Trade Bill
John Bercow Excerpts
Tuesday 17th July 2018

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Bill Main Page
Department for International Trade
Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 2:22 p.m.

In calling the Minister to move the new clause—he is one of the most courteous Members of the House and therefore it may seem almost unnecessary to say this—I simply ask, not least in the light of what the Father of the House has just said, that he recognise that, although of course he must set out the Government’s position, possibly on a miscellany of different matters, we are short of time and that others wish to speak. In all propriety, if this debate is to be meaningful, they must be able to do so.

The Minister for Trade Policy (George Hollingbery) Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 2:22 p.m.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr Speaker Hansard

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government new clause 13.

Government new clause 14.

New clause 3—Free trade agreements: Parliamentary scrutiny and consent—

“(1) The Secretary of State shall not commence negotiations relating to a free trade agreement unless—

(a) a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a sustainability impact assessment conducted by a credible body independent of government following consultation with—

(i) each devolved authority,

(ii) public bodies, businesses, trade unions and non-governmental organisations which, in the opinion of the Minister, have a relevant interest, and

(iii) the public,

and the assessment shall include both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the potential impacts of the proposed trade agreement, including social, economic, environmental, gender, human rights, labour, development and regional impacts,

(b) a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a draft of a negotiating mandate relating to the proposed trade agreement, setting out—

(i) all fields and sectors to be included in the proposed negotiations,

(ii) the principles to underpin the proposed negotiations,

(iii) any limits on the proposed negotiations, and

(iv) the desired outcomes from the proposed negotiations, and

(c) the House of Commons has approved by resolution a motion, drafted in terms which permit amendment, setting out a proposed negotiating mandate and authorising the Secretary of State to enter negotiations on the proposed trade agreement on the basis of that mandate, and the House of Lords has approved a resolution in the same terms as that approved by the House of Commons.

(2) The United Kingdom may not become a signatory to a free trade agreement unless—

(a) during the course of the negotiations, the text of the trade agreement as so far agreed or consolidated has been made publicly available within ten working days of the close of each negotiating round,

(b) between each round of negotiations, all documents relating to the negotiations have been made available for scrutiny by select committees in both Houses of Parliament,

(c) upon conclusion of the negotiations, the House of Commons has approved by resolution a motion, drafted in terms which permit amendment, setting out the text of the trade agreement as negotiated and authorising the Secretary of State to sign the proposed agreement, and the House of Lords has approved a resolution in the same terms as that approved by the House of Commons, and

(d) the text of the trade agreement includes provision for a review of the operation and impacts of the agreement no later than ten years after the day on which the agreement comes into force.”

This new clause would ensure that all new free trade agreements are subject to parliamentary scrutiny and consent.

New clause 6—Regulations: Parliamentary procedure—

“(1) If the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to proceed with the making of regulations of a type which fall under section 2(4A)(a) or (b)), he or she must lay before Parliament—

(a) a draft of the regulations, and

(b) an explanatory document.

(2) The explanatory document must—

(a) explain under which power or powers in this Act the provision contained in the regulations is made;

(b) introduce and give reasons for the provision;

(c) identify and give reasons for—

(i) any functions of legislating conferred by the regulations; and

(ii) the procedural requirements attaching to the exercise of those functions;

(d) contain a recommendation by the Secretary of State as to which of the following should apply in relation to the making of regulations pursuant to the draft regulations—

(i) the negative resolution procedure (see subsection (6)) or

(ii) the affirmative resolution procedure (see subsection (7)); and

(e) give a reason for the Secretary of State’s recommendation.

(3) Where the Secretary of State’s recommendation under subsection (2)(d) is that the negative resolution procedure should apply, that procedure shall apply unless, within the 20-day period, either House of Parliament requires that the affirmative resolution procedure shall apply, in which case that procedure shall apply.

(4) For the purposes of this paragraph a House of Parliament shall be taken to have required a procedure within the 20-day period if—

(a) that House resolves within that period that that procedure shall apply; or

(b) in a case not falling within subsection (4)(a), a committee of that House charged with reporting on the draft regulations has recommended within that period that that procedure should apply and the House has not by resolution rejected that recommendation within that period.

(5) In this section the ‘20-day period’ means, for each House of Parliament, the period of 20 days on which that House sits, beginning with the day on which the draft regulations were laid before Parliament under subsection (1).

(6) For the purposes of this section, the ‘negative resolution procedure’ in relation to the making of regulations pursuant to a draft of the regulations laid under subsection (1) is as follows—

(a) the Secretary of State may make regulations in the terms of the draft regulations subject to the following provisions of this subsection;

(b) the Secretary of State may not make regulations in the terms of the draft regulations if either House of Parliament so resolves within the 40-day period;

(c) for the purposes of this paragraph regulations are made in the terms of the draft regulations if they contain no material changes to the provisions of the draft regulations; and

(d) in this subsection the ‘40-day period’ means, for each House of Parliament, the period of 40 days on which that House sits, beginning with the day on which the draft regulations were laid before Parliament under subsection (1).

(7) For the purposes of this section the ‘affirmative resolution procedure’ in relation to the making of regulations pursuant to a draft of the regulations being laid under subsection (1) is as follows—

(a) the Secretary of State must have regard to—

(i) any representations;

(ii) any resolution of either House of Parliament; and

(iii) any recommendations of a committee of either House of Parliament charged with reporting on the draft regulations, made during the 40-day period with regard to the draft regulations;

(b) if, after the expiry of the 40-day period, the Secretary of State wishes to make regulations in the terms of the draft, he must lay before Parliament a statement—

(i) stating whether any representations were made under subsection (7)(a)(i); and

(ii) if any representations were so made, giving details of them;

(c) the Secretary of State may after the laying of such a statement make regulations in the terms of the draft if they are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament;

(d) if, after the expiry of the 40-day period, the Secretary of State wishes to make regulations consisting of a version of the draft regulations with material changes, he must lay before Parliament—

(i) revised draft regulations; and

(ii) a statement giving details of—

(a) any representations made under subsection (7)(a)(i); and

(b) the revisions proposed;

(e) the Secretary of State may, after laying revised draft regulations and a statement under sub-paragraph (d), make regulations in the terms of the revised draft if they are approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament;

(f) for the purposes of sub-paragraph (e) regulations are made in the terms of the draft regulations if they contain no material changes to the provisions of the draft regulations; and

(g) in this paragraph the ‘40-day period’ has the meaning given by subsection (6)(d).

(8) The provisions of this section shall apply to all agreements for which regulations would be of a type which falls under section 2(4A)(a) or (b)), notwithstanding that they constitute retained EU law and may be governed by the provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 or any other legislation with regard to Parliamentary scrutiny of regulations under this Act.”

This new clause would set up a triage and scrutiny system under the control of Parliament for determining how Orders under Clause 2 will be dealt with, in circumstances when the new UK FTA or international trade agreement is not in the same terms as the existing EU FTA or international trade agreement.

New clause 16—Transparency in trade negotiations—

“(1) The Secretary of State shall not make regulations under section 2(1) of this Act for the implementation of an international trade agreement (subject to sections 2(3) and 2(4)) unless the condition in subsection (2) of this section has been complied with.

(2) The condition is that the Secretary of State has provided to Members of both Houses of Parliament any information specified in subsection (3) relating to the agreement, within seven days of any meeting to which subsection (3)(a) applies.

(3) The information is—

(a) minutes of any meeting, whether formal or informal, between a representative of the United Kingdom and a representative of any other signatory state to discuss the agreement;

(b) any points of divergence between the terms of the proposed agreement between the United Kingdom and the other signatory (or each other signatory) and the terms of the agreement in place before exit day between the European Union and the other signatory (or each other signatory), that were discussed at the meeting; and

(c) measures that the Secretary of State considers will be necessary in consequence of any points of divergence under paragraph (b) of this subsection.

(4) The Secretary of State may specify conditions under which the information shall be made available under subsection (2).”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to give MPs and Peers access to details of negotiations towards trade agreements with third countries if and when third countries seek changes to existing bilateral trade deals which the UK currently has through the EU.

New clause 20—Approval of negotiating mandates (devolved authorities)—

“(1) No negotiation towards an agreement that falls within section 2(2) shall take place unless—

(a) a draft negotiating mandate in respect of that agreement has been laid before—

(i) a committee including representatives from each devolved authority and constituted for the purpose of considering the draft, and

(ii) each devolved legislature,

and

(b) the draft negotiating mandate has been approved by resolution of—

(i) the committee constituted under (1)(a)(i) and

(ii) each devolved legislature.

(2) The committee in (1) shall be called the ‘Joint Ministerial Committee on Trade’ (‘JMCT’) and—

(a) may not approve a draft mandate other than by consensus,

(b) shall have the power to make its own standing orders,

(c) may include a Minister of the Crown or representative thereof,

(d) may be consulted on a draft mandate before it is finalised (but in such a case must also approve the finalised version), and

(e) shall only include a representative of a devolved authority if that representative has been appointed by the relevant devolved executive.

(3) The ‘devolved legislatures’ are—

(a) the Scottish Parliament,

(b) the Welsh Assembly, and

(c) the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(4) The devolved legislatures shall approve the draft mandate according to their own standing orders.

(5) If the negotiating mandate changes substantively during the process of negotiations then negotiations shall not proceed until the revised mandate has been approved by the JMCT.

(6) Each person who is—

(a) a member of the JMCT, or

(b) a Minister of the Crown

must co-operate with every other person who is within subsection (a), or (b) in any activity that relates to the drafting of a negotiating mandate as referred to in subsection (1).

(7) In particular, the duty imposed by subsection (6) requires a person—

(a) to engage constructively, actively, and on an ongoing basis in any process by means of which a negotiating mandate as referred to in subsection (1) is prepared; and

(b) to have regard to representations by any member of the JMCT or of a devolved executive in any process by means of which a negotiating mandate as referred to in subsection (1) is prepared.

(8) The ‘devolved executives’ are—

(a) the Scottish Government,

(b) the Welsh Government, and

(c) the Northern Ireland Executive.”

This new clause would ensure that any negotiating mandate is first approved by the devolved legislatures and creates a joint ministerial committee to encourage co-operation between the devolved administrations and the UK Government in drafting the negotiating mandates. It imposes a duty of co-operation on all parties in the preparation of the negotiating mandate.

New clause 22—Right of devolved legislatures to scrutinise trade negotiations—

“(1) A Minister of the Crown shall provide a devolved authority with such information relating to an agreement falling within section 2(2) as is reasonably necessary for the purpose of subjecting that agreement to scrutiny in relation to—

(a) all areas of that devolved authority’s competence; and

(b) anything falling outside an area of that devolved authority’s competence but having an impact within the territory over which that devolved authority presides.

(2) The information in (1)—

(a) shall be provided at the request of a devolved authority;

(b) may relate to international trade agreements at any stage of development including—

(i) before negotiations begin,

(ii) during negotiations,

(iii) after negotiations have been completed.

(3) An appropriate authority shall not rely on Part II of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in relation to a request made under this section.

(4) If information requested by a devolved authority would fall within Part II of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, a Minister of the Crown may provide it exclusively to a committee of the relevant devolved legislature.

(5) A Minister of the Crown shall adhere to any reasonable time limit placed by a devolved authority on the provision of information under this section.”

This new clause would ensure that the devolved legislatures will have sufficient information to effectively scrutinise trade agreements and negotiations, without compromising negotiations or sensitive information.

New clause 23—Devolved consent—

“(1) No agreement that falls within section 2(2) shall be ratified without the consent of the devolved legislatures to any parts of that agreement that fall within subsection (3) of this section.

(2) The ‘devolved legislatures’ are—

(a) the Scottish Parliament,

(b) the Welsh Assembly, and

(c) the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(3) The parts of an agreement to which the devolved legislatures must consent are—

(a) any part concerning an issue that falls within the competence of a relevant devolved authority as defined in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1, and

(b) any part concerning an issue not falling within subsection (3)(a) but having an impact within the territory over which the relevant devolved authority presides.”

This new clause would create a right for the devolved legislatures to approve those aspects of an ITA that fall within their competence.

New clause 24—Review of international trade agreements (devolved authorities)—

“(1) No agreement that falls within section 2(2) of this Act shall be ratified unless it complies with subsection (2) of this section.

(2) An agreement that falls within section 2(2) shall include a clause which provides for that agreement to be—

(a) submitted for review by the appropriate bodies after five years from the date of ratification,

(b) submitted for review by the appropriate bodies every five years after the first review, and

(c) ended or amended based on the outcome of the reviews in subsections (2)(a) or (2)(b),

without sanction under the agreement.

(3) For the purposes of (2) the ‘appropriate bodies’ are—

(a) the UK Parliament,

(b) the Scottish Parliament,

(c) the Welsh Assembly, and

(d) the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(4) The appropriate bodies shall determine the procedure for the review in subsection (2) according to their own standing orders.

(5) Each international trade agreement shall be submitted to a review by the appropriate bodies according to the terms in subsection (2).

(6) A Minister of the Crown shall have regard to any representations made by an appropriate body resulting from a review undertaken under this section.”

This new clause would provide for Parliament and the devolved legislatures to review a trade agreement every five years and for the UK to bring an end to that trade agreement based on the outcome of those reviews without sanction under the agreement.

Government amendments 36 and 37.

Amendment 6, in clause 2, page 2, line 20, at end insert “, and”.

This amendment would provide that the Henry VIII provisions in Clause 2 may only be used when a new UK free trade agreement is in the same terms as an existing EU free trade agreement.

Government amendments 38 and 39.

Amendment 7, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert “, and”.

This amendment would provide that the Henry VIII provisions in Clause 2 may only be used when a new UK international trade agreement is in the same terms as an existing EU international trade agreement.

Amendment 8, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(4A) In circumstances where—

(a) a free trade agreement in respect of which regulations are to be made does not make the same provision, subject only to necessary changes in terminology, as a free trade agreement referred to in subsection (3)(a) or (b); or

(b) an international trade agreement in respect of which regulations are to be made does not make the same provision, subject only to necessary changes in terminology, as an international trade agreement referred to in subsection (4)(a) or (b);

an appropriate authority must not make regulations under subsection (1) unless the requirements of section [Regulations: Parliamentary procedure] have been met.”

Government amendment 42.

Amendment 19, in clause 2, page 2, line 40, at end insert—

“(a) No regulations may be made under subsection (1) in respect of a free trade agreement unless the text of that agreement has been subject to consultation prior to its ratification by Parliament, in line with any guidance or code of practice on consultations issued by Her Majesty’s Government.

(a) A consultation under paragraph (a) shall actively seek the views of—

(i) Scottish Ministers,

(ii) Welsh Ministers,

(iii) a Northern Ireland department,

(iv) representatives of businesses and trade unions in sectors which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, are likely to be affected by the proposed free trade agreement, and

(v) any other person or organisation which appears to the Secretary of State to be representative of interests affected by the proposed free trade agreement, including local authorities.”

This amendment would require the Government to have published the text of each UK free trade agreement and opened it to consultation with business, trade unions, the devolved administrations and other parties prior to its ratification.

Government amendment 4.

Amendment 9, in schedule 2, page 12, line 5, after “2(1)” insert

“(unless the regulations are of a type which fall under section 2(4A)(a) or (b))”.

This amendment is consequential on NC6.

Amendment 2, in schedule 2, page 12, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”

Government amendments 71 to 74.

Amendment 10, in schedule 2, page 12, line 20, at end insert

“(unless the regulations are of a type which fall under section 2(4A)(a) or (b))”.

This amendment is consequential on NC6.

Government amendments 75 and 79.

George Hollingbery Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 2:22 p.m.

I am delighted to tell you, Mr Speaker, that I can accord with your wishes and those of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke).

The Government have been consistently clear that the priority for the UK’s existing trade relationships as we leave the EU is continuity. Our partner countries are clear on that, too, and this Bill is about continuity. Specifically, clause 2 creates a power to help with the implementation of obligations of the trade agreements that we are seeking to transition into UK-only agreements as we leave the EU. I recognise that Members are seeking reassurance that the Government will be transparent about the content of these transitioned agreements and about what might need to change to deliver this continuity, which we have championed for so long.

Indeed, I understand the purpose of the new clause 6 and the associated amendments, tabled in the names of my hon. Friends the Members for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly), for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) and for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill). My predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea and Fulham (Greg Hands), and I held constructive discussions with my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon to ascertain how best we could help that transparency. As a result, the Government have tabled new clauses 12 to 14 and amendments 4, 36 to 39, 42, 71 to 75 and 79. I will now explain them in a little detail.

New clause 12 and the associated Government amendments will place a duty on Ministers to lay a report in both Houses of Parliament. This report will explain any changes made to the continuity agreements when compared with the existing EU third country agreements. The report will be laid in Parliament before the continuity agreements are ratified or at least 10 Commons sitting days before any implementing regulations are laid under clause 2, whichever comes first. We want these reports to be as helpful as possible. That is why they will signpost any significant changes being made, to ensure that existing trade agreements can function effectively in the UK-only context. Implementing regulations made under the clause 2 will also now be subject to the affirmative resolution process, which will further enhance parliamentary scrutiny. I have also committed that, for each statutory instrument made under the clause 2 power, the accompanying explanatory memorandum will be explicit in referencing which of the changes identified in the report it plays a part in implementing.

With amendments 44 to 47, we are reducing from five years to three years the length of the period for which the implementing power can be used. The period will be renewable by agreement in both Houses of Parliament.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon agrees that these amendments address the spirit of the issues he was seeking clarity on and provide enhanced parliamentary scrutiny.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 2:40 p.m.

Order. In calling in a moment the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas), principally to speak to her new clause and in the knowledge that she is a celebrated and award-winning parliamentarian, I feel that I can say with total confidence that she will require no longer than five minutes to make her case.

Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 2:45 p.m.

Indeed, I do rise to speak to new clause 3, which is in my name and signed by more than 50 Members of the House from four different parties, and I give notice that I would like to move it when it comes to the votes.

This amendment essentially seeks to remedy the Bill’s failure to provide for a proper role for parliamentarians in the scrutiny and approval of trade agreements. At present, trade agreements can be negotiated, or renegotiated as is likely to be the case with many of the existing EU trade deals covered by this Bill, entirely under royal prerogative powers, essentially giving the Government free rein to decide when and with whom to start negotiations, to set their own priorities and objectives, to conduct the negotiations in great secrecy, and to conclude the deal without any meaningful parliamentary scrutiny. That not only sidelines Members of this House, but it also prevents valuable input by civil society organisations and the wider public. This Bill is supposed to help implement an independent trade policy following withdrawal from the EU, but it does nothing to put in place the kind of scrutiny and approval framework that should be required for an accountable trade policy in a modern democratic country. And this is the only legislative opportunity we are likely to have to put such a framework in place.

In his statement yesterday, the Secretary of State for International Trade once again sought to make a distinction between replacements for existing EU trade deals and future trade deals, but the fact is that effective parliamentary scrutiny and approval is needed for both, for it is increasingly clear that, contrary to the hope of Ministers, it is not going to be a simple case of transitioning, or “rolling over,” existing EU trade deals. Some or all of the countries in question are not simply going to be content to continue with the existing arrangements, and Ministers will have little choice but to negotiate a replacement deal. So while yesterday’s statement by the Secretary of State must be welcomed for its clear, if somewhat overdue, recognition of the current democratic deficit in the making of trade deals and the need to correct that if we are to have a modern, transparent and accountable trade policy, it needs to be applied much more fully and more extensively.

Unfortunately, the package of proposals set out yesterday falls well short of what is required, both because it does not apply to the existing EU trade deals covered by this Bill and because it does not go far enough. For example, it is welcome that the Secretary of State proposes a process for Ministers to set out their ambitions before embarking on a new set of negotiations, including scoping assessments, and the commitment to publish impact assessments is also a step forward, but the reality is that recent impact assessments by the Government on trade have focused purely on the impact for exporters, without taking into account at all the wider economic impacts, let alone social, environmental, gender and regional impacts and the effects on workers’ rights. So we need to see a much stronger commitment to transparency.

Most significantly of all, the Secretary of State’s proposals fail to give Parliament meaningful oversight of new trade deals. For that to happen, Members of this House need a guaranteed vote on the deal that emerges from the negotiations. Without that, all the other measures proposed by the Secretary of State yesterday risk being little more than window-dressing.

The Secretary of State contends that the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 is all that is needed. However, that process is an utterly inadequate rubber stamp: it gives Parliament a right to say whether a new trade deal should or should not be ratified, but does not enable Parliament to propose modifications. Moreover, as we know to our detriment time and again, Ministers can and do simply overrule Parliament and ratify the trade deal despite Parliament’s objections. In contrast, Members of both the European Parliament and the US Congress get an automatic vote. If this issue is about taking back control, why do we not take back some control in this Chamber and make sure we get the same kind of vote that other legislatures with whom we will be negotiating do?

Trade deals are not simply commercial negotiations; they are public policy negotiations and should be treated as such. Transparency, scrutiny and parliamentary approval should be embraced, not treated as a risk.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:03 p.m.

Order. We are very constrained for time, and I know that the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham)—great diplomat of international renown that he is—will not absorb the House’s attention for more than five minutes, but we will savour those five minutes.

Richard Graham Portrait Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:04 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I welcome the Minister’s announcement that today’s debate is about continuity and transparency, but the truth is that it is laced with a cocktail of amendments with very different agendas. The two most popular agendas represent attempts to lock us into either the or a customs union, as in new clause 5, or to secure a customs union were the negotiations to fail to secure frictionless FTAs, which is in new clause 18. That would be the clearest invitation to the European Union to refuse those negotiations. The third one—[Interruption.] Be patient.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:04 p.m.

I hope it is a point of order, not a point of frustration.

Geraint Davies Portrait Geraint Davies - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:05 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman is referring to new clause 18, which is in the next group. We have limited time and he is talking about the wrong section of the Bill.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:05 p.m.

Forgive me; because I was engaged in discussions at the Chair, I did not notice that. The hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) must focus with razorlike precision on the matters in this group. If he does not wish to do so, he must wait until we are discussing another group. If he can find a way of delicately relating his concerns to the group with which we are dealing, rather than one with which we are not, that would be in order.

Richard Graham Portrait Richard Graham - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:05 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. If the hon. Member for Swansea West (Geraint Davies) had waited but two seconds, he would have realised that I was precisely there with my third illustration of today’s agendas: the attempts to avoid free trade agreements altogether, of which new clause 3 is the most striking example, or to scrutinise them to death, as set out in new clause 20.

I wish to linger on new clause 3. It may appear to those outside this House that it contains reasonable requirements. It states that Ministers of the Crown should lay a draft of the negotiating mandate, setting out fields, sectors, principles, limits and desired outcomes of agreements that may well be an exact and absolute rollover of existing agreements that were negotiated decades ago. The truth is that this is the “we do not want any free trade agreements” clause. It would frankly be absurd to pretend that we could ever get anything done, given the requirement to ensure that

“between each round of negotiations”

of some 40 agreements

“all documents relating to the negotiations have been made available for scrutiny by select committees”,

unnamed and unnumbered. Those who drafted that new clause would clearly have been against the anti-corn laws of 1832 and against Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”. They would be against this country actually receiving anything at all in trade, specifically if we manufactured or produced it here in this country. Micro-management would run riot, and it would mean the end of all free trade agreements for all time. I therefore completely reject that approach.

My second point is that what we are talking about tonight ultimately comes down to difficult decisions about what type of nation we want to be when we leave the European Union. It has always been clear to me that if we are to leave the EU, we cannot stay in the or a customs union. It is bizarre that some Opposition Members do not see that our inability to decide our trade preferences, particularly with the poorer nations of the world that are currently disfavoured under the common external tariff regime, could not be significantly improved by having our own free trade agreements.

The next point—the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir Vince Cable) is a classic example of this particular school of thought—is that we will not be able to negotiate effective free trade agreements on our own once we have left the European Union and the customs union. I urge all those in this House who believe that to look closely at the potential of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the warm interest from all those involved in that complicated and important agreement in an area of vital growth to the world. The opportunity for us there is significant. We should not listen to those who put up new clauses that would get rid of free trade agreements forever, and we should seize the opportunities that leaving the customs union will offer us if we are to leave the European Union, which we are.

Break in Debate

Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil - Hansard

The hon. Gentleman is fantastic in making the fundamental point that the rest of the world is in regional trade agreements. He is just about correct. Only five countries are not in regional trade agreements, which is what the UK is heading towards: East Timor, Somalia, South Sudan and, we think, Mauritania—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:13 p.m.

Order. We do not have time for these long interventions. Short question, one sentence. Thank you.

Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:13 p.m.

Does the hon. Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) think it is incumbent on the UK to think again about being in that company?

Jeremy Lefroy Hansard

Yes.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:13 p.m.

Has the hon. Gentleman concluded his oration?

Jeremy Lefroy Hansard

indicated assent.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Magnificent. We are very grateful to him.

Mr Chris Leslie (Nottingham East) (Lab/Co-op) Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:13 p.m.

This group of amendments is about parliamentary scrutiny, and in a way it is a shame that some on this subject are in later groups. The key thing I want is to ensure that appointments to the trade remedies authority are subject to confirmation by the International Trade Committee in the same way that the Treasury Committee has confirmation hearings on the Monetary Policy Committee and the Financial Policy Committee.

New clause 12 gives me a little tickle, a little laugh, because it says that Ministers will now come to report to the House when there are any significant differences in the free trade agreements we have as a member of the EU that will be rolled over. Apparently the agreements will be cut and pasted, and it was only at last year’s Conservative party conference that the Secretary of State for International Trade himself promised that, one second after midnight, all 40 agreements will be rolled over and available from March 2019. Well, it has not quite been going his way, because the Government have not got a single other jurisdiction to sign up legally to doing that.

Several hon. Members rose—
17 Jul 2018, 3:17 p.m.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:17 p.m.

Greg Hands, you have three minutes.

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:18 p.m.

I welcome the return of the Bill to the House and, perhaps not surprisingly, I support the Government’s approach, having been the Minister responsible for the Bill until about three weeks ago. I commend the approach taken by my successor in moving a number of these issues forward, particularly in his discussions with my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly).

Parliamentary scrutiny is crucial for trade agreements, and we have seen the difficulties in recent years with trade agreements that have been insufficiently scrutinised, or where there was a feeling that there had been insufficient scrutiny—the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership perhaps being the most important example.

I very much welcome the Secretary of State’s proposals yesterday for the scrutiny of new trade agreements. Returning to where we started, it is vital to distinguish between the 40-plus existing EU trade agreements and what may happen for future agreements. No one should underestimate the importance of those EU agreements. With Japan being in scope, too, the volume of our trade that is done with countries for which there is an EU trade agreement—that is not the same as saying the volume of trade that is dependent on those agreements—rises to around 16%, which is an incredibly important part of our trade. As we know, none of these countries are in principle opposed to doing and rolling over these agreements. I have had productive talks with South Korea and South Africa, as I am sure my successor has. Various memorandums have been signed agreeing to transition these agreements. So I refer anybody who says that these countries have problems doing that to those agreements that were signed, for example, the one signed with the South African Trade Minister, Rob Davies.

I welcome the approach taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon and his agreement that we are now satisfied with and have coalesced around new clauses 12, 13 and 14. We are always trying to get a balance between ensuring that any significant change to a trade agreement is scrutinised by Parliament and not creating a laborious and cumbersome procedure that would potentially jeopardise the future of one or more of those 40-plus agreements. I am delighted that we seem to have reached that agreement. I have visited businesses that are directly impacted by some of these agreements, including the Ford factory just outside Johannesburg, which is very dependent on the EU-South African Development Community agreement, in terms not just of taking components for vehicles from the UK to South Africa, but exporting finished vehicles to the EU. The business voice is very much saying that it wants these agreements to continue—that is business’s principal concern.

Finally, I wish to argue against new clauses 3 and 16, and other proposals that seek to legislate now for future trade agreements. It is only fair that we look at the proposals made by the Secretary of State yesterday in this House and do not prejudge them by passing legislation today, as it would have an impact on future trade agreements. We must make sure we listen to all voices, so that they are included in consideration of where we take future trade agreements.

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:21 p.m.

Order. I want to call the Minister to wind up at 3.25 pm, and I hope that the hon. Member for Bath (Wera Hobhouse) will take account of that.

Wera Hobhouse Portrait Wera Hobhouse (Bath) (LD) - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 3:26 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. This Bill would not be needed if we remained in the customs union. The Government are repeating, like an old record, that, “Leaving the EU will transform us into global Britain, striking trade deals around the world. While striking them, we just carry over existing deals.” How realistic is that? Outside the EU, Britain is a much less attractive trading partner. Businesses invest in Britain because we are an entry point to the European market and the single market. Is it reasonable to think that the UK can negotiate alone the same deals it can when part of a block of 28 countries? Although some countries have indicated they are prepared to copy and paste over existing deals, others will be watching and waiting, reserving judgment to see exactly what access the UK will have to the EU after Brexit. For that reason, we simply cannot accept that existing trade deals will be copied and pasted; significant changes will come along.

I am pleased that the Government have recognised that Parliament needs some say in the matter by tabling amendment 75 and accepting my amendment 4. However, the Government’s understanding of parliamentary democracy remains pretty poor. Amendment 75 allows MPs to approve, by affirmative statutory instrument, any changes in the law required by one of these continuity deals. It is a take-it-or-leave-it vote. It is not amendable and it is not meaningful. That is why the Government need to meet the concern raised in new clause 3, which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) and which I support. People voted leave for different reasons, but nobody voted to make themselves poorer, to lose their job or to have food and product safety standards thrown out the back door.

With your permission, Mr Speaker, let me just say something about new clause 2, which is in the final group. The Government must be honest about the impact of any trade deals they sign and Parliament must be able to scrutinise this. The Tory leavers say, “Brexit is the will of the people”, but the Tories are in disarray, trying to work out among themselves what the will of the people actually is. As the chaos and confusion grows, it is time that more Members, on both sides of the House, joined the Liberal Democrats in supporting a people’s vote on the deal. We need to be honest with our constituents about the economic realities of Brexit and then give the people a final say on the deal.

Break in Debate

Mr Toby Perkins Portrait Toby Perkins (Chesterfield) (Lab) - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 4:11 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There is a great deal of concern across Parliament about the mysterious disappearance of the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir Vince Cable). He has been missing since last night. This morning, he was texting about being the only person really fighting Brexit. I just wonder if you and the parliamentary authorities could ascertain his whereabouts and whether he is indeed safe, and report back to me and all those people who are so concerned.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 4:12 p.m.

I would not want to take upon my shoulders such a major responsibility. I must advise the hon. Gentleman that I wish all the best to the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir Vince Cable). I have no reason to be perturbed on his account. I am not aware that he is indisposed, and I very much hope that he is not. The right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) is beaming in a mildly eccentric manner from a sedentary position.

Tom Brake Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 4:13 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Thank you for letting me raise this. On the same subject, have you had any concerns raised with you about the absence of the Leader of the Opposition in relation to fighting against Brexit for the past two years? Has anyone shared any concerns that they may have on that score?

Mr Speaker Hansard

I am not concerned unduly about either matter. They do not fall within the auspices of the Chair, but the point has been made by each right hon. and hon. Member, and I trust that we can leave it there.

Schedule 2

Regulations under Part 1

Amendments made: 4, page 12, line 5, leave out “or 2(1)”.

Amendment 71, page 12, line 7, leave out “or 2(1)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 72, page 12, line 11, leave out “or 2(1)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 73, page 12, line 13, leave out “or 2(1)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 74, page 12, line 20, leave out “or 2(1)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 75.

Amendment 75, page 13, line 30, at end insert—

Part 2A

Scrutiny of regulations under section 2(1)

Scrutiny of regulations made by Minister of the Crown or devolved authority acting alone

“3A (1) A statutory instrument containing regulations of a Minister of the Crown under section 2(1) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(2) Regulations of the Scottish Ministers under section 2(1) are subject to the affirmative procedure (see section 29 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (asp 10)).

(3) A statutory instrument containing regulations of the Welsh Ministers under section 2(1) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the National Assembly for Wales.

(4) Regulations of a Northern Ireland department under section 2(1) may not be made unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(5) This paragraph does not apply to regulations to which paragraph 3B applies.

Scrutiny of regulations made by Minister of the Crown and devolved authority acting jointly

3B (1) This paragraph applies to regulations of a Minister of the Crown acting jointly with a devolved authority under section 2(1).

(2) The procedure provided for by sub-paragraph (3) applies in relation to regulations to which this paragraph applies as well as any other procedure provided for by this paragraph which is applicable in relation to the regulations concerned.

(3) A statutory instrument which contains regulations to which this paragraph applies may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(4) Regulations to which this paragraph applies which are made jointly with the Scottish Ministers are subject to the affirmative procedure.

(5) Section 29 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (asp 10) (affirmative procedure) applies in relation to regulations to which sub-paragraph (4) applies as it applies in relation to devolved subordinate legislation (within the meaning of Part 2 of that Act) which is subject to the affirmative procedure (but as if references to a Scottish statutory instrument were references to a statutory instrument).

(6) Section 32 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (laying) applies in relation to the laying before the Scottish Parliament of a statutory instrument containing regulations to which sub-paragraph (4) applies as it applies in relation to the laying before the Scottish Parliament of a Scottish statutory instrument (within the meaning of Part 2 of that Act).

(7) A statutory instrument containing regulations to which this paragraph applies which are made jointly with the Welsh Ministers may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the National Assembly for Wales.

(8) Regulations to which this paragraph applies which are made jointly with a Northern Ireland department may not be made unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the Northern Ireland Assembly.” —(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment provides for regulations under clause 2(1) of the Bill (implementing international trade agreements) to be subject to the affirmative procedure in Parliament when made by a Minister of the Crown, and in the relevant devolved legislature when made by a devolved authority. Where the regulations are made jointly by a Minister and a devolved authority (by virtue of paragraph 5 of Schedule 1) they are required to be approved in draft by both Parliament and the devolved legislature in question.

New Clause 4

Convention about Parliament legislating on devolved matters

“(1) Regulations made under section 1(1) by a Minister of the Crown, may not normally make provision which would be within the devolved competence of a devolved authority unless—

(a) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Scottish Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1), the Scottish Ministers consent, or

(b) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Welsh Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1), the Welsh Ministers consent, or

(c) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of a Northern Ireland department (within the meaning of paragraph 9 of Schedule 1), unless the Northern Ireland department has given consent.

(2) Regulations made under section 2(1) by a Minister of the Crown, may not normally make provision which would be within the devolved competence of a devolved authority unless—

(a) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Scottish Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1), the Scottish Ministers consent, or

(b) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Welsh Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1), the Welsh Ministers consent, or

(c) so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of a Northern Ireland department (within the meaning given in paragraph 9 of Schedule 1), unless the Northern Ireland department has given consent.

(3) This paragraph does not apply to regulations made by the Secretary of State under—

(a) section 35 or 58 of the Scotland Act 1998 (as amended),

(b) section 82 or 114 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (as amended), or

(c) section 25 or 26 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (as amended).”—(Barry Gardiner.)

This new clause would ensure that regulations made by a Minister of the Crown within devolved competence require the consent of Ministers in devolved authorities in accordance with the convention about Parliament legislating on devolved matters while making clear that this does not alter the current powers of Ministers of the Crown in respect of international agreements.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Barry Gardiner Portrait Barry Gardiner (Brent North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 4:15 p.m.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr Speaker Hansard

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 21—Right of devolved authorities to appoint negotiators—

“(1) Each devolved authority shall have the right to appoint one member of any delegation tasked with negotiating an agreement with another state on behalf of the UK if that agreement falls within section 2(2).

(2) A devolved authority shall not make an appointment under subsection (1) unless the person appointed is reasonably competent to carry out the role of a trade negotiator.”

This new clause would permit the devolved authorities to each appoint one member of any negotiating delegation and would ensure that the person appointed is competent to carry out the role.

Amendment 25, in clause 1, page 1, line 15, at end insert—

“(1A) No regulations may be made under this subsection by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Scottish Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1), unless the Scottish Ministers consent.

(1B) No regulations may be made under this subsection by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Welsh Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1), unless the Welsh Ministers consent.”

This amendment and Amendment 26 seek to ensure that regulations cannot be made without consent from devolved Ministers.

Amendment 26, in clause 2, page 2, line 40, at end insert—

“(7A) No regulations may be made under subsection (1) by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Scottish Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of Schedule 1), unless the Scottish Ministers consent.

(7B) No regulations may be made under subsection (1) by a Minister of the Crown, so far as they contain provision which would be within the devolved competence of the Welsh Ministers (within the meaning given in paragraph 8 of Schedule 1), unless the Welsh Ministers consent.”

See explanatory statement for Amendment 25.

Amendment 27, in clause 2, page 3, line 3, at end insert—

“(10) No regulations may be made under subsection (8)(b) unless the Secretary of State has consulted with the Scottish Ministers and the Welsh Ministers.”

This amendment would require the Secretary of State to consult with Scottish Ministers and Welsh Ministers before deciding whether or how to prolong the period during which implementing powers can be used.

Government amendments 49, 50 and 61 to 63.

Amendment 28, in schedule 1, page 7, line 24, at end insert—

“(4) This paragraph does not apply to regulations made under section 1(1) or 2(1) by the Scottish Ministers or the Welsh Ministers.”

This amendment would remove the constraints on Scottish and Welsh Ministers in making regulations under this Act which modify retained EU law.

Government amendments 64 to 67.

Amendment 29, in schedule 1, page 8, line 5, at end insert—

“(4) This paragraph does not apply to regulations made under section 1(1) or 2(1) by the Scottish Ministers or the Welsh Ministers.

Requirement for consultation in certain circumstances

3A (1) No regulations may be made by the Scottish Ministers or the Welsh Ministers acting alone under section 1(1) or 2(1) so far as the regulations are to come into force before exit day unless the regulations are, to that extent, made after consulting with a Minister of the Crown.

(2) No regulations may be made by the Scottish Ministers or the Welsh Ministers acting alone under section 2(1) so far as the regulations make provision about any quota arrangements or are incompatible with any such arrangements unless the regulations are, to that extent, made after consulting with a Minister of the Crown.

(3) In sub-paragraph (2) ‘quota arrangements’ has the same meaning as in paragraph 3.”

This amendment would follow amendments made to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to replace a requirement to seek the consent of the UK Ministers before making regulations to be commenced before exit day, or regulations making provision about quota arrangements, with a requirement to consult.

Government amendments 68, 69 and 76 to 78.

Barry Gardiner Portrait Barry Gardiner - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 4:14 p.m.

I rise to speak to new clause 4, which stands in my name and those of my right hon. and hon. Friends.

The extent to which the Bill encroaches on matters of devolved competence and undermines the power of devolved authorities is of particular concern. I am proud that it was a Labour Government who delivered the devolution settlements. They were established with a presumption of full devolution, except in matters considered reserved to the Government of the United Kingdom. Indeed, amendments to devolution legislation contained in the Scotland Act 2016 and the Wales Act 2017 specifically put that presumption on to a legislative footing, stipulating that Ministers would not legislate on matters that fell within devolved competence without “normally” seeking the consent of the appropriate devolved Government. However, the Bill seeks to do exactly that.

The Public Bill Committee heard in great detail the serious consequences the Bill would have for the United Kingdom and each of the devolved nations and their respective Administrations.

Break in Debate

Barry Gardiner Portrait Barry Gardiner - Hansard

I am concerned about what the Minister said. Does he not accept that if the provisions in clauses 1 and 2 are taken in conjunction with Government amendment 34, they will allow the Westminster Government to use Henry VIII powers to modify primary legislation or retained direct EU legislation in areas that are a matter of devolved competence? That is to go beyond “not normally”, which is why new clause 4 is essential.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 4:52 p.m.

Order. May I just emphasise that there is no obligation to continue up to the wire? I know that sometimes some people on the Government Bench say “Keep going till the cut-off point,” but it is not necessary to do so. There is a lot of other material to be debated. The Minister, who is a most courteous fellow, was extremely succinct earlier; he should not think that that was unpopular in the House.

George Hollingbery Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 4:52 p.m.

You will be glad to hear, Mr Speaker, that I do not have a great deal more to say.

Let me engage with the shadow Secretary of State’s point. The powers that the Government are taking relate to where any regulations under section 12 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act are in force and intersect with devolved Ministers’ rights to modify retained direct EU law. We are carving out an area in which the UK Government believe it is right and proper that the interests of the wider United Kingdom have precedence. I think the shadow Secretary of State understands what I mean; indeed, from the look on his face I believe he probably secretly agrees with what I am saying.

Break in Debate

Hilary Benn Portrait Hilary Benn (Leeds Central) (Lab) - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. What is going on?

Mr Speaker Hansard

What is going on is that a Member is being exhorted to remove himself from the Division Lobby, and that will happen. The result of the vote will be declared very soon. I understand the consternation of the right hon. Gentleman, but I have his and all other Members’ interests at heart. We will not long be delayed before proceeding with the next group, for which there is very little time. We must not dilly-dally on this matter any longer.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:55 p.m.

We come now to the third and final group of new clauses and amendments, beginning with Government new schedule 1. In the friendliest and most convivial possible spirit, I remind the Minister on the Treasury Bench that it is not necessary for him to speak at length. It might make him even more popular than he already is if he does not.

New Schedule 1

Transfer Schemes

“1 (1) The Secretary of State may make one or more staff transfer schemes in connection with the establishment of the TRA by this Act.

(2) A ‘staff transfer scheme’ is a scheme providing for the transfer from the Secretary of State to the TRA of any rights or liabilities under or in connection with a contract of employment.

2 (1) A staff transfer scheme may, among other things, make provision—

(a) for the transfer of rights and liabilities that could not otherwise be transferred;

(b) for the transfer of rights and liabilities arising after the making of the scheme;

(c) which is the same as or similar to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/246);

(d) creating rights, or imposing liabilities, in relation to rights or liabilities transferred;

(e) about the continuing effect of things done by the Secretary of State in respect of any rights or liabilities transferred;

(f) about the continuation of things (including legal proceedings) in the process of being done by, or on behalf of, or in relation to, the Secretary of State in respect of any rights or liabilities transferred;

(g) for references to the Secretary of State in an instrument or other document in respect of any rights or liabilities transferred to be treated as references to the TRA;

(h) that is supplementary, incidental, transitional or consequential.

(2) A staff transfer scheme may provide—

(a) for the scheme to be modified by agreement after it comes into effect, and

(b) for any such modifications to have effect from the date when the original scheme comes into effect.

3 For the purposes of this Schedule—

(a) an individual who holds employment in the civil service of the State is to be treated as employed by virtue of a contract of employment, and

(b) the terms of the individual’s employment in the civil service of the State are to be regarded as constituting the terms of the contract of employment.”—(George Hollingbery.)

This amendment inserts a Schedule that sets out powers for the Secretary of State to make a scheme providing for the transfer of staff from the Secretary of State to the Trade Remedies Authority.

Brought up, and read the First time.

George Hollingbery Hansard

I beg to move, That the schedule be read a Second time.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 12:56 p.m.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendment 58.

Amendment 12, in schedule 4, page 14, line 34, at end insert

“with the consent of the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons,”.

This amendment would give the International Trade Select Committee scrutiny and consent powers for the appointment of Chairs of the Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 30, in schedule 4, page 14, line 34, at end insert—

“(aa) a non-executive member appointed by the Secretary of State with the consent of the Scottish Ministers,

(ab) a non-executive member appointed by the Secretary of State with the consent of the Welsh Ministers,”

The Trade Remedies Authority will undertake trade remedies investigations across the UK, which will inevitably touch on devolved areas or areas of significance to Scotland. This amendment would require the consent of Scottish and Welsh Ministers to the appointment of one non-executive board member each.

Amendment 13, in schedule 4, page 14, line 35, at end insert

“with the consent of the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons,”.

This amendment would give the International Trade Select Committee scrutiny and consent powers for the appointment of other non-executive members of the Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 22, in schedule 4, page 14, line 35, at end insert

“including representatives of UK manufacturing sectors and trade unions in manufacturing”.

This amendment would ensure that UK producers including manufacturers, and their employees, are included in the corporate governance of the new Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 80, in schedule 4, page 14, line 35, at end insert

“including representatives of—

(i) producers,

(ii) trade unions, and

(iii) each one of the devolved administrations.”

This amendment would ensure that the Trade Remedies Authority includes, among its non-executive members, representatives of key stakeholder bodies.

Amendment 14, in schedule 4, page 14, line 37, after “State” insert

“, and with the consent of the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons,”.

This amendment would give the International Trade Select Committee scrutiny and consent powers for the appointment of the chief executive of the Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 15, in schedule 4, page 14, line 38, after “State” insert

“with the consent of the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons,”.

This amendment would give the International Trade Select Committee scrutiny and consent powers for the appointment of the inaugural chief executive of the Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 23, in schedule 4, page 15, line 2, leave out from “must” to end of line 3 and insert

“, before appointing the other non-executive members, consult

(a) the Chair,

(b) organisations representing UK manufacturing sectors, and

(c) trade unions in manufacturing.”

This amendment would ensure that UK producers including manufacturers, and their employees, are included in the corporate governance of the new Trade Remedies Authority.

Amendment 16, in schedule 4, page 15, line 12, at end insert—

“4A It must be publicly disclosed if any candidate for appointment as a non-executive member of the TRA has, in the last five years, been employed by a political party, held a significant office in a political party, has stood as a candidate for a political party in an election, has publicly spoken on behalf of a political party, or has made significant donations or loans to a political party.”

This amendment would require candidates for appointment as non-executive members of the TRA to disclose political activity, consistent with guidelines set out in the Cabinet Office Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Amendment 17, in schedule 4, page 15, line 16, at end insert—

“5A It must be publicly disclosed if any candidate for appointment as an executive member of the TRA has, in the last five years, been employed by a political party, held a significant office in a political party, has stood as a candidate for a political party in an election, has publicly spoken on behalf of a political party, or has made significant donations or loans to a political party.”

This amendment would require candidates for appointment as executive members of the TRA to disclose political activity, consistent with guidelines set out in the Cabinet Office Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Amendment 18, in schedule 4, page 15, line 31, at end insert—

“10A A member of the TRA, whether executive or non-executive, shall not actively engage in any business, vocation or employment which may give rise to a potential conflict of interest, for the duration of their service on the TRA.”

This amendment would militate against conflicts of interest by precluding TRA members from engaging in any commercial activity for the duration of their time on the TRA.

New clause 1—EU customs union—

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement which enables the UK to participate after exit day in a customs union with the EU in the same terms as existed before exit day.

(2) Exit day shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

New clause 2—Review of the impact on the UK economy—

“(1) Before the end of the initial five year period, the Secretary of State must publish and lay before both Houses of Parliament an assessment of the impact of all international trade agreements implemented under section 2 of this Act on—

(a) the economy of the United Kingdom,

(b) the economy of the different parts of the United Kingdom and different regions of England, and

(c) individual economic sectors.

(2) The assessment in subsection (1) must so far as practicable analyse the expected difference in outcomes between the international trade agreements implemented under section 2 of this Act and those international trade agreements to which the United Kingdom would have been a signatory had it continued to participate in the EU Customs Union.

(3) In this section—

‘the initial five year period’ has the same meaning as in section 2(8)(a),

‘parts of the United Kingdom’ means—

(a) England,

(b) Scotland,

(c) Wales, and

(d) Northern Ireland

‘regions of England’ has the same meaning as that used by the Office for National Statistics.”

New clause 5—Implementation of a customs union with the EU—

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement which enables the UK to participate after exit day in a customs union with the EU.

(2) Exit day shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

New clause 8—Internal Market Negotiating Objective—

“It shall be a negotiating objective of Her Majesty’s Government to ensure the United Kingdom has full access to the internal market of the European Union, underpinned by shared institutions and regulations, with no new impediments to trade and common rights, standards and protections as a minimum.”

New clause 9—UK membership of EFTA and the European Economic Area—

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to achieve before exit day the implementation of an international agreement to enable the UK to become a member of the European Free Trade Association and continue as a signatory to the EEA Agreement.

(2) ‘Exit day’ shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

New clause 10—UK membership of EFTA—

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to achieve before exit day the implementation of an international agreement to enable the UK to become a member of the European Free Trade Association.

(2) ‘Exit day’ shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

New clause 11—Assessment of slavery or servitude—

“The Secretary of State shall, before concluding negotiations relating to an international trade agreement, make an assessment of the steps taken by the other signatory to the agreement (or each other signatory) to prevent and punish activity which, if undertaken in England or Wales, would constitute an offence under section 1 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour).”

New clause 15—Ratification of international trade agreements—

“An international trade agreement shall not be ratified unless it enables the United Kingdom to require imports to—

(a) comply with any standards laid down by primary or subordinate legislation in the United Kingdom regarding food safety, the environment and animal welfare, or

(b) have been produced to standards that are deemed by the Secretary of State to be comparable in effectiveness to those of the United Kingdom in protecting food safety, the environment and animal welfare.”

This new clause would ensure that UK standards regarding food safety, the environment and animal welfare could not be undermined by imports produced to lower standards.

New clause 17—UK participation in the European medicines regulatory network—

“(1) It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement, which enables the UK to fully participate after exit day in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the European Union, European Economic Area and the European Medicines Agency.

(2) Exit day shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

This new clause would ensure that it is a negotiating objective for the UK Government to secure an international agreement through which the UK may continue to participate in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the EU, EEA and the European Medicines Agency, ensuring that patients continue to have access to high-quality, effective and safe pharmaceutical and medical products, fully aligned with the member states of the EU and EEA.

New clause 18—Free trade area for goods—

“(1) Before exit day it shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to achieve the implementation of an international agreement to enable the United Kingdom to establish a frictionless free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU.

(2) If an international agreement of the type set out in subsection (1) has not been agreed by 21st January 2019 then it shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to achieve the implementation of an international agreement which enables the United Kingdom to participate after exit day in a customs union with the EU.

(3) ‘Exit day’ shall have the meaning set out in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.”

This new clause would make it a negotiating objective of the UK to establish a free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU and if that cannot be agreed then it should be the objective of the UK to secure an agreement to enable the UK’s participation in a customs union with the EU.

New clause 19—Reporting on trade between the United Kingdom’s devolved nations and regions with the Republic of Ireland—

“(1) The Secretary of State shall, no earlier than 12 months and no later than 18 months after Royal Assent has been given to this Act—

(a) lay before both Houses of Parliament an assessment of the implications of this Act for trade between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and

(b) make arrangements for the assessment to be laid before the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(2) In preparing the assessment under subsection (1), the Secretary of State shall consult with—

(a) the Scottish Ministers, the First Minister or the Lord Advocate,

(b) the Welsh Ministers, and

(c) a Northern Ireland devolved authority.”

This new clause would ensure that the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union on trade across the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and between the Republic of Ireland and other parts of the United Kingdom is properly reviewed and reported to Parliament.

New clause 25—Trade agreement with the EU: mobility framework—

“It shall be the objective of the Secretary of State to take all necessary steps to secure an international trade agreement with the European Union which includes a mobility framework that enables all UK and EU citizens to exercise the same reciprocal rights to work, live and study.”

Government amendments 31 to 35.

Amendment 11, in clause 2, page 2, line 12, at end insert—

“or (c) a regulatory cooperation agreement.”

This amendment would ensure that HM Government is able to efficiently replicate existing regulatory cooperation agreements that may be required for continuity of business arrangements if the UK exits the European Union.

Amendment 3, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(4A) Regulations under subsection (1) may make provision for the purpose of implementing an international trade agreement only if:

(a) the provisions of that international trade agreement do not conflict with, and are consistent with—

(i) the provisions of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015,

(ii) international human rights law and international humanitarian law,

(iii) the United Kingdom’s obligations on workers’ rights and labour standards as established by but not limited to the commitments under the International Labour Organisation’s Declaration on Fundamental Rights at Work and its Follow-up Conventions,

(iv) the United Kingdom’s environmental obligations in international law and as established by, but not limited to, the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the Convention on Biological Diversity, including the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,

(v) existing standards for food safety and quality as set and administered by the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency and any other public authority specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State,

(vi) the United Kingdom’s obligations as established by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and

(vii) the sovereignty of Parliament, the legal authority of UK courts, the rule of law and the principle of equality before the law.

(a) the provisions of that international trade agreement do not in any way restrict the ability to determine whether public services at a national or local level are delivered by public sector employees, and

(b) the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament an assessment that considers the potential economic, social, human rights and environmental impacts of the international trade agreement on the contracting parties.”

Amendment 24, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(4A) Regulations under subsection (1) may make provision for the purpose of implementing an international trade agreement only if the Secretary of State has made an assessment under section (Assessment of slavery or servitude) in respect of that agreement.”

Amendment 81, in clause 2, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(4A) Regulations under subsection (1) may make provision for the purpose of implementing an international trade agreement only if a principle of non-regression, according to which the protection of the environment, ensured by legislative and regulatory provisions relating to the environment, is incorporated.”

This amendment would ensure that environmental standards are not lowered in a new UK international trade agreement by maintaining and continually updating current standards through an environmental non-regression clause.

Government amendments 40, 41 and 43.

Amendment 20, in clause 2, page 2, line 40, at end insert

“and shall include any agreement to which the UK is party by virtue of membership of a free trade association, including the European Free Trade Association”.

This amendment would make it clear that the implementation powers under the Act would apply equally to implementation of any free trade agreement to which the UK is party through EFTA.

Amendment 5, in clause 2, page 2, line 40, at end insert—

“(7A) No regulations made under subsection (1) shall preclude the United Kingdom from participating in a customs union with the European Union following exit day.”

This amendment allows for the implementation of international trade agreements while leaving open the possibility of negotiating a customs union with the EU.

Government amendments 44 to 48 and 51 to 57.

Amendment 1, in clause 6, page 4, line 10, at end insert—

“(aa) the conduct of trade within a customs union within the meaning of section 31 of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018,”.

Amendment 21, in clause 6, page 4, line 10, at end insert—

“(aa) the consequences for the UK of membership of the European Free Trade Association,”.

This amendment would place a duty on the TRA to give advice to the Secretary of State on the consequences of membership of EFTA.

Government amendments 59 and 60.

George Hollingbery Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:26 p.m.

There is a wide range of issues covered by this final group of amendments we are debating today. I therefore propose to focus on the Government amendments in my opening remarks.

We are committed to creating a world-class Trade Remedies Authority. That is why Government have already begun recruiting TRA staff into the Department for International Trade, so that they can be properly trained before the TRA becomes fully operational. Once the TRA is legally established, staff who have been recruited into the Department will be transferred over to the TRA. Government new schedule 1 and Government amendment 58 are crucial to ensuring that this transfer can take place. This is standard practice when establishing a new arm’s-length body, as set out in the Cabinet Office’s statement of practice on transfers of staff in the public sector.

Trade remedies cases can have material impacts on markets and jobs. We must therefore create an independent investigation process that businesses can trust. That is why we are setting up the TRA as an arm’s-length body, giving it the appropriate degrees of separation from government, and ensuring that people with the right qualities and qualifications are appointed to the board to oversee this new function.

There are other amendments in this group, tabled by other hon. Members, on the TRA. I will wait to hear the points they make before responding to the detail of those amendments. Before I sit down, however, I will underline the point made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade yesterday in his statement to the House. The Bill is about continuity rather than future arrangements. This is why we have now separately set out the role that Parliament, the devolved Administrations, the public, business and civil society will have in our future trade agreements. We believe our approach makes good on our commitment to build an inclusive and transparent future trade policy.

Amendments 44 to 47 reduce the sunset period and renewal periods from five to three years. This has been discussed in previous debates. Amendments 31 and 32 allow Agreement on Government Procurement, or GPA, power to reflect updates to the list of Government entities in the UK’s GPA schedule. Amendments 34, 40, 41 and 48 clarify the scope of the powers in clause 1 and 2. Amendments 59 and 60 update references to data protection legislation, and amendments 31, 35, 43, and 51 to 57 are drafting changes.

Break in Debate

George Hollingbery Hansard

It might help if I could advise the House that, in recognition of contributions from right hon. and hon. Members today, it is my intention to bring forward an amendment in the other place—[Laughter.] If I may. [Interruption.] If I may. Thank you.

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:36 p.m.

Order.

George Hollingbery Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:37 p.m.

It is my intention to bring forward an amendment in the other place that takes in the essence of new clause 18 but removes the defective element relating to the customs union. The Government amendment will restate our intention to establish a customs arrangement with the EU. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:37 p.m.

Order. We must hear the hon. Member for Wimbledon.

Stephen Hammond Portrait Stephen Hammond - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:38 p.m.

Very few people ever say that, Mr Speaker.

It is a generous offer from the Front Bench, and one that I am tempted to accept, but I would say to the Minister: let’s do this the other way around. I will make him a generous offer. Why does he not accept new clause 18 today and then amend it in the Lords? [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!] I will tell the House why. Subsection (2) of my new clause is entirely in line with the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which is now part of our law in this country, the House having passed it. All it says is that it should be the objective, after 21 January, which date is in clause 13(10) and (11).

Had I used any other word than “union”, the Front Bench would have accepted it. Frankly, I do not see the problem. Yesterday, we took several amendments that we were told did not undermine the Bill, and this does not undermine the Bill either. It keeps the plan on the road. I say to my Front Bench in all good faith: why not do it this way round? Accept new clause 18 now and I will work with them to find something in the Lords that they find acceptable.

Break in Debate

Dr Lee Hansard

rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:47 p.m.

Order. We must hear the response to that question, but we must also hear from other Members, including the Father of the House.

Dr Lee Hansard

I will be as brief as possible, Mr Speaker.

Yes, I do agree with my hon. Friend’s comments. Every month 45 million patient-packs of medicine go to the EU from the UK and 37 million packs move the other way. It is hard to think of a single other product that illustrates so well the importance of frictionless trade.

This amendment supports the Government’s intentions as explained in the Prime Minister’s Mansion House speech and their White Paper, but we must go further and enshrine them in law because of the very real impact on people’s lives, on the NHS’s ability to operate, on the industry, and on investment in the UK. That is why I will press this new clause to a vote.

I will also support new clause 18 this evening. Yesterday was the worst experience in politics I have had in eight years, and I am sorry that it has changed the dynamic. I started the week intending to support our Prime Minister in her deal and the White Paper. Yesterday changed that, and that is why I will be supporting other colleagues on these Benches when we come to new clause 18 this evening.

Break in Debate

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. Two-minute speeches are now required.

Mr Leslie Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:52 p.m.

Surely new clause 17 is a no-brainer. If we are going to preserve anything, we must surely keep the frictionless flow of medicines and treatments for our national health service going. If ever there were an example of an ideology getting in the way of common sense, it would be that of a hard Brexit attitude physically placing itself at the border in the way of the free flow of those medicines. We know that 45 million packages of medicines cross that border every month. That is how essential this is, so new clause 17 has to be supported.

New clause 18 has been tabled by the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond). I have to say to him that he is being incredibly generous to the Government in relation to this proposal. He is giving them the benefit of the doubt on the free trade area in goods. It is true that, whatever we get, the lowest common denominator will be a free trade area in goods. We will have to get that. But frankly, I am really quite surprised by the way in which some Conservative Members have been treated by the Government in respect of the ERG amendments—all of which were accepted without any objection—when some of them are trying their best to preserve the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan. Those Conservative Members are being very generous, but I think it is reasonable to put in place a safety net in the form of a customs union in January. I hope that, on this one occasion, we can put party politicking to one side and do the right thing for our country.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Thank you. Two minutes, please. I call John Redwood.

John Redwood Portrait John Redwood - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:53 p.m.

Every day, a large number of components come into our country from outside the EU and they meet the deadlines of the just-in-time systems, as do the components from the EU. My hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) should understand that you cannot send a car out with only 79% of its components assembled because they are the ones that came from the EU. Manufacturers send their cars out with 100% of their components, including the non-EU ones, which are coming in perfectly well. More than half our trade is done with non-EU countries that are not part of the single market or the customs union. We have already thought about the need to get rid of frictions on the borders for non-EU trade. We have worked internationally through the WTO which, through its trade facilitation agreement, has several instructions for us and for the EU to ensure that there is a minimum of friction at the border for non-EU, non-customs-union trade as well, which is why our manufacturers can work with it.

EU trade is not without administration and bureaucracy. The Intrastat declaration must be made, the commodity code must be identified, the VAT has to be settled and the excise must be settled if necessary. Those things are not done at the border. The lorry drivers do not have to stand in a queue while trying to work things out. When we are outside the EU’s customs union, the situation will be the same for everything else that does not come in within the customs union framework. This is the modern world. It is electronic. There are computers. There is the off-site settlement of taxes and of customs. The WTO knows about that.

The future for us will be great, but we must be free to have our own international trade policy and our own agreements with countries other than those in the EU. We must have the ability to set out our laws and spend our own money. The British public would expect no less of this Parliament, and they will not accept any higgling of their decision to leave the EU.

Mr Speaker Hansard

For less than two minutes, I call Emma Reynolds.

Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 5:56 p.m.

If the customs union is not important, why have BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Airbus suggested that they need to keep the current border arrangements. If we are to preserve just-in-time manufacturing in this country—Jaguar Land Rover is on the outskirts of my constituency—we must either have a customs union or find an equivalent, as suggested by the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond), who is being patient with the Government. The suggestion from some Members, as we have just heard, that the customs union or an equivalent is not important flies in the face of the evidence and what businesses up and down the country are telling us.