Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill - Third Reading

– in the House of Lords am 3:28 pm ar 26 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord True Lord True Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal 3:28, 26 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, I have it in command from His Majesty the King to acquaint the House that His Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, has consented to place his interest, so far as it is affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.

Photo of Lord Offord of Garvel Lord Offord of Garvel Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)

My Lords, I will make a brief statement on the devolution status of the Bill. Parts 3, 4 and 5 of the Bill include provisions within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly relating to consumer matters. The legislative consent process is not engaged in Scotland or Wales.

As noble Lords will be aware, the Executive and Assembly have only recently been restored in Northern Ireland. After the return of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive on 3 February, my ministerial colleague the Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business wrote to his counterpart in Northern Ireland, seeking their agreement to initiate the legislative consent process and to support a legislative consent Motion in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Since then, my officials have been in regular contact with the Northern Ireland Civil Service and we are hopeful that the legislative consent process will progress swiftly over the coming weeks.

Although it has not been possible to secure consent by this time, we take great comfort from the engagement that has taken place with the Northern Ireland Civil Service throughout the passage of the Bill, including via correspondence between Permanent Secretaries. I take this opportunity to thank the officials in the Executive and express my gratitude for the close working to date. There has historically been a policy and enforcement imperative in Northern Ireland to maintain parity with Great Britain in relation to consumer protection matters. With the support of the Northern Ireland Office, my officials have liaised with the relevant Northern Ireland departments to ensure that the Bill considers and reflects the relevant aspects of devolved legislation. We remain committed to ensuring sustained engagement on the Bill with all three devolved Administrations as it progresses through Parliament.