All 1 Debates between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Lord Holmes of Richmond

Mon 29th Jun 2020
Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

3rd reading (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 3rd reading

Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill [HL]

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Lord Holmes of Richmond
Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, these are sensible amendments and I support the Bill as it now stands. There was an interesting exchange on Report in relation to devolution issues, particularly in relation to Wales following the amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Hain. It was an informative debate. During that discussion, I raised the issue of the arrangements in place to involve the devolved Governments in the discussion of international treaties. There is a commitment in the concordat between the UK Government and the devolved Governments to ensure that there is prior consultation in relation to appropriate international treaties.

In that debate on my noble friend’s amendment, I asked specifically if it might be appropriate at some stage for us to move towards an institutional framework for the involvement of the devolved Governments in the agreement of negotiating mandates for international treaties, rather than simply a preference from Government to Government on consultation. I heard the response of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Keen, on that day and I read it again afterwards. The Government’s wording is carefully chosen. He said:

“We are very conscious of our responsibilities under the devolution settlements, and our approach in this area is always to seek to engage early and often when any questions arise. It is my view that such an approach of early engagement is the best way to make consultation genuinely meaningful.”—[Official Report, 17/6/20; col. 2251.]

That is of course very sensible. But will the Minister reflect on the opportunity for this and other Bills that will come before us as a result of our departure from the European Union and other factors to prompt us along the road of a better institutional framework for the engagement of the devolved Governments in negotiating mandates for international treaties? Perhaps, outwith a piece of legislation that might just polarise us in debate, there might be scope for a debate on this in your Lordships’ House in the future.

Lord Holmes of Richmond Portrait Lord Holmes of Richmond (Non-Afl) [V]
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I support the three amendments, largely for the reasons already eloquently elucidated by other noble Lords. I spare a word for my noble and learned friend the Minister in his dogged determination in the way that he has taken this Bill through. Perhaps he, like others, will agree that the Bill will now leave this place in a better state than when it arrived. We all hope that we are bidding au revoir to Clause 2 and hope that when the Bill appears in the other place it will in no sense be à bientôt.

In making those points, I underscore the important place of London as a centre for international dispute resolution. I ask my noble and learned friend, as I have on each occasion, to underline our gift—a gleaming jewel—in having English law and the jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.