Clause 4 - Abolition of supremacy of EU law

Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 24 Tachwedd 2022.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Llafur, Knowsley

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Clauses 5 and 6 stand part.

New clause 8—Conditions for bringing sections 3, 4 and 5 into force—

“(1) None of sections 3, 4 or 5 may be brought into force unless all the following conditions have been satisfied.

(2) The first condition is that a Minister of the Crown has, after consulting organisations and persons representative of interests substantially affected by, or with expertise in the likely legal effect of, that section on a draft of that report, laid a report before each House of Parliament setting out, with reasons, the Minister’s view as to the likely advantages and disadvantages of bringing that section into force, setting out in particular the effect of that section on—

(a) the rights of and protections for consumers, workers, and businesses, and protections of the environment and animal welfare;

(b) legal certainty, and the clarity and predictability of the law;

(c) the operation of the Trade and Cooperation agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU, and UK exports of goods and services to the European Economic Area; and

(d) the operation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the EU withdrawal agreement.

(3) In relation to section 4, that report must take into account any regulation made or likely to be made by a relevant national authority under section 8(1).

(4) The second condition is that a period of sixty days has passed since that report was laid before Parliament, with no account to be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which either House is adjourned for more than four days.

(5) The third condition is that, after the end of that period, both Houses of Parliament have approved a resolution that that section come into force.

(6) If both Houses of Parliament have approved a resolution that that section should not come into force unless it is amended in a way set out in that resolution, then the Minister may by regulation amend that section accordingly, and that section may not be brought into force until that amendment has been made.”

This new clause requires Ministers to analyse, and to explain their analysis of, the effect of the removal of retained EU law rights, the principle of supremacy of EU law, and of the general principles. It also includes opportunity for Parliamentary approval and timeframes for laying reports before both Houses.

Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Shadow Minister (Future of Work), Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)

I rise to speak to new clause 8, but before that I will address clauses 4, 5 and 6.

Clause 4 is a Ronseal clause: with regard to abolishing the supremacy of the EU, it does exactly what it says on the tin. However, unlike putting a coat of varnish on a fence, it will not be a case of simply walking away once it is done. It is inevitable that courts will need to consider case law that we have previously regarded as settled, because that law was settled when EU law was supreme, and it no longer will be. The reality is that none of us know where this clause is going to take us.

Most lawyers practising today know no other legal environment. The world has moved on in the last 50 years in ways that we could not have foreseen, and the law has moved with it, so any reinterpretation of the law needs to be done carefully. It must strike a balance between making changes where appropriate, based on our new position outside the EU, and maintaining some consistency and predictability for businesses and individuals who are trying to conduct their working and private lives within the ambit of the law. That is why some of our other amendments have attempted to create stability in terms of what the Government can control with these regulations, because we recognise that not even this Government can control the courts and which issues are litigated.

Section 5(2) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 stated that the principle of the supremacy of EU law will continue to apply

“so far as relevant to the interpretation, disapplication or quashing of any enactment...passed or made before exit day.”

That means that retained EU regulations would take precedence over pre-existing domestic legislation that is inconsistent with them. It also makes it clear that this does not apply to anything passed after 31 December 2020, so to some extent, supremacy of EU law has already entered history. What analysis has been done on the legal consequences of retrospectively altering the relationship between retained EU law and domestic legislation passed before 31 December 2020? Have the Government have done any analysis of this, and can they anticipate which areas will be prone to more legal challenge on the issue of supremacy?

I suspect that it will be impossible for any of us to say whether the consequences of removing the principle of supremacy would reduce the clarity of the law or change its effect in any particular case. However, the overall effect is that there will be a reduction in certainty and a risk of unpredicted—and perhaps entirely undesirable and unjust—consequences. What assessment has been made of the impact of the new level of uncertainty on business investment?

It is to the Government’s credit that they have recognised that there is a risk of unjust or unintended consequences and have retained the power in clause 8 to, in essence, retain the supremacy of EU law over domestic legislation for any EU legislation up to 23 June 2026, but that prompts the question of what happens to any undesirable case law that emerges after that date—indeed, whether there will be any case law at all before that date is an open question, given the current state of court backlogs. There are also important questions about how the powers in clause 8 will be exercised, but we will save those for that clause. Suffice it to say that we do not think things will be quite as straightforward as the clause implies.

Clause 5 raises serious questions about how the abolition of the general principles of EU law will impact on any retained EU law, as it will now inevitably throw into doubt the meaning of all retained European Union law. This will also affect primary legislation that was intended to implement EU obligations and that would have been interpreted in the light of the general principles of EU law and the rights and duties flowing from the EU. Let us remind ourselves what the terrible, unconstitutional principles of EU law are: legal certainty, equal treatment, proportionality and respect for fundamental rights.

I would be interested to hear from the Minister why the Government feel that they can no longer support any of those principles in UK law. Can she also tell us how many pieces of primary legislation will be affected by the clause? What elements of that legislation will be affected, and which Departments are likely to have to reconsider and possibly redraft primary legislation as a result of judicial interpretation? Have any steps been taken at all to assess the effect of the provisions? Again, will we see increased uncertainty and reduced investment, but richer lawyers, as a result of the clause?

I will not ask the Minister how many cases over the last 50 years have been decided in line with the principles of EU law, as I do not think that anyone could reasonably be expected to put a number on that, but she ought to be able to explain how the Bill will affect our constituents. We are talking about half a century of case law being replaced by a vacuum that, because of the way the Bill is drafted, can only be filled by litigation. The lawyers really will be the ones who benefit from the Bill.

Decisions that have been interwoven into our legislation and that affect key workplace rights and protections will now be open for question—for example, protections around discrimination, equal pay, and maternity and paternity have developed a whole line of case law over time. Separating out the decisions that have been made on such pieces of law on the basis of EU-derived principles will have consequences that I believe the Government should look to address. To give one example, the removal of the ability to make claims for equal pay for work of equal value that is done by different sexes is a well-established principle that is at risk as a result of the clause. Of course, the new figures released at the weekend show just how far we still have to go in resolving the quest for equal pay.

How will the Government address those questions? Are they content for the law to be reshaped organically by the courts instead of by Parliament? That will inevitably lead to more delays, as more and more test claims are brought in a court system already beset by backlogs. The Government will need to clarify the law, and such cases will be pursued at a cost to the individuals bringing the claims, along with very high legal fees—running to thousands of pounds—to bring appeals to the appeal courts. In practice, that will mean that the reshaping of the law will be driven by those with the deepest pockets, not those with the most just arguments. That is not the way we should look to reshape our law.

I understand the idea that, if we have the left the EU, the principles of EU law should no longer apply, but if we decide as a Parliament that those are good principles and worth keeping, and that we value factors such as legal certainty, we should be saying that as a Parliament. By tabling new clause 8, we are trying to get some sense of order into all this.

Many of the legal experts we heard from during the evidence sessions spoke about the impact of the Bill. They almost spoke in chorus about the abnormality of, and their concern about, how little opportunity there was for parliamentary scrutiny and consultation. Some of the most knowledgeable people in the country are raising concerns about the impact of providing the Executive with such unchecked powers and about the huge vacuum that the Bill will create. We should listen to those concerns. I wish to move new clause 8 to rectify the lack of scrutiny and consultation in the use of powers afforded by clauses 3, 4 and 5.

We now have nearly less than a year to deal with these crucial matters, which is testament to a weak Government that do not have the confidence to address the practical, legal and various political consequences of our disentangle-ment from the EU. The most salient question is: why would the Government want to jeopardise important legal precedents in the UK’s case law by rushing to remove them without adequate levels of scrutiny or due consideration of the impact?

The terms of the new clause are simple. After stating in subsection (1) that the new clause will place requirements on the proper use of clauses 3, 4 and 5, subsection (2) begins by detailing the conditions on which powers can be legitimately used. In particular, the subsection states that the Government must consult

“organisations and persons representative of interests substantially affected by, or with expertise in the likely legal effect of” the Government’s use of clauses 3 to 5. It mandates that a report from the consultations be produced and laid before both Houses and include the relevant Minister’s view on

“the likely advantages and disadvantages of bringing that section into force”,

with a particular focus on basic protections for consumers, workers, businesses, and the environment and animal welfare. We have heard already in Committee that there does not seem to be a great deal of support for maintaining those protections.

The report must also focus on legal certainty in terms of clarity and predictability of law, and the operation of the trade and co-operation agreement between the UK and EU, as well as the effect on the exports of goods and services to the European economic area. It must also consider the operation of the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland in the EU withdrawal agreement. I hope Government Members recognise that those are all important matters that will impact on our constituents’ lives and the prosperity of the whole nation for years to come. The Government should want to know the consequences of the Bill before they enact it.

I cannot see why there would be any objection to taking such a sensible step. Perhaps there will be some grumbling or concern about administrative costs or burdens. Admittedly, there will be some costs in terms of laying reports before both Houses, but it stands to reason that any credible Government would have already carried out such assessments, or at the very least planned to do so in the very near future. Besides, the small costs associated with placing such assessments into the public domain are no doubt good value not just for the sake of transparency, but for the confidence it will instil in businesses about where the future legal landscape will lie.

Neither should there be opposition to the principle of conducting such scrutiny. It is simply due diligence. We are embarking on a process that will completely alter how the law operates in our country. The new clause simply reintroduces a level of scrutiny in the form of consultation and, in later subsections, parliamentary oversight over how the UK’s legal system will be altered.

Returning to the point of scrutiny that I began with, and that we have talked about many times, it is one of the more concerning elements of the Bill. We are expected throughout the Bill to submit to unchecked ministerial power in good faith. New clause 8(4), (5) and (6) attempt to address that. Subsection (4) deals with the necessary timeframes. To ensure that there is ample time to understand the implications of the reports laid before the House, subsection (4) states that the reports must stay in Parliament for a period of 60 days when it is sitting. That will not only give both Houses enough time to study the impact of the Government's plans, but will help prevent the Government from using the sunset as a means to rush through unsatisfactory changes—a problem not limited to the use of the powers here.

New clause 8(5) and (6) introduce the parliamentary approval that the Bill severely lacks throughout. Once the 60-day period has been completed, both Houses will have to approve a resolution to bring the relevant subsections (3), (4) or (5) into force. Crucially, under the new clause, if either House finds the subsection to be unsatisfactory, it will simply not come into force. If that is the case, both Houses will need to pass a resolution that includes a recommendation to amend the subsection so that their concerns are addressed to secure approval. The Minister would then need to act on such a recommendation. I believe that that is a reasoned approach. It has been guided by the evidence that we have heard, and would utilise the wealth of knowledge and experience contained within both Houses on the impact of such dramatic changes. We want to ensure that all eventualities have been considered and have gone through the proper channels of consent, especially on an issue as crucial as our law.

This new clause would achieve that, and the only additional cost would effectively be parliamentary scrutiny time. Rather than giving ministerial authority, it would make the decisions more transparent and more accountable. It would see that issues that are important to all of our constituents, such as consumer rights and workers’ protections, are at the forefront of our discussions and debates.

Of course, it would also ensure, as we have said many times, that Parliament actually takes back control of the process and does not give it away, not just to Ministers but to lawyers and judges, who will pursue cases in the interests of their clients. There is nothing wrong with that, but it risks a lopsided development of the law and could bring forward legal principles and developments that we cannot foresee and certainly cannot control.

Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Llafur, Sheffield Central 11:45, 24 Tachwedd 2022

I wish to make a relatively brief point, anticipating what the Minister might say on the basis of her response to comments on clause 3. It is worrying, when we are trying to have a serious consideration of the Bill, that serious questions either from our Front Bench or from my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow are met with the suggestion that we are, in some way, trying to deny Brexit.

I think we need to be clear on this: we campaigned to remain in the European Union; the majority of Conservative Members campaigned to remain in the European Union; but we lost and we left. There is no going back; none of us is arguing for it—no rejoining the EU, no rejoining the single market, no rejoining the customs union. But there are choices in the way that we manage our future outside of the EU. That is what we are trying to deal with, because we want to make the right choices, and are worried that the Government are not.

I have come to this session from a meeting of the UK Trade and Business Commission, which is a cross-party, cross-industry body looking at the trade opportunities and trade implications of our departure from the European Union. Both the British Chambers of Commerce, which gave evidence to us this morning, and the TUC expressed huge concern about the uncertainty created by the provisions in clauses 4 to 7 and the potential for businesses and workers to get lost in a legal quagmire from which, as my hon. Friend the Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston says, only the lawyers will benefit. Given the current backlog of such cases in our courts, that uncertainty will last for some time.

Will the Minister address the concerns that were raised by the Bar Council, whose evidence I know she will have read? It warns about,

“creating uncertainty as to the meaning and status of such REUL by removing established principles by which it is to be interpreted, altering its status vis-à-vis other law, and nudging the courts towards departing from EU case-law that interprets it.”

I hope that the Minister will respond to the questions asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston, because the evidence then says:

“We detect no sign that any assessment has been done as to the legal effect of those changes on the regulations concerned (despite their importance) and can therefore detect no policy rationale for those changes whatsoever.”

I hope that, in her remarks, the Minister will address those points.

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow

My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Central is absolutely right. This is not about whether Brexit has happened. We all know that Brexit has happened. We have left the European Union, and, frankly, it reflects an intellectual insecurity about the legislation if that is the only response that the Government can come up with—if they cannot actually engage in defending their proposals but try to take us on to a completely different debate.

That matters because millions of people across the country are dealing with the consequences of Brexit on a daily basis, none more so than our friends and family in Northern Ireland. I rise to ask the Minister to put aside the constant talk about, “Well, if you disagree with this, if you want to ask these questions, it’s cos you didn’t agree with Brexit,” and to do justice to the people of Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday, we talked very briefly about the Schleswig-Holstein dispute and the fact that it was a dispute between Denmark and Germany about a territory. History is littered with such instances, whereby people suffer, whereby there are refugees and whereby such disputes define political and geo-diplomatic discourse for generations to come.

In Northern Ireland, there is an incredibly difficult balance, which we know has been unbalanced since Brexit happened. We also know that one of the things that is causing real pain to people in Northern Ireland is having to maintain dual systems, because it is not clear to businesses in Northern Ireland which pieces of legislation they have to follow.

Supremacy, which this clause attacks, is one of the ways in which that situation is resolved. Government Members can dismiss everything that we have to say, but they need to look our friends and neighbours in Northern Ireland in the eye and say, “We are doing everything we can to make sure the peace holds and to uphold the Good Friday agreement.” I say that because supremacy is particularly important when it comes to the Good Friday agreement and given that this clause abolishes supremacy of EU law in Northern Ireland as well, we need to understand from the Minister—if she does not answer this question, that would be very serious—what impact the clause will have on the protocol, because the protocol at the moment is obviously under pressure and is clearly a matter that has some real consequences for the lives of people in Northern Ireland.

If the Government are hoping to tear up the protocol, that would be an extraordinary moment in the history of Northern Ireland, so the Minister owes us the justice of a serious response to a set of serious questions, not only about legal uncertainty but about supremacy and how the clause will operate in Northern Ireland. I hope that she will respond with courtesy and dignity. Whatever disagreements and debates we may have had about Brexit—as I say, Labour Members are now perfectly content that that has happened; the argument has been lost and we are moving on—doing the people of Northern Ireland the justice of answering questions about, and engaging directly with, this concept of supremacy and saying what it means for Northern Ireland is important, so that they can start to have some of the certainty about what their future will hold that they desperately require.

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Llafur, Knowsley 12:00, 24 Tachwedd 2022

Before I call the Minister to respond, the hon. Lady prayed in aid the Schleswig-Holstein affair. Without interfering in the politics of the debate, I think that a more appropriate comparison might be Zollverein in Germany or Risorgimento in Italy, which were all about the assertion of the rights of nation states.

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

This is turning into a very interesting morning indeed, Chairman.

I rise to resist new clause 8. This new clause seeks to set conditions on the commencement of clauses 3, 4 and 5 of the Bill. I will explain to the right hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston why we are making the changes in these clauses.

Each clause is vital to this Government’s programme to reform retained EU law. That there are still circumstances where retained EU law takes precedence over UK law is not consistent with our status as an independent nation. The principle of EU supremacy must be ended without delay. These amendments would add further delay by requiring the Government to write reports on items to which we have already committed. As set out already, the Government have committed to ensuring that the necessary legislation is in place to uphold the UK’s international obligations, which includes maintaining the UK’s obligations under the trade and co-operation agreement or the Northern Ireland protocol. We will come on to consider an amendment that will allow us to spend more time discussing that issue.

This Bill will not lead to legal uncertainty—to have perfect legal certainty would mean that we would forever keep the same laws. Our approach is to improve accessibility and legal clarity by codifying, where necessary, rights and principles expressly into domestic statute.

With regard to the delegated powers in the Bill, the Government are committed to ensuring robust scrutiny for the secondary legislation made under these powers while ensuring the most effective use of Parliamentary time; I believe, Chairman, that we spent many hours discussing this issue just on Tuesday. This means that legislation made using the delegated powers in the Bill will be subject to either the negative or draft affirmative procedure, depending on the legislation that is being amended and the power used. A sifting procedure will also apply to regulations to be made under the power to restate, which affords additional scrutiny of the use of power.

Clause 4 ends the principle of supremacy of retained EU law in so far as it applies to pre-2021 legislation. The clause establishes a new priority rule, which ensures domestic legislation prevails over retained direct EU legislation where there is a conflict. Thanks to the clause, an Act of Parliament will once again be the foremost law in the land. Clause 5 ensures general principles of EU law will no longer be part of the UK statute book from the end of 2023. Clause 6 establishes that after the end of 2023 all retained EU law preserved from the sunset provisions will be known as “assimilated law”.

In response to some of the questions raised, I put on the record once again that the rulebook does not seek to remove rights. In most instances, those rights already operate and are available in domestic legislation. The rulebook contains provisions to enable the UK Government and the devolved Administrations to safeguard the rights and protections of citizens of the United Kingdom. The Bill includes a restatement power so that Departments can codify rights into domestic legislation.

On Tuesday, we spoke at length about scrutiny, the sifting process and the role that Parliament will play, so I am not sure what further response I can make today. That programme has been made clear. The Government recognise Parliament’s significant role in scrutinising statutory instruments to date and are committed to ensure appropriate scrutiny of any secondary legislation made under the Bill’s delegated powers.

Changes in the law can give rise to litigation—that is normal—but we would never change the law if people wanted no change whatsoever. The risk will be mitigated in areas where Departments use the Bill’s powers to maintain the effect of our current law, if necessary, for desired policy outcomes. In other cases, proactive management of the removal of retained EU law will allow a controlled and positive introduction of a new legal regime that seeks to mitigate any risks posed by increases in litigation. For instance, the Bill contains powers allowing the Government to retain the current legislative hierarchy between specified pieces of legislation. The effects of repealing supremacy will only be considered relevant to matters arising after the enactment of policy. The change is not retrospective, and cases that have already been concluded will not reopen. Upon finding that pre-2021 domestic law is incompatible with retained EU law, courts may place conditions in the incompatibility order to mitigate the effect of that finding.

Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Shadow Minister (Future of Work), Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)

I did posit in my opening remarks the principles of EU law that will be jettisoned. In the example of legal certainty and equal treatment, does the Minister consider that those principles should no longer be part of UK law?

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

That assumes that we would not be treating people equally and fairly, and that is not the case when we legislate in the UK. I do not buy the idea that without EU law we are incapable of governing fairly in the UK. We are all elected to Parliament to represent our constituents, and we want to go home and tell our constituents, regardless of who they are and where they are from, that we are legislating fairly for everybody.

Why are we removing the principle of EU supremacy? That principle means that pre-2021 domestic law must give way to some pieces of retained EU law when the two conflict. That ensured legal continuity at the end of the transition period, but it is constitutionally anomalous and inappropriate, as some domestic laws, including Acts of Parliament, are subordinate to some pieces of retained law. That is the nub of the issue. We either accept the supremacy of the EU or accept the supremacy of this place. We can go round and round, but only one can prevail, and the Government believe that this Parliament should be supreme.

On the protection of fundamental rights and the equality principle, the principle of fundamental rights is generally not the exclusive preserve of the EU. We are proud of the history of the UK legal systems in which common law principles and legislation are well established to protect fundamental rights. For example, the principle of equality before the law is rooted deeply in British law. It was in 1215 that Magna Carta first acknowledged that British people had legal rights and that laws could apply to kings and queens too. The Equality Act 2010 has, to date, brought together more than 116 pieces of legislation into a single Act—a streamlined legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and to advance equality of opportunity for all. There is no equivalent to that Act in EU law, which shows how important it is that we are able to express principles such as equality before the law in a UK statute rather than relying on principles of EU law.

Photo of David Jones David Jones Ceidwadwyr, Gorllewin Clwyd

Does my hon. Friend not agree that a particular strength of our domestic legal system is the principle of stare decisis, whereby there is a strict rule that cases are followed in terms of precedent, which does not apply in the case of EU law?

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Exactly. My right hon. Friend is incredibly knowledgeable on all those issues, and I am more than happy to defer to him; he is absolutely right. We reject new clause 8.

Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Shadow Minister (Future of Work), Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)

I will first address the intervention of the right hon. Member for Clwyd West. The point of clause 4 is that it removes the ability of the courts to refer to precedents from any decisions that have been taken in accordance with EU law, so it is worrying that the right hon. Member makes such comments.

The Minister said that we must decide whether we accept the supremacy of Parliament. We absolutely do, which is why so many of the amendments that we have tabled are about giving Parliament back control, not handing power to Ministers or, in the case of this clause, handing power to lawyers and judges to decide how our law moves forward.

I thank the Minister for promoting me to a right hon. Member—that was very kind of her. She also said that new clause 8 would delay matters. It will not. If the Government are on top of things, which I would like to think they were, they should be doing this work anyway. They should be doing this analysis in a way that enables Parliament to scrutinise the effect of the Bill.

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow

Does my hon. Friend recognise that the Minister did not utter the words “Northern Ireland”, and did not at all address the question of how supremacy will be resolved in Northern Ireland, which follows both EU and UK legislation? I see that she is being given a note, so perhaps she can do us the courtesy of responding to that question.

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Llafur, Knowsley

The Minister might care to intervene on the hon. Member who is speaking. That does not require a point of order.

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The hon. Member for Walthamstow was inaccurate. Hansard will show that I did mention Northern Ireland; I made that clear. An amendment that we will consider later today will allow us to do justice to the issue.

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Llafur, Knowsley

I am grateful to the Minister for the clarification.

Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Shadow Minister (Future of Work), Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)

We will be returning to Northern Ireland, as the Minister says. She said that the Bill will not add legal uncertainty. I am afraid that that is exactly what it will do, and it is exactly what the bulk of evidence from every legal representative who has contacted the Committee shows. By abolishing principles that have been in formation for half a century, we will be in a new era and will have to develop new legal principles. That can only create uncertainty.

It is worth reflecting on the letter to which I referred earlier, which is reported in the Financial Times today. It was sent by about a dozen organisations, including the Trades Union Congress and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, that have a huge interest in ensuring that the law is fair and certain. The letter warns that the Bill

“would upend ‘decades-worth of case law’ and create ‘a huge risk of poor or potentially detrimental law entering the statute book’”.

We should be listening to these people; they know what they are talking about. They have looked at the effect of the Bill and believe it will not do what some think it will. It will not be a rerun of 2019, although the Conservatives would like us to go back to 2019, because they were ahead in the polls then. We have left the EU. This legislation is about how we move forward, but I am afraid that there has been a complete failure to address the consequences of its provisions. We will be coming back to the issue for years to come, because there has been a shocking lack of forethought about the Bill’s implications. I will press new clause 8 to a vote.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 4 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 5 and 6 ordered to stand part of the Bill.