Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 8:30 pm ar 7 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Crossbench 8:30, 7 Mai 2024

I am glad it was “respectfully”, but I am totally unconvinced by what the Minister has said, just as, for the reasons given by the noble Lord, Lord Collins, about Clause 4, I was totally unconvinced in the previous discussion about my Amendment 48.

The Bill is a total mess. I was very happy to be taken down memory lane by the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson, about my interventions on events in Gaza, the West Bank and the Occupied Territories generally. One concentrates on these things in a parliamentary career because they are the things that often stand out a mile as cases of huge injustice. That has prompted me to make those visits and report back on them to Ministers in this Government. I am ashamed to say that, under successive Governments, we have made a poor fist of responding to some of those situations, which have persisted over a long period of time for the Palestinians. I make no apologies for attending to those kinds of concerns.

I have heard nothing in these debates this evening to make me resile from supporting the ideas that the noble Lord, Lord Willetts, shared at Second Reading: that the Conservatives should be concentrating on delivering their manifesto commitment about boycotts. That is what the purpose should be. What the Government have now done has turned this into an argument not about BDS but about Palestine, the Israeli Government and these events. They have done it at a time—probably the worst possible time—when we should be engaging in these kinds of discussions.

In the circumstances, I am totally unconvinced. In recommending the removal of Clause 3(7), I see myself as a peacemaker. From the many contributions made this evening, I think we should give serious consideration to doing the simple thing of taking this provision out of the Bill. I guarantee that I shall come back to this on Report. I would be happy to meet with Ministers to discuss it. I would very much like to go with my colleague, the noble Lord, Lord Collins, and join in a discussion about trying to make the Bill more sensible. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 20 withdrawn.

Clause 3 agreed.

Schedule: Exceptions

Amendment 20A not moved.