Debates between Baroness Noakes and Lord Alderdice during the 2019 Parliament

Wed 9th Jun 2021
Professional Qualifications Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

Committee stage & Committee stage

Professional Qualifications Bill [HL]

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Lord Alderdice
Lord Alderdice Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Alderdice) (LD)
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I call the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes.

Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, the noble Lord is looking at an out-of-date list of speakers.

Lord Alderdice Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Alderdice) (LD)
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I call the noble Lord, Lord Palmer of Childs Hill.

Lord Alderdice Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Alderdice) (LD)
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I now invite the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, to make her intervention.

Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, I asked the Government Whips’ Office to order the speakers as is normal in the Chamber when we do not have lists—that is to say, those who have tabled amendments are allowed to speak before those who simply wish to comment on them. I was advised that the list was issued late this morning.

The noble Lord, Lord Fox, may recall that I do not like purpose clauses. I believe that a Bill should be written in clear language and that its scope and impact should be readily understandable on its own terms. This Bill fails to meet that test, but I do not think that a purpose clause is the answer. Instead, we should focus on making sure that the Bill itself is fit for purpose. We have tabled a number of amendments aimed at doing this.

I also have a minor quibble with the drafting of Amendment 1. Subsection (2) refers to

“the independent process of defining the accreditation processes of the regulators.”

I believe that the independent processes which this Bill should protect go beyond mere definition of accreditation processes. We do not want any form of interference in the independent processes of regulators. This should be an enabling Bill which should unblock legal impediments to the recognition of overseas qualifications. It must steer clear of all the processes operated by regulators, not just of those defining accreditation.

I put my name down to speak because I recognised the Institute of Chartered Accountants’ provenance of Amendment 12 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Palmer of Childs Hill. That is why I was keen for him to speak first. Amendment 9 in my name, in a later group, is slightly simpler, but on the same basic point. I realised a little too late that perhaps I should have asked to add my amendment to this group. The essence of Amendment 12 is to ensure that inappropriate burdens are not placed on regulators, as the noble Lord, Lord Palmer, has explained. I will not repeat those arguments. I will explain my own amendment when we reach it later.

This is a very real issue. The Government need to look at it again to ensure that their approach is reasonable in the context of what regulators could be compelled to do by the provisions of this Bill. As far as we can, we should seek to avoid any possibility that they could be compelled to do anything unreasonable, burdensome or otherwise inappropriate to their profession.