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Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 22:

"(3) In section 13 of the 2002 Act (Parliamentary procedure for regulations and orders under that Act), after subsection (3) there is inserted—
"(3A) An order under section 10(4A) may not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.
(3B) Subsection (3A) does not apply if it appears to the Lord Chancellor that by reason of urgency the order should be made without being approved in draft.
(3C) Where an order is made without being approved in draft, by virtue of subsection (3A)—
(a) it must be laid before Parliament after being made; and

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(b) if it is not approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament within the period of 40 days after the date on which it is made, the order shall cease to have effect at the end of that period.""

The noble Baroness said: I spoke to Amendment No. 22 with Amendment No. 12. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 20, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Goodhart: My purpose in objecting to Clause 20 stand part is to raise a fundamentally similar point to that raised by Amendments Nos. 17 and 18. In the United Kingdom the disqualification of holders of certain offices from serving as a Member of the European Parliament operates by the combined effect of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 and Section 10 of the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002.

The offices that lead to disqualification are set out in schedules. There is power to add to that list by statutory instrument or to designate some offices as not disqualifying the holder from serving as a Member of the European Parliament, even if disqualified from serving as a Member of the House of Commons.

While statutory instruments have a role to play in the United Kingdom in deciding who is to be disqualified from office, the Delegated Powers Committee was not satisfied that the entire list should be left to secondary legislation. It remained of that view even after receiving the response of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor in the letter to which I referred in the earlier debate. We believe that it is appropriate not to leave the list to secondary legislation. I object to the clause standing part.

Baroness Rawlings: I support the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, in relation to Clause 20 stand part. It is my understanding that an order under Section 10 of the 2002 Act can only remove a disqualification, not impose one. A disqualification can be made to an order only under the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975. Would it not be accurate, then, to include Gibraltar in both the 2002 Act and the 1975 Act? I understand that the Delegated Powers Select Committee advised that to be the case. I ask the Minister where the Secretary of State can in fact impose a disqualification under Section 10 of the 2002 Act?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I note what the noble Baroness and the noble Lord say about clause stand part. Clause 20 amends the European Parliament Elections Act 2002 so as to give power to the Secretary of State, or the Lord Chancellor, to disqualify certain classes of individuals from being entitled to stand as MEPs, as the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, said.

As with all aspects of the Bill, our approach in the clause has been to ensure that we have the necessary powers as far as possible to apply UK electoral law to the Gibraltar part of the combined region in the same

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way as to the UK part of the region. Thus the power enables similar classes of individuals in Gibraltar in the UK to be excluded from being MEPs.

The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, outlined the case that it would be more appropriate for such provision to be made in the Bill rather than by delegated legislation. The Government do not agree. The list of those who are disqualified in the UK from serving as MEPs includes various classes of person, some of which could apply to Gibraltarians without further provisions—for example, those disqualified for being under 21—and some of which could not—for example, UK bankrupts.

In short, the picture is not straightforward and it will be crucial to discuss in detail with the Government of Gibraltar how we can fulfil our intention to disqualify similar classes of people with a connection with Gibraltar to those that apply in the UK.

As I said, the timetable for getting all the provisions in place to fulfil the UK's obligation to enfranchise the people of Gibraltar is very tight. We could not afford to delay the introduction of the Bill in order to enable such detail to be set out in it. However, thanks to other government amendments to which I have already referred, the power will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, which will enable the detail of the matter to be aired before both Houses.

The noble Baroness was correct about Section 10 of the 2002 Act, which only removes disqualification. That was given simply as an example of delegated legislation that affects disqualification. I know that the Committee is aware of sensitivities in this area and of the need to take consultation with the Gibraltarians very seriously and carefully indeed. We wish to get that absolutely right, so that the synergy between the UK and Gibraltarian positions is properly mirrored and reflected. We shall have grave difficulty in doing so in the present timetable unless we take the course that we suggest. The affirmative resolution procedure will enable both Houses further to consider the matter once we have decided, after consultation with Gibraltar, on the most appropriate way forward. I hope that the noble Lord and the noble Baroness will be content with that explanation.

Lord Goodhart: We shall consider what the noble Baroness has said and decide whether to return on Report to ask for the clause to be left out or amended. At present, I cannot give an undertaking that we will not do so.

Baroness Rawlings: I thank the Minister for that full response. I hear what she has told us. We believe that that point is fair and reasonable. However, we may, like the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, have further concerns and may want to return to the matter later.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I commend the clause, as amended.

Clause 20, as amended, agreed to.

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5.45 p.m.

Clause 21 [European Parliamentary election regulations]:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 23:

    Page 10, leave out lines 38 to 42 .

The noble Baroness said: Again, I sense that Amendment No. 24, tabled by the noble Baroness, which would remove from Clause 21 the power to exclude matters from the jurisdiction of Gibraltar courts, is a probing amendment. I hope that I have understood that correctly. There was much discussion in Committee in another place of the same amendment. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary explained the Government's intentions concerning jurisdiction in matters relating to European parliamentary elections and Gibraltar, but said that she was keen to examine the details further to see whether the Bill's provisions could be clarified.

That we have now done. Taken together, Amendments Nos. 23 and 25 remove the provisions on jurisdiction from Clause 21 and insert a new clause dealing with that matter alone. The new clause makes it clear that Gibraltarian courts and UK courts can both have jurisdiction over certain matters that give rise to issues that are local to either Gibraltar or the United Kingdom part of the combined region, in order that the appropriate local court can be allocated to the matter.

Further, matters that will affect the whole of the combined region, and the rest of the United Kingdom, can be allocated to United Kingdom courts—and thus the United Kingdom election court, dealing with election petitions, and the High Court, when, for example, dealing with claims that MEPs are disqualified, would deal with the new matters of substantive law that they usually deal with, once they are applied to Gibraltar under the Bill.

It is also made clear that provision can be made so that the election court can include a judge of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar in addition to two UK judges. Necessary supplementary powers have been provided to treat the Gibraltar judges as High Court judges for those purposes only. We believe that the new clause is a substantial improvement on its predecessor and will provide the necessary flexibility and clarity to ensure that matters of jurisdiction are appropriately dealt with. I beg to move.

Baroness Rawlings: We again welcome the amendments. The Chief Minister was concerned that the Government of Gibraltar's status would become ambiguous under the 2002 Act. However, I should appreciate clarification on the status of the Government of Gibraltar with regard to matters of electoral law. If they are to be treated as an entirely separate, unique entity, what will be their position in relation to returning officers, and so on? How do the Government envisage that two entirely separate entities—the relevant local authority and the

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Government of Gibraltar—will work together to represent the interests of the electors in the two areas? I look forward to hearing the Minister's reply.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I have set out how we believe that the two will work together. I have tried to explain the division between the work that will be undertaken by the Gibraltarian courts and the UK courts—the separation of those matters—and that the United Kingdom courts will be responsible for dealing with all matters that affect the whole of the combined region. We accept that this is a new venture, but it has enabled us through the consultation to clarify with the Government of Gibraltar how those two issues will be appropriately dealt with.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 24 not moved.]

Clause 21, as amended, agreed to.

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