there were no definitive answers, because at that time last year there was a range of possible Brexit outcomes, it is fair to say that the Minister demonstrated a full grasp of the issues involved. I have confidence that the Government are aware of the issues and know what needs to be addressed in order for there to be a successful outcome for all aspects of transport post Brexit: that is, post the implementation period, in effect, so this is not a burning-platform issue.

I cannot support the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, because I do not think that reports to Parliament are a particularly useful mechanism, especially in the context of what I believe was relatively clear evidence at the time that the Government were aware of the issues and determined to address them. I look forward to hearing my noble friend the Minister’s response and hope that she will be able to demonstrate to the House that the Government are indeed aware of the issues and committed to finding practical solutions to them.