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Lord Blackwell: This is an important point. It is important that we are clear on it. As my noble friend was saying, the difference here is that where, on a particular policy, which may be covered by a particular treaty, a Government may change their mind and take the consequences, in this case, the only way you can change your policy position is by repudiating the

6 May 2008 : Column 496

whole of the European treaty. There is no single treaty or policy around Kosovo or anything else with which we can associate ourselves. If the EU has a position to which we our bound, the only treaty we have to repudiate is the EU treaty.

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The noble Lord has completely missed the point I was trying to make. It was that Governments have a long tradition of being bound by the international agreements that they sign and that incoming Governments who wish to renegotiate them can do so. However, they do not come in on the assumption that the treaty, or whatever, is ripped up. I think that I have laboured that point long enough. Members of the Committee either agree with me or disagree, but that is the point I want to make.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: The point that the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, was making was important. If there is a change of Government who have previously disagreed with a policy that is subsequently agreed by the EU through the various parts of the treaty, do they then not become part of the acquis communautaire, which cannot be renegotiated away?

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: If we get into the acquis communautaire, we could be here for a very long time. I was trying to make the point that there is a legal effect in treaties, UN Security Council decisions, and decisions that come under common foreign and security policy. The legal effect is that they bind us, which is why we sign them. We do not have to, but if we choose to do so, we are bound by them. The long tradition—long before the EU, going back centuries—has been that if new Governments want to renegotiate that is their choice, but they are bound by the treaties when they come into power. No one has yet said anything to suggest that I am wrong in that. That is the way it has been, and that is the way it is.

The noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, will know that there is an opportunity to renegotiate on the back of an election, with a manifesto in which specific things have been stated—for example, withdrawal from the European Union, which would be UKIP’s manifesto. If that party were elected, the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, were he Prime Minister, could seek to renegotiate. Under this treaty, of course, the opportunity exists to leave the European Union in a measured way—and I notice that the noble Lord has tabled an amendment to oppose that, although I am sure that it is not really for that. There is nothing to stop member states doing so. The point I am making is very straightforward. I am going to move on.

Amendment No. 15A talks about the laying of a statement. I have already explained—Members of the Committee accept the point or they do not—that there is nothing in the treaty which restricts the freedom of Her Majesty’s Government to act in the interests of the United Kingdom. The treaty does not change in any way the intergovernmental and consensus-based nature of common foreign and security policy. Member states are bound only where they have agreed policy in accordance with the provisions of the treaty. Agreement on CFSP remains by unanimity, and we will agree to it

6 May 2008 : Column 497

only where it is in our national interest. I therefore see no need to provide the undertaking that is requested in the amendment.

Amendment No. 111, to which the noble Lord, Lord Blackwell, spoke, appears to take as its premise the idea that the Lisbon treaty will undermine the independence of our UK foreign policy. Indeed, I think that that is probably the noble Lord’s position. It is clear that in the treaty the Government have successfully argued that the CFSP remains subject to rules and procedures that safeguard its separate character. Decision-making is on the basis of unanimity. It is a non-legislative policy area and the European Court of Justice does not have jurisdiction except in two specific limited areas: first, the boundary between that and other policies; and, secondly, that were there sanctions against the individual, the individual would have the right to go to the European Court of Justice. These can all be found in Article 24 of the treaty of the European Union.

In another place, the Foreign Affairs Committee said that the,

Our own Select Committee, which is much quoted with great respect, says:

the noble Lord, Lord Blackwell, was one of the “we”—

Indeed, Javier Solana, in my conversations with him in Brussels, was clear to me that the intergovernmental nature would not be undermined in any way shape or form by the treaty.

7.15 pm

On the ability to represent views at the United Nations, again the treaty is clear. The high representative for foreign affairs and security policy will be able to put forward agreed EU positions, but there is nothing new in that. The rotating presidency and the current high representative already present agreed EU positions to the Council. It is clearly in our interests that when we have agreed an EU position, we make it clear to interested parties, of which the UN Security Council would be one, that it has the backing of all 27 member states. But that has not and will not change our role and responsibility at the UN as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. That is made explicit in the treaty at Article 34 TEU, and underlined in Declaration 14 of the treaty, which I shall not repeat.

I turn to the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Lamont. We look forward to further discussion on whether passerelles could lead to QMV in foreign

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policy. The condition that would have to be met under the treaty for that would be that all 27 member states decided to do it. In addition, both Houses of Parliament in this country would have to agree it. Each House has a veto. Any decision to trigger the passerelle provision which allows moves to QMV in common foreign and security policy—

Lord Lamont of Lerwick: Would that be by primary legislation?

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: It would not be by separate primary legislation because under the provisions relating to the decision to trigger, both Houses of Parliament would have to debate, vote and agree. Each House has a veto. But national Parliaments have to agree—that means that every national Parliament has to agree—so that if there were any attempt to move to QMV under CFSP, it would have to be agreed by every one of the 27 national Parliaments. In our case, and in other bicameral systems, both Houses of Parliament would have to agree. If anyone does not agree, that is a veto. Perhaps I may also be clear that you cannot use a passerelle clause for issues that have any kind of military implications, or in the area of defence. They cannot go to qualified majority voting.

Let me speed on to Amendment No. 113, which we have partly dealt with in our discussions on international treaties. The noble Lord spoke eloquently particularly about his time during the Falklands War and discussions in the European Union. Of course, his noble friend Lord Tugendhat may have a slightly different emphasis of memory on what happened, but I am not going there—I know better than to tread in that territory. I have made it clear that we are bound by decisions with which we agreed. It is as simple as that.

Amendment No. 165 would require that we renegotiate everything.

I have tried to set out as far as I can why I think the moves in this treaty are of great benefit. I said when I began that it was about building on the experience of member states. If we rewind to the beginning of our deliberations on the purpose of the Lisbon treaty, it is in part to recognise that we are 27 strong and potentially growing a little, if not much, further. We want to ensure that we have a treaty that takes us into the next steps of working together, and this is but one part of that. The proposals, while retaining the unanimity which is so important, and retaining our independent action, will enable us to collaborate where that is important. As many noble Lords have spoken so eloquently about the need for collaboration in today’s and tomorrow’s world, I think that the case is made. I hope that on that basis the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment.

Lord Howell of Guildford: This debate has elicited contributions of staggering authority that I have felt privileged to listen to and that have almost compensated for missing the nicest day of the year outside. I assure the noble Baroness that being a novice in the establishment of British foreign policy is no bad thing—on the contrary, it could bring fresh light to a rather messy situation.



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I do not have time to answer all these superb insights. I am sorry that I shocked the noble Lord, Lord Ashdown, who has been so effective on the world stage. Of course we want a more effective foreign policy—any suggestion to the contrary would be ridiculous. The question concerns what kind of tools we use and how we use them in a constantly changing, sometimes near-anarchic international situation. Of course I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, that there are situations when it would be wonderful, indeed essential, to have a common 27-state agreed foreign policy going through all the procedures laid down in this treaty, and indeed other procedures as well. That is what we must work for. Call that “collaboration” if you like—call it “co-operation”, call it “intimate collaboration”. Certainly, let us do whatever we can and whatever is practical and prompt in the search for genuine consensus. As the noble Lord, Lord Owen, reminded us, let it be genuine and not a consensus that has to be agreed because the procedures so insist.

The central question has been why, and to what extent, we need to be locked into a straitjacket from which, as we have heard, there may in some circumstances be no escape. That is the question rightly asked by the Government all through the negotiations on this and the previous, near-identical treaty. The Government have sought to answer it by trying to ensure that foreign policy is locked into the intergovernmental system—there it is in the Bill—and that our freedoms are protected; perhaps not all the time, but at least in the last resort. As my noble friend Lord Tugendhat said, in a very profound speech, we could face all kinds of unexpected situations—who knows? We are told nowadays that the fashionable phrase is “black swans”—unexpected things that happen. Are we geared up and flexible enough to deal with these things, or have we tied ourselves down? That has been the debate and one is left with an uneasy feeling of uncertainty about the degree to which the Government have succeeded in these matters.

We believe that we must maintain the distinction between, on the one hand, practical togetherness in common foreign policy—and flexibility about how we approach that togetherness—and, on the other hand, codified top-down procedures in a single legal pattern. That is the aim—that is what the Government were trying to do and that is what we believe is still in doubt in this treaty, despite all their efforts. At least let us close our discussion of this stage. We argue in Amendment No. 15A, for instance, which the noble Baroness mentioned, that the Secretary of State, before the coming into force of the treaty, should assure the House in a statement that,

That is a very modest amendment. It is not a treaty-wrecker, so the Liberal Democrats need not worry. It is well within our powers to propose such an improvement and reassurance on this central issue of our sovereignty, direction, purpose and national identity. It is a modest amendment behind which lies a mighty principle. I

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would like to test the opinion of the House on Amendment No. 15A. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 13A.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 14 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 15 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Lord Howell of Guildford moved Amendment No. 15A:

“(i) Article 1, paragraph 35(b), amending Article 16 TEU, unless before the coming into force of this Act the Secretary of State has laid a statement before both Houses of Parliament giving an undertaking that—(a) he will uphold the freedom of Her Majesty’s Government to undertake any action on the international scene that he perceives to be in the interests of the United Kingdom without consulting the European Council if he thinks that the security interests of the United Kingdom so require, and(b) each of his successors as Secretary of State will be required to lay a similar undertaking before Parliament within fourteen days of his coming into office; and(ii) ”

The noble Lord said: I wish to test the opinion of the House. I beg to move.

7.25 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 15A) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 65; Not-Contents, 170.


Division No. 1


CONTENTS

Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B. [Teller]
Ashcroft, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Best, L.
Blackwell, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Byford, B.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cathcart, E.
Chester, Bp.
Colwyn, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Cumberlege, B.
De Mauley, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dundee, E.
Eden of Winton, L.
Fookes, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hanningfield, L.
Howard of Rising, L.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
James of Blackheath, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Monson, L.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Sheikh, L.
Shephard of Northwold, B.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Tebbit, L.
Trenchard, V.


6 May 2008 : Column 501

Trimble, L.
Ullswater, V.
Verma, B.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.

NOT CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Adams of Craigielea, B.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Alli, L.
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Armstrong of Ilminster, L.
Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B. [Lord President.]
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bilston, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Boothroyd, B.
Borrie, L.
Boyd of Duncansby, L.
Bradley, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Chidgey, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Corston, B.
Cotter, L.
Crawley, B.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dearing, L.
Dholakia, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dubs, L.
Dykes, L.
Elder, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falkland, V.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Ford, B.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hannay of Chiswick, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haworth, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Joffe, L.
Jones, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jones of Whitchurch, B.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kerr of Kinlochard, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kinnock, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Leitch, L.
Lipsey, L.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Ludford, B.
McDonagh, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Handsworth, L.
Neuberger, B.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Quin, B.
Radice, L.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Robertson of Port Ellen, L.
Rogan, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowe-Beddoe, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B. [Teller]
Sandwich, E.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.


6 May 2008 : Column 502

Simon, V.
Smith of Finsbury, L.
Snape, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Teverson, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Tugendhat, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Tyler, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Whitaker, B.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Winston, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

7.35 pm

Lord Bach: I beg to move that the House be resumed. In moving the Motion, I suggest that the Committee stage begin again not before 8.35 pm.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

Tourism: London

7.36 pm

Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the value of the hospitality and tourist industry to the economy of London.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, it is a gloriously opportune date on which to congratulate the new Mayor of London and to tell him that we expect his policies and his actions to make London an even better city to visit than it is now. He will be judged by residents on results and on the way in which lives are improved. Tourism is a huge source of revenue for London and all residents here, even if they get disgruntled sometimes when crowds of visitors make life slower for them. We must value the contribution that tourism and the money that it produces make to London’s amenities. London’s visitor economy—overseas and domestic—totalled £10.9 billion in 2007.

I came to London as a visitor in the 1950s, planning to spend six months in the UK and mainland Europe before returning to Australia; I am still here half a century later. As a keen tourist myself, I have a list of things that I believe most tourists seek: first, personal security; secondly, an interesting place to visit; thirdly, a welcome arrival; fourthly, good value for money; fifthly, special events; sixthly, permanent attractions; seventhly, accommodation at all price levels; eighthly, good local transport; ninthly, clear instructions; 10thly, that a place be child-friendly; and finally, that it be disability-friendly. Some of those items go together, but I intend to outline each one separately, as they are all important.

I put personal security as the top priority. Tourists will not visit if they believe that their lives are at risk. That does not mean that a country has to be on a list

6 May 2008 : Column 503

that you are officially advised against visiting; bad publicity and a perception of danger are enough to put people off. London has survived the terrorist attacks, but it is essential that the new mayor creates a safer London.


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