All 1 Lord Trimble contributions to the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020

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Wed 30th Dec 2020
European Union (Future Relationship) Bill
Lords Chamber

3rd reading & 2nd reading (Hansard) & Committee negatived (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 3rd reading (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee negatived (Hansard) & Committee negatived (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading & Committee negatived

European Union (Future Relationship) Bill Debate

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Department: Cabinet Office

European Union (Future Relationship) Bill

Lord Trimble Excerpts
3rd reading & 2nd reading & Committee negatived & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 3rd reading (Hansard) & 3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee negatived (Hansard) & Committee negatived (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 30th December 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Committee of the whole House Amendments as at 30 December 2020 - (30 Dec 2020)
Lord Trimble Portrait Lord Trimble (Con)
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My Lords, I have listened with great interest to the debate so far. I am sorry to hear so many occasions where people are criticising the Government for what they have done and in particular suggesting that in some way they were dragging out the proceedings, for whatever benefit. This is a most unfair approach. One could predict at the beginning of the negotiations that there would always be a flurry at the very end—that is how the European Union carries out negotiations. It only puts its hands on the table right at the very last minute, and sometimes then things get into a mess when you are trying to sort them out. There is a lot still to be done to sort out what has happened, but to put the blame for the handling of this solely on our Government and Prime Minister is not fair, and the party opposite should reflect on that.

I look at this as a unionist, and I do not particularly like what I see. There was a reference from the Front Bench about there now being a division down the Irish Sea. There is a worse situation, actually: the position we have arrived at is that the European Union now governs part of the United Kingdom. That is the present situation. The part that is governed is the one dealing with a lot of agricultural matters. The problems there could always be handled, but instead of handling them the EU has walked away with a position where it now legislates for agriculture, and some business things in Northern Ireland are now governed by the EU. How long is that going to last? What are we going to do about it? We cannot accept this. I have listened with interest to people talking about setting up discussions, or at least pursuing the matters—we must not go around thinking we have solved this issue, because we have not. Today, we have no choice because this has to be carried through in order that we have an Act—we do not want to have a situation where we end up with no deal; we have to have that. But we have to realise that it is only a beginning, and we have to pursue it further.

I particularly want to go back to what people call the Good Friday agreement, and to remind people of the core element within that agreement. Under Article 1, paragraph (iii) says:

“it would be wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people”.

This agreement changes the status of Northern Ireland, in that part of Northern Ireland is to be governed by the EU without the people of Northern Ireland having any say in that process at all. We cannot allow that to continue, and it is for that reason that we have to press on with this Bill, so that we achieve what is necessary. I will leave it at that point—I can see the Front Bench thinks that no more should be said—but, as I said, this is unfinished business. Waving hands may feel nice, but it will not solve the problem. We are going to have to come back to this as soon as possible, without delay, so that we get something worth while out of it.