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Lord Razzall: Should I worry?

7.30 p.m.

Lord Bach: I believe that it is I who should worry. The collective effect of the four amendments in this group would be to extend the Bill, and any provisions made under it, to the Isle of Man. I am grateful for the opportunity to explain why this new legislation does not, in our view, require to be extended to the Isle of Man.

The territorial extent of the legislation that the Bill will replace—that is, the export control provisions of the 1939 Act—includes the Isle of Man. However, in the years since that legislation was introduced, the Isle of Man and UK governments have agreed that the Isle of Man will legislate for and operate its own system of import and export controls and that those controls will mirror those in place in the United Kingdom.

The Customs and Excise Agreement 1979, which governs the customs union that exists between the UK and the Isle of Man, sets out arrangements for co-operation between the UK and the Manx authorities on matters of export and import control. It obliges the Isle of Man to maintain parallel export controls to those which operate here.

In accord with the 1979 agreement, and following consultation between the Isle of Man and UK governments, we have received firm and detailed assurances from the Isle of Man authorities that they have put into place legislation—that is, the Customs and Excise Act 2001, as amended—that will enable the Isle of Man to give full effect to all the controls provided for or made under the Export Control Bill, including the new controls to be imposed on arms trafficking and brokering, intangible transfers and technical assistance.

Given that, it is not necessary, and indeed would not be appropriate, for the Bill's territorial extent to include the Isle of Man. Therefore, Clause 15(4) makes clear that the Bill does not extend to the Isle of Man, except in so far as Clause 14(5) provides for the existing export control law no longer to apply to the Isle of Man. The UK and Manx authorities are agreed that the Bill should none the less include a permissive extent provision that would allow any of its provisions, or any orders made under it, to be extended if necessary to the Isle of Man. Indeed, that is provided for by Clause 15(5).

We have no reason to believe that the Isle of Man will not be able to give full effect under Manx legislation to all the new controls. But both governments believe that it is prudent for there to be an alternative means of implementing in the Isle of Man any future controls introduced under the Bill should it not prove possible for these readily to be given immediate effect under Manx legislation. By way of example, any temporary order introduced for reasons not covered by the schedule would almost

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certainly require to be given effect in both the UK and the Isle of Man without delay. If it were not possible to implement an equivalent order at the same time under Manx legislation, then it would be possible instead to extend the order directly to the Isle of Man by Order in Council under Clause 15(5).

That is the explanation as to why we have taken the attitude that we have towards the Isle of Man. The noble Lord, Lord Razzall, did not surprise me by mentioning a case which arose a few years ago and about which there may be some misunderstanding. The difficulties in that case, as I understand it, were due principally to a deficiency in the United Nations sanctions order then in place in the UK governing the supply of arms to Rwanda rather than to a delay in introducing the order in the Isle of Man. To the extent that there was a delay in introducing the order in the Isle of Man at that time, the responsibility lay with the UK Government rather than with the Isle of Man authorities.

I want to assure the Committee that, following that case, new arrangements were introduced to provide for closer and more timely liaison between Whitehall departments over the implementation of new United Nations sanctions orders in the whole of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the overseas territories. We do not believe that there could be another case such as that, and I want to make three points.

First, with regard to the delay issue, as I said, there are new arrangements for closer and more timely liaison. Secondly, the Isle of Man has given the Government a firm assurance that it has put in place the legislation needed to allow it to implement in parallel with us all the new controls that we propose to introduce under the Bill. Thirdly, should the situation ever arise where the Isle of Man is not able to give immediate parallel effect to any new controls introduced under the Bill, Clause 15(5), to which I referred, will allow the relevant provisions to be extended to the Isle of Man by Order in Council instead. Therefore, so far as this matter is concerned, we believe that we have covered all the angles.

I have taken a little time to reply because the noble Lord raised a serious issue.

Lord Razzall: On the basis of what I take to be as close to an undertaking as the Minister could possibly give that, were Manx legislation, for whatever reason, not to be implemented mirroring the orders applicable in the UK, the UK Government would exercise their powers as set out in the Bill, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 11 [Power to modify the Schedule]:

Lord Redesdale moved Amendment No. 65:

    Page 7, line 5, at end insert "after consultation with relevant non-governmental and industrial organisations".

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The noble Lord said: This is a very simple amendment which I believe is self-explanatory. Basically, its purpose is to ensure that consultation is carried out with relevant non-governmental and industrial organisations before the provisions of the schedule are modified. I believe that that would enhance the Bill and give interested parties—say, non-governmental organisations—that were particularly interested in the issues of sustainability prior warning of any proposed change. I beg to move.

Lord Judd: This may appear an innocent little amendment but I consider it to be very important. The Minister has said how much he values listening and consulting in order to get things right. If that has been true in building up the Bill to its present level, any changes would require the same approach in the interests of ensuring that not only did we make a change but that we got it right. I believe that, not for the first time, the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, is to be thanked for having made such a good point in his amendment.

Lord Bach: Clause 11 provides for the Secretary of State to modify the schedule. The amendment would require consultations with NGOs and industrial organisations before any such modifications could be made. Of course, we appreciate the benefit of consulting generally, but we envisage that the schedule would be changed only when it was absolutely necessary to do so. Consultations could not determine such necessities. We want to resist the amendment and I shall explain why shortly.

The most significant point to make about changes to the schedule is that they can be made only by means of the draft affirmative resolution procedure under Clause 12(4). Our original proposal was for the delayed affirmative procedure, but we accepted the recommendations of the former Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation and changed it to the draft procedure. That is, of course, the tightest form of parliamentary scrutiny one can have.

We could not have gone further down that road. The draft affirmative procedure underlines the point that the schedule, as a fundamental part of the Bill, should only be modified, if at all, by the express approval of Parliament. Parliament must decide the matter.

However, as to the question of consultation, it is hard to believe that, when there is a draft affirmative resolution, some notice should not have been given of that fact and thus undoubtedly consultation would, in any event, take place. Anyone who has taken part in proceedings on the Bill cannot but fail to know that a great deal of attention has been paid to it by NGOs and also by industry. Such attention has been manifested by briefs, some better than others, which have been sent to noble Lords on all sides of the Chamber.

There is no danger in the real world that effectively there would not be consultation for something such as this. However, as far as I am aware there is no reason why the draft affirmative procedure should not allow parliamentarians the opportunity to

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consult informally with interested organisations about the proposed modification of the schedule, which does not require provision in primary legislation.

My final point is that as a country we have signed up to a number of the international export control regimes such as the Wassenaar arrangement and the International Missile Technology Control Regime. While those are not formal obligations of the kind covered by the schedule, but instead represent political commitments to countering the proliferation of weapons, we may wish to make changes to the schedule in response to agreements reached by such regimes. Meeting such international commitments is as important as any formal obligations under, say, the EU or UN and, just as in those cases, it would not be appropriate to subject our commitments to consultations.

I hope that the noble Lord will at least appreciate the arguments I make on that point. We argue that consultation in any other sense is not necessary; it would happen in any event. I invite the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

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