51 Lord Lea of Crondall debates involving the Leader of the House

Tue 22nd Feb 2022
Wed 30th Oct 2019
Early Parliamentary General Election Bill
Lords Chamber

2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Mon 24th Jun 2019
Mon 25th Mar 2019
Mon 17th Dec 2018
Mon 26th Mar 2018

Ukraine Update

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
Tuesday 22nd February 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

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Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)
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I cannot remember whether it was mentioned in the Statement or in my response to the noble Baroness, but when the Prime Minister was in Munich he made it clear that, if we were asked for further contributions to NATO, we would provide them. We have been working very closely with NATO allies in this area and within the broader region, and we are absolutely committed to defending and supporting Ukraine; we certainly will be playing our part.

Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, will the Minister tell us what she thinks are the pros and cons of maintaining a stance of ambiguity on Ukrainian membership of NATO?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)
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It is obviously up to Ukraine whether it wishes to apply to join NATO. Under NATO’s open-door policy, all European democracies are entitled to pursue membership; the decision over whether to seek membership is for the people of Ukraine.

Early Parliamentary General Election Bill

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 30th October 2019

(4 years, 6 months ago)

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Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall (Lab)
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My Lords, the point has been made, but I would like to put it in a slightly different way: I think it is scandalous that something called the Fixed-term Parliaments Act can be used in this way, where we have a Bill with a clause that more or less says that, notwithstanding the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, we will have an election right now and, by the way, does not say in Clause 2 “and hereby repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act”. That makes no sense. It was said right at the start of this debate by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, that this was an extraordinary way to proceed.

Secondly, I would like to reflect on the same point that was made by my noble friend Lord Whitty. Unless one believes in miracles—most people do not—the idea that a general election will now help bridge the divide between the two halves of our split country is not credible. To bridge the divide, something substantive would need to be on the table: for example, that we would leave the EU but stay in the single market with an arrangement, which is not impossible because some of the EFTA countries do exactly that under the EEA; that we would carry on with the free movement of workers, perhaps with some change to the boundaries of that; and that we would keep to the dynamics of regulatory alignment for technical standards, which we need because Europe is the biggest economy in the world—bigger than the United States and bigger than China—and it is a single factory floor. Those of us who worked in the trade union movement and people in the Labour Party at the moment often make this point and are generally solidly, certainly in the private sector, in favour of staying in the EU. How can that come over in a general election when the big lie, in the era of Trump, not only will not bring the people together but increase the amount of anger.

Something has to change fundamentally. I think the man in the moon—or the woman in the moon—would say, “You have to find some substantive agreement in the middle, or this will lead to more and more cynicism”. This will already be an election based on doubling the level of cynicism of any previous one. There are the two money trees. One side says, “We will spend £500 billion on this”; no, we will not. The other side then says, “We will spend £600 billion on this”; well, jolly good. I know that in Brazil and Argentina elections are always like that, but since when are our elections like that? The best are being driven out in this way, in which the electorate are treated as lacking in intelligence. This destroys public trust and confidence. Those people who believe what is being said along these lines have to get up and keep on saying it.

By the way, with reference to the statue of Oliver Cromwell, I am one of those campaigning for a statue of Jo Cox to be put outside on College Green. Very few women are represented in the stonework around the Palace. As she was in campaigning mode—as I am now, as it were—she was murdered for doing that. Of course, she was very firmly committed to our staying in Europe, but it could have happened to either side. We need more recognition that this is how British politics should be. We should not be tearing ourselves apart, so we have to look to that outcome.

Finally, I would like to reflect on the approach of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Holbeach. On this side, I add my thanks to him for his courtesy—not deserved by some of us—in the course of his time as Chief Whip. We should build on that sort of good will, as was called for by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham.

European Council

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
Monday 24th June 2019

(4 years, 11 months ago)

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Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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The noble Lord is absolutely right that, as I said, there was no substantive discussion of Iran at the Council but it was indeed raised in discussions at the margins. However, I am sure he is aware that over the weekend my right honourable friend the Minister for the Middle East went to Tehran and met senior Iranian government representatives there. That visit was an opportunity for further engagement about our long-standing concerns over Iran’s destabilising activity. In those conversations he reiterated our assessment that Iran almost certainly bears responsibility for the recent attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman and stressed that such activity needs to stop to allow for an immediate de-escalation of rising tensions. He also discussed the nuclear deal and reiterated our support for that, as well as raising our concerns over the continued imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. So while discussions did not happen at the Council, as the noble Lord points out, I assure him that we took the lead in having discussions in Tehran over the weekend.

The noble Lord is absolutely right that without a withdrawal agreement, as the EU has said, there can be no implementation period.

Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall (Lab)
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My Lords, the Leader’s remarkable agreement with the support expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Newby, for the EU five-year strategy document sounds to me like the sort of thing people on this side used to say. Could she send a copy of this to both candidates to make sure that sensible questions can be asked at the hustings about the future of the European Union and our relationship with it, based on this document?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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The noble Lord will know that the Council’s conclusions are available for all to read. I am sure everyone interested will do so.

Leaving the European Union

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
Wednesday 22nd May 2019

(5 years ago)

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--- Later in debate ---
Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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We certainly want a positive and fruitful relationship with the European Union going forward. That is why we are working towards this deal. That is why we believe that this deal is the best way to deliver a smooth and orderly Brexit and ensure that we have a strong relationship with the EU and all its citizens in the future.

Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall
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My Lords, in point 8, about future relationships, we have the very interesting statement that the Government are proposing that,

“the new Brexit deal will set out in law that the House of Commons will approve the UK’s objectives for the negotiations”.

Does the noble Baroness the Leader of the House not recall that this was exactly the proposal carried by this House? Some of us were very pleased to know that this would be enabling the House of Commons to have a vehicle for reaching consensus. At that time, a year ago, it was denounced as being totally unconstitutional and against the conventions of the history of Parliament in this country.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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I am glad the noble Lord at least agrees with one element of the withdrawal Bill, and I look forward to his support on the rest of it.

European Council

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
Monday 25th March 2019

(5 years, 2 months ago)

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Lord Newby Portrait Lord Newby (LD)
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My Lords, the same applies to me.

Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall (Lab)
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My Lords, the European Council says in its conclusions—I have a copy in front of me—that it,

“expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward”,

before 12 April 2019. This cannot simply mean that there is a contradiction with the sentence that follows, which says:

“The European Council reiterates that there can be no re-opening of the Withdrawal Agreement that was agreed … in November 2018”.


Therefore, can the Minister confirm that the European Council would be ready to look at an alternative set of proposals that could be put forward by this Parliament?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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The noble Lord is right that there are two elements to the extension that has been agreed. If the deal is passed this week, there will be an extension to 22 May to get the legislation through. If the deal is not passed this week, the extension is to 12 April, at which point we will either leave with no deal, because that remains the legal default even post the SI, or a plan will be put forward for alternative arrangements. Those are the two options that we have in front of us, which is why we are hoping to be able to bring the vote forward again.

EU Council

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
Monday 17th December 2018

(5 years, 5 months ago)

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Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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I understand that the Electoral Commission has recently published figures showing that the referendum in 2016 cost around £150 million or £160 million. If that is incorrect then I will write to my noble friend, but I think those are the figures that were published. We are not considering a second referendum. We are working to ensure that this deal is passed by the House of Commons.

Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall (Lab)
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My Lords, much has been made of the need to get the right sequencing into all this. People have generally agreed that it has to be sequenced in a proper way. In order that we do not run out of road, can the noble Baroness the Leader confirm that the current government thinking is that, now that we know the meaningful vote is not until the middle of January, nevertheless there will be time for Parliament to use its good offices to look at how far different options can add value to the way in which the body politic goes forward before other ideas are considered in this very tight timetable, unless we extend the period?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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I reiterate that the meaningful vote will be held in the week of 14 January. Obviously we are looking towards winning that vote. As I have also set out, if the House of Commons rejects the deal then there is a process set out in legislation but, as the Statement said, if the deal goes through then we are looking at ways in which we can engage Parliament further in future as we move into the political relationship.

Leaving the European Union

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
Monday 26th November 2018

(5 years, 5 months ago)

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Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall (Lab)
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Does the noble Baroness agree that, on this occasion, and very unusually, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, misspoke? The question I think he posed was: given that we will leave the European Union, this is the best deal and there is no alternative. But that is patently not the case. Whatever the merits of EFTA or the European Union moving from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2, the option is available and has been well covered in many recent pamphlets.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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An EEA-type agreement is not comprehensive and would not cover issues such as customs, external and internal security, the CAP, the CFP or Euratom. It would leave significant gaps in our wider relationship with the EU. This is a deal that covers all those areas.

Brexit: Negotiations

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
Thursday 15th November 2018

(5 years, 6 months ago)

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Lord Taylor of Holbeach Portrait Lord Taylor of Holbeach
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My Lords, it is Labour’s turn to speak.

Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall
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The Minister lays great stress on what might be summarised as “There is no alternative”—a phrase that we have heard somewhere before. This slogan is patently inaccurate. I know that the Minister would like it to be the case, but is she not obliged to consider alternatives as they are presented?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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The Prime Minister, supported by the Cabinet, has brought forward this deal, which has been negotiated with the EU, and it is the deal on the table. There will be a Council meeting later this month for both parties to agree it, and it will then be put to Parliament, which will, I hope, support it.

European Council

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
Monday 2nd July 2018

(5 years, 10 months ago)

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Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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I suggest that we want to be looking forward, not backwards, and that is what this Government are doing.

Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall (Lab)
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Will the Minister tell us her understanding of the difference between a White Paper and a Green Paper? If the document that comes out next weekend looks, of necessity, like a Green Paper, will the understanding then be that there will be a national conversation about the various trade-offs—what we are actually looking at at the moment are different packages of trade-offs—between the different ways of handling our future relationships?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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As I have set out, the White Paper will be a comprehensive document detailing the entire breadth of our future relationship, and we expect and ask the EU member states to consider the proposals seriously. We both need to show flexibility to build our relationship. This will be a detailed paper about our view of our future partnership with the EU and we look forward to discussing it with it over the summer.

European Council

Lord Lea of Crondall Excerpts
Monday 26th March 2018

(6 years, 1 month ago)

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Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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As I have said, this offer is made in the spirit of our future partnership and depends on a broader agreement being reached.

Lord Lea of Crondall Portrait Lord Lea of Crondall (Lab)
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My Lords, will the Leader confirm that our aspiration is to continue to have the sort of relationship we have with the European Council on all these interesting questions, such as on Russia and all the other things in the Statement? Does not continuing to have such a relationship depend on being part of a club that has rules? How does the Leader visualise squaring that circle in our future relationship?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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I think we will continue to have strong relationships because it is in all our interests. We work with our EU partners, with NATO and through the UN: we are involved in a whole array of international organisations. Other issues were discussed at the Council that have not yet been raised—our approach to Turkey and Afrin and issues around Cyprus, for example. We work with all our international partners in a whole range of areas. We bring a lot to the party, so do they, and we want to continue to do that. I see no reason why we cannot.