10 Lord Faulks debates involving the Department for Exiting the European Union

Mon 8th Apr 2019
European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Mon 30th Apr 2018
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
Lords Chamber

Report: 4th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Mon 23rd Apr 2018
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
Lords Chamber

Report: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Mon 12th Mar 2018
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee: 6th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Tue 7th Mar 2017
European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill
Lords Chamber

Report stage (Hansard): House of Lords
Tue 7th Mar 2017
European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill
Lords Chamber

Report stage (Hansard - continued): House of Lords
Wed 1st Mar 2017
European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords

European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill

Lord Faulks Excerpts
I am putting forward this amendment to promote the simplicity of the process, to enable us and the other place to get through by the time when otherwise our period would expire, and to avoid legal uncertainty.
Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords—

--- Later in debate ---
Lord Goldsmith Portrait Lord Goldsmith
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I give way to whoever would like to speak on the opposite Benches.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

I entirely agree with the noble and learned Lord that it is most important that there should be as much legal certainty as there can be, but also that the Prime Minister should have the proper role and authority to negotiate. However, does he agree that the royal prerogative exists to allow the Prime Minister to negotiate on our behalf in international and foreign relations unless Parliament actually restricts that authority? That of course was the subject of the Gina Miller case and the reason behind that decision. If we say nothing about the restrictions on the Prime Minister, she will be able to rely on the royal prerogative.

Lord Goldsmith Portrait Lord Goldsmith
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is quite right that that is a very important point. It was raised at Second Reading that the Government felt strongly, and I understand why, that the royal prerogative should not be subject to at least inadvertent erosion. Of course it has been eroded in certain respects over the years; we do not need to go into what they are but they include treaty making and waging war.

I take from the noble Lord’s point this observation: one great benefit of the amendment proposed by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, and the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, is that it makes clear that the royal prerogative is being maintained. I want to avoid seeing that apparently contradicted by other provisions in the Bill.

I have one other observation to make. I said a few moments ago that there were certain things that could happen: the European Council might accept the proposal or it might come up with another one. However, there is a risk that there might be no agreement at all; that needs to be considered. We have had discussions with the Government. I look to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Callanan—I am sorry, the noble Lord. He should be noble and learned as he has had to deal with so much of this Bill already; we will see if we can arrange that. I anticipate that he will give an assurance that, in the event that there is no agreement, the matter will be brought to the other place as soon as possible. Indeed, we expect it to be brought there this week, otherwise it might simply be too late.

When the noble Lord comes to respond on this amendment, I look forward to hearing what he says about that, and I hope he will give us sufficient assurance that if there is in fact a failure to agree at the European Council meeting then the matter will come back to the other place, which will therefore be able to debate what should happen next. It should do so on an amendable Motion so that it can put forward and support its view on what should take place. I do not know whether it would be for the convenience of the House if the noble Lord could tell us now what he will be able to say but, if not, I look forward to hearing what he says when he comes to respond to the debate.

--- Later in debate ---
Lord Judge Portrait Lord Judge
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

No, it does not. We have to face the context, which is that the Commons has passed the Bill. So we are not having the first go at it; we are having a go at it after the Commons has resolved it.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

The noble Lord, Lord Pannick, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, have helpfully identified a problem with the Bill, in that a counterproposal by the EU could fall between the cracks and result in an accidental no deal, thus frustrating the will of Parliament, in so far as that will is ascertainable.

In the event of a counterproposal, which seems likely, the amendment suggests that the Prime Minister has the power to seek or agree an extension to a date not earlier than 22 May. At col. 337, the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, suggested that approval would still have to be sought for that new date.

I wholly understand the thinking behind the amendment, but the apparent need for it underlines the strange constitutional waters in which we are now swimming. My understanding of the Gina Miller case is that the Government argued that Article 50 could be triggered without parliamentary involvement, whereas the opposing argument, advanced by the noble Lord among others, was that Parliament had legislated in such a way that the royal prerogative was enough on its own and that Parliament need not be involved. By a majority this argument prevailed, although there were three dissenting speeches.

The prerogative, however, allows Ministers, and in this case the Prime Minister, to make or unmake treaties unless Parliament has legislated to restrict that power. It rarely does, hence the paucity of useful precedents in the Gina Miller case. It seems to me that the Prime Minister would be allowed to agree a counterproposal as a matter of law. Whether that would be politically sound is a different matter.

The response of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, is that it is or might be uncertain, but it seems to me that this amendment in fact fetters the royal prerogative. We have a dualist system of law in this country, which has worked well, and I wonder if it is wise to undermine the royal prerogative in this way. To make a constitutional change of this sort needs prolonged and serious thought. A Private Member’s Bill that went through all its stages in the House of Commons in four hours, that was not given pre-legislative scrutiny and that, for good reasons, is hurrying through this House, is surely not the context in which to make significant constitutional changes.

Lord Goldsmith Portrait Lord Goldsmith
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Could the noble Lord enlighten me, at least, as to which amendment he is referring to?

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

I am referring to Amendment 7.

Lord Goldsmith Portrait Lord Goldsmith
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Amendment 7 does not fetter. It actually says the opposite.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

The amendment says, “nothing … prevents”, which I suppose could be said to be saying that the royal prerogative exists—so to that extent it is unnecessary—but it restricts what the Prime Minister can do in its final words. That is my answer to my noble and learned friend.

The wise words of the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, at Second Reading about the constitution are particularly relevant in this context. One of the repeated observations from the EU is that it wants to know what the UK wants. In the context of this Bill, it will ask the reasons for the extension. What answer is the Prime Minister supposed to give, acting as an agent for this disunited Parliament?

This amendment is a worthwhile attempt to clarify the mandate, which apparently the Prime Minister has by virtue of this Bill, but I doubt it is necessary, for the reasons I have given, and I suggest that the House thinks long and hard before making such an important change.

Baroness Butler-Sloss Portrait Baroness Butler-Sloss (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Will the noble Lord answer the points of concern of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, as to why Amendment 7 is needed?

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

I do not want to misrepresent what the noble Lord said, but he suggested that there might be some legal uncertainty and that, theoretically at least, I or some other barrister might be instructed to argue something in court, and this is to avoid legal uncertainty. I am all for avoiding legal uncertainty, but the existence of the royal prerogative can surely not be in doubt, and this is, I suggest, an attempt to fetter that royal prerogative.

I finish with this observation. Lord Reed, Deputy President of the Supreme Court, said in the Gina Miller case of the royal prerogative that the,

“the value of unanimity, strength and dispatch in the conduct of foreign affairs are as evident in the 21st century as they were in the 18th”.

This Bill and this amendment substantially undermine that strength.

Lord Trevethin and Oaksey Portrait Lord Trevethin and Oaksey (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I am yet another lawyer. I apologise for that. I will not detain the House for long.

I respectfully agree with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, that this came to the House as a bad Bill—I would say a very bad Bill. It sought to send the Prime Minister into the conference chamber not naked but wearing a straitjacket, and that was clearly inappropriate given the very delicate negotiations that are going to have to take place this week. As it stood, it was not proper legislation but, in the words of Nye Bevan, “an emotional spasm”.

I fully support the amendments proposed by the noble and noble and learned Lords. They are obviously necessary, bizarrely, to prevent the Bill having the inadvertent effect of increasing the risk of an accidental no-deal exit, so I fully support them. However, I am concerned that, if these amendments pass, the Bill will appear to be, and be, a bit of a mess. The Prime Minister has already, as I recall, made one request for an extension, which is outstanding; I doubt whether it will be accepted. After the Motion is passed in the House of Commons, a further date will be introduced and she will have to write another letter, I think, to the EU specifying another date. That will presumably displace application number one for an extension.

The amendments, which I support, would make it open to her to make a further, third, application for an extension, specifying a further date. That will displace, as I see it, the second application made pursuant to the Motion in the House of Commons. What is left of the Bill, as I see it, is nothing more than this: an edict from Parliament that the extension that the Prime Minister is able to seek cannot end earlier than 22 May 2019. If it had been restricted to that, we would have saved a lot of time.

--- Later in debate ---
Baroness Ludford Portrait Baroness Ludford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, our position is similar to that of the Opposition, as outlined by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith. We on these Benches would of course normally want to uphold the affirmative procedure; after all, we fought hard for it in the EU withdrawal Act. However, we are in exceptional times and it would be absurd for us to get to the end of the week with procedure having got in the way of good legal order.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

At Second Reading, the noble Baroness was inclined to agree with the removal of Clause 2. Indeed, she said so on the basis that the process could be done “expeditiously”, as was done when the date was changed from 29 March to 12 April. Has she changed her mind?

Baroness Ludford Portrait Baroness Ludford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I was reflecting the position and view of my colleagues in the other place. As I said, in principle, we prefer the affirmative procedure. However, I would also prefer to avoid the catastrophe of no deal. Therefore, it would be ridiculous for us to get to the end of week and be prevented from amending exit day by the inhibitions of procedure. I take the point that negative procedure can be prayed against but that risk is relatively minimal.

It is true that Clause 2 is headed, “Procedure for ensuring domestic legislation matches Article 50 extension”. If the Article 50 extension has been agreed to, it is in EU law. I remember the Government being slightly coy two weeks ago in acknowledging that EU law trumps domestic law. Our amending exit day to accord with the date of an extension is an essential tidying-up exercise in domestic law; otherwise, discordance between the two dates leads to uncertainty. It is essential that exit day accords with the Article 50 extension.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Lord Faulks Excerpts
Lord Howarth of Newport Portrait Lord Howarth of Newport
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

There is a great deal of national grumpiness, and when the British people get grumpy, they are a force to be reckoned with. The dispossessed rejected the status quo and were unimpressed by Project Fear, and my advice to my noble friends is to stop digging.

The false simplifications, the distortions and the mendacities on both sides in the referendum campaign were a degradation of our politics. I believe that the nation’s heart would sink at the thought of another bout of all of that. The second referendum would inevitably intensify the divisions and the bitterness of the first one. There would, I fear, be ugly episodes. The losers would demand a third referendum, whatever the noble Lords, Lord Newby and Lord Wigley, say.

We are not immune in this country to the neo-fascism that has so deeply, disturbingly possessed swathes of central and eastern Europe. We are fortunate that the most sinister figure to present himself as a leader of the far right in this country was Nigel Farage. If we were to have a second referendum, I greatly fear that a far more charismatic and sinister leader might emerge on the far right.

In any case, referendums are alien to our constitution, and the issues that would fall to be decided at a referendum, if and when the people were asked to judge the terms of the deal the Government had negotiated, would be immensely complex technical issues about trade, financial services, immigration, security, environmental protection and so forth. These complex issues should be determined by indirect democracy, by the intricate processes of parliamentary government, not by the crude instrument of a plebiscite.

I am always a little unsure of myself when I find myself disagreeing with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, because I have huge respect for his judgment. He calls for one last referendum. But the Constitutional Committee of your Lordships’ House advised us that referendums should occur only rarely, but were appropriate when a major constitutional issue needed to be decided. That is what happened in 2016. There was a referendum on the great constitutional issue of whether we should leave the European Union and reclaim the sovereignty that we had lent to it. That great constitutional issue has been decided. Strictly, of course, as noble Lords have mentioned, in legal terms that particular referendum was advisory, but politically it was binding.

Noble Lords may recollect this document. The Government sent it to every household in the country. It was sent to 27 million households and cost £9.3 million of taxpayers’ money. In it the Government said:

“The referendum on Thursday, 23 June is your chance to decide if we should remain in or leave the European Union … This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide”.


We have to live with the results of our democratic choices. If Parliament and the Government were to renege on the commitment made by the Government in that document, I believe there would be a very serious crisis in our country.

Great political turning points in the national life are inevitably uncomfortable for the establishment. The political genius of the British establishment has hitherto been to accommodate itself, however reluctantly, to big, uncomfortable changes: Catholic emancipation, the Great Reform Act 1832, repeal of the Corn Laws, death duties, reform of the House of Lords in 1911, the welfare state and the loss of empire. The latest such challenge is leaving the European Union. Your Lordships’ House and the people who take the big decisions in government and public administration on behalf of the people should now be similarly prudent, constructive and magnanimous. We should not waste our energy in seeking to overthrow the democratic decision of the British people to leave a European Union that is discredited in the eyes of the majority and perceived as failing because of mass youth unemployment, deep inequalities and its undemocratic nature.

It is for the left to rediscover the generous patriotism of JB Priestley and George Orwell. Agitating for a second referendum is displacement activity. The real challenge is to revive the centre left and to get beyond the intellectual and political bankruptcy of social democracy in the period since 2008 and the global financial crisis. But if all the centre can now offer, 10 years after that moment, is to remain in Europe, voters will say, “These politicians don’t understand us, they don’t respect us and they have nothing useful to offer us”, and they will move to the extremes. If the respectable politicians do not engage with voters on these matters of the deepest possible concern then disreputable politicians will take our place. I heard a former Commissioner of the European Union on the “Today” programme criticise his former colleagues, saying that those in Brussels tend to live in something of a bubble. I hope that will not be said of your Lordships’ House.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I will not go into the virtues of remaining in the European Union or leaving it, but simply concentrate on the amendment. I was one of the Minsters who had the privilege of taking the referendum Bill through your Lordships’ House. As many noble Lords will recall, there were debates about the extent of the franchise, among other matters, but there was no suggestion by any of the major parties of a threshold, let alone a second referendum. One can only imagine the response there would have been following the results if it had been the other way around and there was an attempt then to have a further referendum—surely what is sauce for the goose.

It must be remembered that the Bill went through Parliament when a general election was looming. Any party, or combination of parties, could have formed the next Government. Surely it was incumbent on each party to make clear that it would not honour the result of the referendum without a further vote or the option of one.

There are a number of uncertainties about the amendment. Can we revoke the notification of withdrawal under Article 50? I know that the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, says that we can, but, with the greatest respect to him—I really mean that—that is ultimately a matter that could be determined only by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. We cannot predict with any certainty what the outcome might be. Similarly, we do not know whether we would be able to seek an extension of the Article 50 period, which is also a necessary part of the amendment as provided by proposed new subsection (3), although I know the noble Lord, Lord Newby, has had some secret soundings. But the whole premise of the amendment is legal uncertainty—precisely the opposite of what the Bill is intended to achieve.

There is yet another unsatisfactory aspect to the amendment. If a further referendum were held, it would give two options: acceptance or revocation of the notification of withdrawal, which would lead to our remaining in the EU should there be agreement by all parties or—this is uncertain—the ECJ rules that we are entitled to revoke unilaterally, notwithstanding the objection of any or all of the other 27. But what about the option in the event of a referendum that we should leave the EU without a concluded agreement? This is the no deal scenario. I—and, I suspect, most of your Lordships’ House—would much prefer that we did not leave without a concluded agreement, but there must surely be an opportunity for those voting in this referendum, having been informed by the lengthy and highly publicised process of negotiations between the Government and the EU, to conclude that they do not wish to remain in the EU and nor do they want to accept the deal that has been concluded. The proposed referendum in the amendment precludes that option.

If Parliament now denies voters a chance to leave the EU, except on onerous terms imposed by a combination of parliamentary fetters and/or unreasonable conduct from the EU, surely we should not deny the people the chance to leave without a deal. That would be treating people with contempt, and would be inconsistent with the EU referendum Act passed by both Houses of Parliament and what was or was not said by all the parties when the Bill went through Parliament. I do not need to elaborate on how divisive a further referendum would be—the first one was quite divisive enough.

Finally, is it not time that the Labour Party made clear what its approach to a second referendum is? If it thinks that voters should have an opportunity to think again, should it not say so rather than hover waiting for some political advantage?

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Portrait Lord Kerr of Kinlochard (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I shall speak briefly on two technical points. First, the noble Lord, Lord Green, asked whether we would have to pay a price if we chose to withdraw the Article 50 letter. Secondly, the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, asked whether we are confident that we could withdraw the Article 50 letter unilaterally. The answer to the noble Lord, Lord Green, is that given by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood. Of course we could not be charged a political price if we withdrew the Article 50 letter during the period of the two years’ negotiation because we would never have left. We would have exactly the rights of a member because we would never have given them up. There would be no question of opt-outs or rebates being taken from us. Of course, the converse would apply if, having left the European Union, we decided that we wanted to come back. There would then be no chance of securing opt-outs or rebates. But, as a member in good standing, operating under the normal voting rules—the rebate is removable only by unanimity and I rather suspect we would not vote for its removal—there is no question that we would be paying a political price.

On the question of whether we would legally be able to withdraw the letter unilaterally, the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, who is a much better lawyer than I am—I am not a lawyer at all—said that that would be a matter for the ECJ. With respect, I do not think so. If the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom appeared in the European Council and said that, as a result of an election or a referendum, there had been a change of view in the United Kingdom and that we would like to stay in the European Union, there is absolutely no doubt what the European Council’s answer would be. It is on the record. The President of the Council, the President of the Commission, the President of the Parliament, the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany are all on record as saying that, although they respect our plan to leave, they would rather we changed our mind and stayed. There is absolutely no doubt that the European Council would say yes. It is conceivable that, three years later, a case might go to the European Court of Justice. Were the European Council correct and intra vires when it agreed that the British might take back their Article 50 letter, I have absolutely no doubt how the ECJ would rule in that case when it came up.

The second point I want to touch on is whether an extension of the two-year negotiating period would, if we sought it, be obtainable. This seems very relevant to the amendment we are considering. If the House of Commons were to choose to adopt the option—it is only an option in the amendment—of putting the deal to the people, it would require an extension. It would be impossible to do that before 29 March. We do not have a referendum law in our statute book; we would have to pass one. There would then have to be a campaign. Realistically, we would be looking at June or perhaps September. We would be looking for, say, a six-month extension.

Would we secure the necessary unanimity in the European Council for that extension? It is a matter of judgment. In my view, it would depend entirely on the reason we gave. If, for example, we said, “We’d like an extension to carry on negotiating. We’d like to send David Davis across for a few more months”, it is conceivable that we might not get the necessary unanimity. If, on the other hand, we were to tell 27 democracies that we needed an extension because the House of Commons had voted in a way that meant there had to be a referendum, or an election, there is no question but that we would get the necessary unanimity—in my view; that is only a judgment. The option in the amendment, and it is only an option, therefore seems reasonable, foreseeable and possible, and I shall vote for it.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Lord Faulks Excerpts
Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Baroness makes a very good point as to why the retention of the charter would not be of any use once we have left Europe.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, the arguments in favour of the amendment seem to come down to two. One is that we are leaving the EU so we need all the rights that we can possibly get, and we need them as protected as widely as we possibly can. The second seems to be, “Why pick on the charter if you are retaining the rest of EU law?” I will not repeat all the arguments that we have already heard, and I will endeavour to be brief.

I have studied the Government’s analysis of the various rights contained in the charter, and almost all of them seem to be covered by our law in statute, by common law or by the European convention that is now part of our law by the Human Rights Act. Indeed the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, was right all those years ago when he said that the charter added nothing. Important though rights are, and ensuring their protection must be a fundamental part of what we do in this House, we should not presume that every convention, charter or other aspirational document must necessarily result in justiciable rights—that is, rights that you can sue on. If the amendment is passed, I will be able to bring a claim on the basis that my dignity has been invaded. Of course dignity is very important, but if we had thought that it was something that ought to give rise to a claim for damages then over our long legal history either our judges would have invented such a claim or Parliament would have done so. We seem to have got on reasonably well without it. How are judges supposed to make sense of this to make it legally coherent?

Many noble Lords may have noticed that the amendment specifically excludes the preamble to the charter and Chapter V—understandably, because Chapter V is to do with European elections. But the preamble frames the charter and explains what it is all about. It is quite a lengthy part of the charter, and begins:

“The peoples of Europe, in creating an ever closer union among them, are resolved to share a peaceful future based on common values”.


So the whole charter is premised on membership of the European Union.

Let me take just two further examples from the charter. Article 16 confers,

“freedom to conduct a business in accordance with Union law and national laws and practice”.

Article 36 states:

“The Union recognises and respects access to services of general economic interest as provided for in national laws and practices, in accordance with the Treaties, in order to promote the social and territorial cohesion of the Union”.


We are leaving the European Union. As the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford, said, the charter specifically deals with EU institutions acting in the scope of the EU law. How we are supposed to have it in our law to be relied on—justiciable—after we have left the European Union does not seem to me to make much sense. Much good law has come from Europe, I entirely accept, but we should not take a theological attitude towards it and assume that it has some greater status than anything passed by our legislature.

My final concern is that the amendment would directly frustrate the purpose of the Bill, which is to provide legal clarity as we leave the European Union. Profitable litigation is far more likely to flow if the charter is a part of our law; not the other way round.

I have an amendment to the clause, as the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, pointed out. The charter, a relatively recent document, was supposed to reflect the jurisprudence of the European court, and I do not quarrel with it as a summary of the way in which the court has approached various issues. It was in those circumstances that I thought it might be helpful to suggest that when one was interpreting a particular piece of retained law, if and in so far as the charter was part of it, one might look at the charter. We certainly do not want to be bound by the charter in future. My noble and learned friend may tell me that the answer to my amendment lies in Clause 5(5), although I have read that more than once and find it somewhat difficult to understand.

Suffice it to say that if we have the charter as part of our law in future, it will make very little sense. Who will interpret the charter? Of course, it is the European Court of Justice, with all the shortcomings pointed out by the noble Baroness, Lady Deech. This would be a great mistake.

Lord Cashman Portrait Lord Cashman (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I may offer a slightly different opinion on our discussion. It is really interesting as a member of a minority. Over the years, generations of lesbians and gay men and others of different minorities have stood before Parliament and requested equality—requested a life without discrimination. The arguments have gone back and forth, and laws went ahead that denied us equality and participation as equal citizens. We often then had recourse to the courts. Before the Human Rights Act, that was often painful, expensive and outside the choices of most ordinary men and women.

As a gay man having, at the age of 67, lived virtually all of my life without equality, it is interesting to hear the different legal arguments for a charter that enforces my right, among others, to non-discrimination, which does not exist anywhere else in UK domestic law. That it widens it further into the principle of non-discrimination and into every country of the European Union, where I would have freedom of movement and protection in those countries, is something that I welcome.

For me, the charter is a repetition of many rights that currently exist, but actually the formulation of some rights that hitherto were not listed and enumerated. For me, the repetition of a right does not weaken that right, especially when we are seeking equality and equal protection. The repetition of a right reinforces it. I care not if it is repeated again and again—from convention to charter to charter—because ultimately, if we seek equality and equal citizenship, we should have as many legal instruments on which to argue as we can.

I commend the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, on moving this amendment so eloquently. I welcome the arguments he outlined: to look again at a charter that lists your rights. To be able, within that charter, to know that you are either a victim or being denied a right offers a simplicity that brings with it, I believe, accountability—accountability of parliaments and accountability through the courts. I too am suspicious of the Government, and I say that to some of my friends who are in government. I have watched time after time as members of the Conservative Party in the European Parliament have voted against equality and non-discriminatory measures. That worried me for the 15 years I was there. I worry, too, that the Conservative manifesto 2015 said that it would scrap the Human Rights Act. I also worry, as my noble friend Lady Lister outlined, that the Conservative manifesto 2017 said:

“We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway but we will consider our human rights legal framework when the process of leaving the EU concludes. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the next parliament”.


When it comes to the European convention and the charter, I want commitments beyond Parliament.

These rights are not for the Government to ditch. Indeed, the Government have no mandate to detach the Charter of Fundamental Rights from the rights that we have achieved in this country, and no mandate to detach the charter from the EU retained law. I believe that maintaining the charter brings greater legal certainty, not less. The Government’s declaration that the Charter of Fundamental Rights is not necessary is disingenuous. They cannot say on the one hand that it is not necessary and then argue passionately against its inclusion. That makes no sense whatever, but maybe I have not been in your Lordships’ House long enough.

Within the charter, rights exist that do not exist elsewhere in the European Convention on Human Rights: the inviolability of human dignity, the non-discrimination, the right to be forgotten, the rights of the elderly, data protection, and so on. Ministers and others have argued that it is not necessary to reaffirm the rights in the charter. I ask simply: why not? Why not reaffirm rights? We need reassurances for our rights and their protections now more than ever. This country has never been more divided and more hostile to the opinions of others. Discrimination and victimisation are not diminishing; they are on the increase. We face great challenges and unprecedented change, so we need more certainty and reassurance, not less. Reassurance is absolutely necessary if we are to embark on a journey whose destination is unknown, and the journey there needs to unite this divided country, not imperil it.

The rights are codified into a simple charter, and they come with a long history of the denial of rights and out of the commitment of a group of nations never again to return to the horrors of the past. As the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford, said, they cannot do all things with all situations—but, even if it is aspiration, what an aspiration to laud and support. The horrors of the past were faced by individuals and individuals who made up minorities, who were seen as different, as outsiders, and were defamed, misrepresented and made unpopular. They were painted as unworthy of equality, a threat. Those times and sentiments never disappear; they hover, waiting for the political opportunity, and wait they still do.

--- Later in debate ---
Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall) (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I should inform the House that if either Amendment 21 or Amendment 22 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments 23, 24 and 25 for reasons of pre-emption.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

My Lords—

Lord Keen of Elie Portrait Lord Keen of Elie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I wonder whether, with the permission of the House, I might respond to the noble Lord, Lord Pannick. I appreciate that there may be other contributions, which I will seek to answer, but it may help the House if I indicate the Government’s position on the four propositions put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, so that we can be clear on the way forward. I shall seek to move government Amendments 23, 24 and 25, which directly address and respond to the concerns raised by many noble Lords when your Lordships last debated the matter in Committee. I hope that noble Lords will support those amendments; I note in passing that they bear a striking resemblance to Amendment 21, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, and Amendment 22, tabled by my noble friend Lord Faulks, whom I cut across a moment ago.

For the avoidance of doubt, I want to make clear that the provision in Clause 6(2) does not seek to legislate to give effect to the content of a withdrawal agreement or implementation period. If there is a role for the Court of Justice as part of that agreement, as has been set out in the joint report on citizens’ rights, it would be legislated for under the separate withdrawal agreement and implementation Bill. I reiterate that Clause 6(2) has always intended to make clear that, after exit, UK courts will no longer be bound by future judgments of the Court of Justice. Instead, our courts will be free to take them into account when making their decisions, just as they would also be able to consider anything done by another EU entity or the EU itself. This approach reflects the Government’s core belief that our domestic courts are best placed to consider whether, and to what extent, to have regard to post-exit Court of Justice case law.

--- Later in debate ---
On the fourth and final point made by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, I reiterate that the Lord Chancellor has been absolutely clear in his commitment to steadfastly defend the independence of the judiciary. I acknowledge that we have a world-renowned judiciary, a court system that is open to all and a system of justice that everyone in this country can be confident in and that lives up to our deep-rooted sense of justice and fairness. I assure the House that the Government—and the Lord Chancellor, in particular—understand the fundamental importance of this; the Lord Chancellor will continue to defend the independence of our courts. With that, I recognise that there may be further observations to be made.
Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

My Lords, the genesis of this debate is at least in part the evidence that the former President and current President of the Supreme Court gave to the Constitution Committee of your Lordships’ House. We had a good debate in Committee. It is clear that the judges wanted clarity as to how they should approach decisions of the European Court of Justice post Brexit, perhaps not least because of the difficulty they had relating to the Human Rights Act in determining what “taking into account” meant. Clarity would certainly have followed if they were told either to follow or to ignore the decisions, but that would not have been sensible or what the Government wanted.

As a result, we were engaged in something of a struggle to find the right formulation. The word “appropriate” in the original Bill received an almost unanimous no. “Relevant” is clearly important, but in some senses it is hardly necessary because the court will not take into account a decision that is irrelevant. I tabled an amendment, which is before the House, saying “relevant and helpful”. I readily concede that “helpful” is not a word that often finds its way into statute. However, I was quoting precisely what the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Hale, recently said about how the court would regard, for example, foreign law and whether it would follow it because the reasoning was persuasive, rather than because it was bound to follow it.

Therefore, “relevant” on its own is, frankly, suboptimal, but I have been nevertheless persuaded by what my noble and learned friend said. It is the result of a number of heads being put together and the best conceivable solution being found. I was particularly reassured by his answer to the four points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, not least his answer to his fourth point about the position of the Lord Chancellor, which I am sure everybody in this House would support.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd Portrait Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I will make one or two observations, having raised this matter at Second Reading. I am very grateful to the Minister for his amendment, which certainly brings about clarity and certainty. But, having discussed the matter with others, I want to make sure that the certainty and consequences are clearly understood.

The draftsmanship is elegant, because although under subsection (2) a court may have regard to decisions made by the European Court of Justice after exit so far as they are relevant to any matter before the court, making that provision subject to subsections (3) to (6) means that a court could do so only to clarify the meaning or effect of retained EU law as at the date of exit. It therefore has the effect of confirming what I describe as the ossification of retained EU law as at the date of exit. Only the Supreme Court is permitted to depart from any retained EU case law under the test set out in subsection (5).

Although certainty is therefore brought about, it is at the price of ossification, other than by appeal to the Supreme Court. Ossification is a principle alien to the common law, which, while it has always sought certainty, has also always allowed a significant degree of flexibility to enable the law to develop and adapt to changing times. The principles of common law development are thus denied in the application of retained EU law to any court other than the Supreme Court.

A further feature of the clause is that the Supreme Court is given no guidance as to how it may exercise its right to depart from decisions of the European Court of Justice, save by reference to the 1966 practice statement and the subsequent case law. I think it right therefore to remind the House that it is giving the Supreme Court a very considerable degree of untrammelled power, subject, of course, to the right to reverse any such decision. I am very grateful to the Minister for the assurance he has given that if, in the exercise of that power, decisions are made they will be fully defended, but it is a considerable power.

I will make two further observations. First, a consequence of confining the power to depart from European Court decisions to the Supreme Court may well mean a significant increase in the case load of the Supreme Court. As we know, it has much else to do. I therefore ask the Minister if he would reconsider amending subsection (5) to permit the Courts of Appeal of England and Wales and of Northern Ireland, and the Inner House in Scotland, to be given a similar power. Not only would that alleviate the burden on the Supreme Court, but the experience of many sitting in the Supreme Court has shown that it is generally greatly assisted if it has a prior judgment of the Court of Appeal or Inner House on the question before it.

The final observation I will make echoes what the Minister said. As was often said in Committee, the Bill seeks to provide for a functioning statute book on exit in the event that there is no agreement with the EU. It has also been said there will have to be significant amendment by at least one further Bill in the event of agreement. If, for example, it is agreed that certain fields of our law or regulation must remain aligned for the purposes of non-tariff barriers, it will be necessary to ensure that the courts can take this into account in interpreting retained EU law and therefore have regard to subsequent European Court decisions to ensure that the law or regulations remain completely aligned. It is therefore, I regret to say, a matter that, in the event of an agreement, we shall have to return to at a subsequent stage. Again, I emphasise my thanks to the Minister for the discussions he has had and the certainty and clarity he has brought about.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Lord Faulks Excerpts
Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Portrait Lord Stevenson of Balmacara
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I thank the noble Lords, Lord Warner and Lord Clement-Jones, for their contributions. The interesting exchange we have had here went a bit wider than we perhaps needed to do on this Bill. But I am afraid that it reflects our concern on two, or perhaps now three, sides of the House that we may have missed something quite important in relation to the Data Protection Bill and its assurance of the fundamental rights involved in it.

The Minister said that she felt that the Government had fully implemented the GDPR through the Data Protection Act—but I do not think that is right. This is for another time, but the amendment to Clause 2 that was made on Report, which we welcomed and signed up to, flagged up that the Government had not quite yet got to the bottom of the argument. The rights deficit that arises with the failure to ensure that Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights is in place as a back-stop or underfloor element to the Data Protection Act means that there may be dangers going forward. That was the starting point for this amendment. If it is possible to see it more fully worked in the way that was suggested creatively by the noble Lord, Lord Warner, building on an earlier suggestion from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, with the Bill picking out high-risk areas in our public life which need to be given extra protection, that might be a solution to one of the issues raised.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

I know that the noble Lord is coming back to an issue which was much discussed during the course of the Data Protection Bill. The charter, in particular, was raised in that context. But one of the difficulties pointed out during those debates was that the charter is expressed in generalities, as opposed to the Data Protection Act we now have, which is far more specific. The noble Lord once again invokes the charter. He will not have forgotten that the Human Rights Act and Article 8 are expressly preserved by Clause 7(7). Does he not agree that we are trying to have as clear a position as possible? The Minister explained that Clause 7 is of a limited but important purpose: to enable that clarity to be achieved.

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Portrait Lord Stevenson of Balmacara
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to the noble Lord for his intervention, because it allows me to refer back to the recently received JCHR report, Legislative Scrutiny: The EU (Withdrawal) Bill: A Right by Right Analysis. I am sure he is familiar with it. It says, if I can find the paragraph—I will talk quickly until I do—that there is still some doubt as to whether the treatment accorded to Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights is covered in the Data Protection Act. The report says:

“The Government … relies heavily in its analysis”,


on the GDPR,

“as a means of incorporating Article 8 of the Charter into domestic law. The GDPR and the Data Protection Bill contain numerous rights for data subjects. However, the Bill does not explicitly incorporate Article 8 … Given the vast number of exemptions and derogations from these rights provided for in the Bill, there is a question as to whether the Bill offers protection that is equivalent to Article 8 of the Charter”.

I put it to the noble Lord that this is an open question.

I know that I am straying into territory that we do not need to, but I started doing that because I was aware that my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition had not yet arrived to take the Statement. I have now been caught going a bit further than I should have, and I apologise to your Lordships’ House. I will sum up quickly. I accept the good intentions from the Minister. May I suggest to her that it might be worth one further discussion on this issue before we finalise our consideration of this Bill and the Data Protection Act? With that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Brexit: Revocability

Lord Faulks Excerpts
Wednesday 20th December 2017

(6 years, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I have absolutely no idea but I will find out and write to the noble and learned Lord.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords—

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Evans of Bowes Park) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, many eminent noble Lords want to speak. We will hear from the noble Lord, Lord Faulks.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I know that the House wants to hear from the author of Article 50, and of course it should. However, whatever the subjective interpretation he may have of Article 50, it is ultimately a question of objective interpretation. Will the Minister agree with me that whatever the advice may be in respect of Article 50—if there is indeed advice—it is a matter ultimately for the European Court of Justice, and we do not know what it will decide?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my noble friend for his opinion. He is of course correct.

European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

Lord Faulks Excerpts
Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Portrait Lord Kerr of Kinlochard (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I disagree with the amendment because I see two defects in it, one of which was highlighted by the noble Lord, Lord Lexden, a moment ago. It purports to tie the hands of Parliament—which it should not do—unlike Amendment 3, which we will debate later today, which gives Parliament the certainty of having more options. The second defect is that the amendment does not address the increasing possibility that there will be no settlement, no agreement, and that we fall out.

What I do not like in this debate—I did not like it at Second Reading or in Committee—is the suggestion that in some way it would be illegitimate for the country to think again. There is a frog chorus behind the Minister. Every time he says, “It was decided”, the chorus behind him chants, “Koàx-koáx, decided, decided”. This is the lemming position. No matter how awful the deal turns out to be, no matter how unlike the promises of the leavers the eventual deal turns out to be, no matter how steep the cliff and stormy the sea, we must go over. There is no time to think again; there is no chance of turning back on any decision.

I find that strangely reminiscent of the Moscow I worked in in 1968, when Soviet foreign policy ran on the Brezhnev doctrine. The House will remember the Brezhnev doctrine, which said that once you have voted Communists in, you cannot vote Communists out. It was a very good doctrine for running central and eastern Europe. That seems to be the position of most of the government Back-Benches today.

I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, will consult his new right honourable friend Mr David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and will come to the conclusion that Mr Davis was right when he said that if a democracy cannot think again, cannot change its mind, it is no longer a democracy. I rather agree.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I do not think I am a frog or a lemming, but I was one of the Ministers at the Dispatch Box when we took the European Union Referendum Bill through this House and I think we should have regard to what we decided in Parliament in that Act. A number of amendments were tabled but, I say to the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, there was no amendment about thresholds, no amendment to nuance the simple question that was posed, no amendment to say that we would only leave if we stayed within the single market, and, in particular, no amendment saying that there would be a second referendum. Why not? Was it because the alternatives were too complicated? There were only two outcomes of the referendum: either we remained or we left. Was it political negligence by parliamentarians not to table these amendments, or were they content with the Bill and its binary question?

We are having this debate contrary to what was generally considered to be the law, which was that it was the right of the Government, exercising the royal prerogative—

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Portrait Lord Foulkes of Cumnock
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

These amendments were tabled in the previous Bill introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, as a surrogate for the Government. If they were tabled and defeated or withdrawn on that occasion, some people may have felt that there was no point in raising them at a later stage.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

I find that remarkably unpersuasive.

As a result of the decision of the people, most thought that there was a power for the Government to negotiate and do the best deal possible. We then had the Gina Miller case, but there is nothing in the Supreme Court judgment, in my view, which either expressly or impliedly endorses the amendment advanced by the noble Lord, Lord Newby.

This is opportunism motivated by the perfectly understandable view, which I share, that we should not have voted to leave the EU. However, if we vote for this amendment, we will be ignoring what we decided in the European Union Referendum Act, we will be ignoring the vote and we will be ignoring the House of Commons. It is time for a little constitutional modesty on our part.

European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

Lord Faulks Excerpts
Baroness Kennedy of Shaws Portrait Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I think it is the occasion for the Labour Benches. I remind the House that the Supreme Court gave us the benefit of its wisdom on constitutional matters in the case of Gina Miller, which we have heard about. In that case, the Supreme Court’s principal conclusion was that primary legislation is required to authorise the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. I make it clear that this Bill is a notification Bill; it is not an authorisation Bill. It does not authorise withdrawal from the European Union. What it does is to notify other European Union members that we are in a process of negotiation. The withdrawal must come back before this Parliament.

I also remind the House what the Supreme Court judges said. They said that the reason why this was a matter for Parliament—both the notification and, finally, withdrawal—was because any fundamental change to our laws that inevitably amends or abrogates our individual rights requires the approval of Parliament. That is one of the essential constitutional principles under which our system operates: that anything involving our rights—whether they are to trade with, to live in or to travel to the European Union—we have introduced into domestic law. Because that therefore involves the rights of citizens, Parliament is the place that has to make the decision and approve any changes to that law.

The concern that I raised in Committee late at night, when most people were no longer here, was that I had heard repeatedly from Ministers that if there was not a deal, or if Parliament decided that the deal was not good enough, we would walk away and that there was therefore authorisation from the people, having taken part in the referendum, to walk away. That flies in the face of what was said by the constitutional court of this country—the Supreme Court, which deals with constitutional issues—because walking away and embarking on an engagement in trade worldwide under the WTO rules also involves an amendment or abrogation of some of the rights that citizens in this country have. It has implications. That is why it is a constitutional matter and why this House has a particular role to play.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

Perhaps I can remind the noble Baroness of the limits of what the Supreme Court decided. In paragraph 3, it said:

“It is also worth emphasising that this case has nothing to do with issues such as the wisdom of the decision to withdraw from the European Union, the terms of withdrawal, the timetable or arrangements for withdrawal, or the details of any future relationship with the European Union”.


There is a distinct limit to what it decided. Does the noble Baroness agree?

Baroness Kennedy of Shaws Portrait Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

In reaching that decision, the Supreme Court laid out the principle that the reason why it was engaging with the case at all was not because it had a view on Brexit but because of the constitutional principle. The principle is very straightforward. It is that when it comes to our rights, Parliament makes those decisions. That is why when the process comes to the end and there is a deal on the table it has to be voted upon by Parliament but, if there is no deal, that too becomes an issue. It is not good enough for Ministers of Government to say that we just walk away as though that has no consequences. Walking away also has consequences for the rights of citizens in this country. That is why it is a matter for Parliament. That is why this proposed new clause is so important.

European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

Lord Faulks Excerpts
Lord Oates Portrait Lord Oates
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, for his clarity on that matter. In short, the amendment will ensure that Parliament will have a proper and meaningful oversight of the most important decision that the United Kingdom Government will have made in my lifetime.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

The noble Lord will probably remember that at Second Reading the noble Lord, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, indicated that he thought that the Europeans negotiating would give us an extension of the two-year period and, furthermore, that they would probably allow us to withdraw the Article 50 notice altogether. If that is so, would he agree that subsection (4) together with the extension would result in our negotiators being locked for ever in a room labelled Article 50 until we give up?

Lord Oates Portrait Lord Oates
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

No, I would not agree with that. Fascinating as it is for me to comment on what the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, said at Second Reading or otherwise, I will leave it to him to comment, but I do not agree that that would be the case.

Those who argued that the purpose of Brexit was to take back control and restore parliamentary sovereignty should have no problem with this at all. I would say with respect to the noble Lord, Lord Spicer, that the real irony is that people who talk so much about parliamentary sovereignty want to surrender it so easily to the Executive.

As the House will be aware, while the Liberal Democrats fully support this amendment and its objective of giving Parliament a real and meaningful say, we believe that, once Parliament has spoken, the people should have the final word in a national referendum. Noble Lords have different views on this subject but, whatever one’s view on the referendum, this amendment will ensure that we make real the promise to take back control and that our Parliament has real and meaningful oversight of the outcome of negotiations. I am very pleased to support the amendment.

The Process for Triggering Article 50

Lord Faulks Excerpts
Tuesday 24th January 2017

(7 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords—

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I think fairness indicates that we expect to hear from UKIP and then from the Lib Dem Benches.

--- Later in debate ---
Lord Bridges of Headley Portrait Lord Bridges of Headley
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I completely agree with the noble Baroness that such abuse has absolutely no place in our society. As I said to the most reverend Primate, there is absolutely no reason for that. The court was simply doing what it is there to do, which is to hear a case. People are entitled to bring those kind of cases and they should continue to be entitled to do that. That is what the basis of our rule of law is all about and we must do all we can to protect it. As regards the first part of the noble Baroness’s question, I dispute what she is saying in the sense that I believe that the implications of leaving the European Union were set out pretty clearly in the referendum campaign by both sides. Indeed, I have somewhere here long lists of those on both sides of the campaign saying what a vote to leave would mean, especially that a vote to leave would mean leaving the single market. Therefore, I do not believe that that was unclear. As regards the uncertainty, I concur: obviously there will be uncertainty in a period of change such as this. The Government are doing what they can to set out wherever possible how we will bring certainty to the situation that we are in. As I said a moment or two ago, the whole thinking behind the great repeal Bill is to port EU law into UK law, so that on day one we are certain about where we stand. I think that is a good approach to follow and I hope that over the weeks and months ahead people will understand that better than they may do at the moment.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I very much welcome the fact that, in the Statement, the Government have made it absolutely clear that they respect the judiciary’s independence and accept this judgment, and have done so promptly. It is, of course, a sign of a functioning democracy that the Government, however irksome that they might find it, will lose cases from time to time. Turning to the democratic legitimacy of the referendum, this was an Act of Parliament giving a vote to the people. Does the Minister agree with me that it is a somewhat imaginative interpretation of that vote that what the people of the country were really saying was that they wanted a second referendum?

Lord Bridges of Headley Portrait Lord Bridges of Headley
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I entirely agree with my noble friend. As I said before, a second referendum would lace a situation that the noble Baroness spoke of a moment ago—in which people feel uncertain—with even more uncertainty. This is absolutely not what we wish to have.

A New Partnership with the EU

Lord Faulks Excerpts
Tuesday 17th January 2017

(7 years, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Bridges of Headley Portrait Lord Bridges of Headley
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, it is since people voted to leave the European Union in the referendum on 23 June. The consequences of that vote and the options open have therefore been analysed and assessed, and the Prime Minister has set out the plan that we have heard today.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, it is quite clear from the Statement that after Brexit, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will end. However, there is suggestion in some quarters that European law could in some way be rediscovered as the common law by the judges of our courts. Can my noble friend confirm that the continued application of EU law is a matter for Parliament alone?

Lord Bridges of Headley Portrait Lord Bridges of Headley
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My noble friend makes an interesting point. We have made it clear today as regards the ECJ. I will have further things to say about the application of EU case law, as and when we outline our proposals on the great repeal Bill, but the thrust of what he says is correct.