Clause 1 - The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Part of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and International Committee of the Red Cross (Status) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:00 am ar 6 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 10:00, 6 Mawrth 2024

I wholeheartedly endorse my hon. Friend’s comments.

Touching briefly on clause 3, the Bill will enable the Government to treat the CPA and the ICRC in a manner comparable to that of an international organisation of which the United Kingdom, or His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, is a member. In keeping with that, this provision is equivalent to section 8 of the International Organisations Act 1968, which allows the Secretary of State to certify questions of fact relating to the status of, or the privileges and immunities conferred on, the organisations.

Clause 3 is therefore necessary, as it is intended to assist the courts in establishing the facts relating to the status of persons who may have privileges or immunities. The legislation is being supported now as compelling business cases have been presented, and parliamentary time and capacity is available.

Before I conclude, let me touch on the schedule. It is customary practice to grant privileges and immunities to international organisations and related persons. The list of privileges and immunities that may be conferred on the CPA and the ICRC by Order in Council is set out in the schedule and has been informed by the 1968 Act. That will allow the Government to agree a framework that is unique and appropriate to the organisations’ unique mandates.

Conferral of the privileges and immunities may be subject to specific exceptions in accordance with clause 4 of the Bill, while any exemption or relief from a tax or duty may be made subject to arrangements or conditions, also in accordance with clause 4. I reiterate the Government’s support for, and agreement with, the clauses and the schedule.