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I hope noble Lords will agree that in the course of our deliberations on Report I have made it clear that the Government will do all we can to keep your Lordships’ House and the other place informed of the discussions on implementation, and therefore this amendment could only duplicate what is already being provided by the Government. On that basis, I hope the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment.

Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, I will straight away agree heartily that the Minister has done enormous amounts—staggering amounts, in fact, considering that she had a quick flit to Peru in the middle of it—to keep us informed on the meanings of the treaty and the Bill and on the issues she has encountered on the way in Brussels, and so on. There will be more to be kept informed about, both in this House and in the other place. Not all is clear. As the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford, who is immensely experienced in this area, rightly said, there is not enough explanation about who does what. That is just a small consideration.



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Sadly, the noble Lord Wedderburn, cannot take part in these debates because he is not well, but he reminded us earlier that the appointments of presidents and so on are serious matters. We may be setting in train areas of expansion of powers that are a zero sum, in the sense that powers taken in those sorts of areas can be powers lost in others. In many areas, the Lord Watson dictum—that it is not a zero sum—is correct, but in these areas it could be wrong.

The noble Lord, Lord Anderson, is also very experienced in foreign affairs and had 10 years’ command of the Foreign Affairs Committee. I think he followed me in that role. It is a splendid committee; he knows a lot about it, and he says it is all a journey. It certainly is, in the Foreign Affairs Committee—a lot of journeying takes place. All I would say about the journey we have had with the Bill in Committee and on Report is that it is rather like travelling on one of our older motorways. There seem to be a lot of road repairs and a lot of traffic jams. We are clearly going to have to do a lot more waiting before these things become clear.

The noble Lord, Lord Anderson, said that these matters are all small details—but he will not have forgotten where the devil resides. There are many issues here that we have to be clearer about before one can be entirely happy that the proper role of parliamentary control is being fulfilled in satisfactory ways and we are not once again parked on a bypass while the traffic of legislation and the redistribution of powers rolls by.

It was said—again, perhaps, by the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford—that we should all be happy about the treaty because we wish the EU to do certain things. Indeed we do, and we have legitimate arguments about the ways in which they should be done: how much legislation is needed, how much centralisation and harmonisation, how much variety and diversification. We all want the UN to do things as well, and I personally want the Commonwealth to do things. We want NATO, which obviously needs to adjust to the 21st century, to do things; many of the things it did in the past century will have to be done in quite a different way in the present century.

We have had a wonderful contribution from the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York. It is marvellous that he should have the time to be with us this evening, right at the end of Report. He is with us, but he is not quite with me, on a rather central point: that this legislation is not like other legislation. It does not end up with the difficulties sorted out in our courts. Rather, those difficulties are sorted out in the supreme court, which all our lawyers have told us again and again is the European Court of Justice, whose powers, and the extent of those powers, are vastly increased by the treaty. All are agreed on that; no one has disputed that the extension of ECJ sovereignty, as it were—or at least of its powers and influence over the so-called Third Pillar issues with the exception of CFSP, although certainly intruding into aspects of foreign policy in different ways, as most people have agreed—is an important constitutional change. It takes our affairs into the hands of the European Court of Justice in a way that we did not always expect.



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The Archbishop of York: My Lords, does the noble Lord accept that the European Court of Justice uses the same standard of proof, arguments and decisions as our own courts? Why can it not uphold the same level of judiciary rights as we have in this country?

Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, this is the last moment when we want to get into any kind of detail, but it is simply because it can strike down the UK law. The judges in our courts are governed by the will and laws of our Parliament; the European Court of Justice is governed by the constitutional laws and principles of the European Union, which are evolving. It is a very different story, but that is surely a debate for another day.

Lord Kinnock: My Lords, the noble Lord is—I am sure, inadvertently—being slightly misleading, because the only UK and other member-state laws that can be struck down by the European Court of Justice are those which are proven to be at variance with the treaty to which this democracy and 26 others have set their hand. That has been the case in all the areas of competence of the European Court of Justice ever since it was established. Throughout the years when the noble Lord’s party was in government, there were divergences, but the court was never accused of unconstitutional presence, which is what he is accusing it of now.



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Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, I did not say “unconstitutional”, but the noble Lord is absolutely right at this late stage to confirm the point—the devil is in the detail. He was right to correct me. I should have added the qualifying phrase “in those areas in which the ECJ has recognised judicial jurisdiction and where UK laws conflict with that of the EU, it can strike them down”. But that is a limited area; it is not the entire area. It is perfectly right that not all UK laws can be struck down.

That was the conclusion of my remarks and the conclusion, I suspect, of Report, because I am about to do the decent thing and withdraw the amendment. I hope that this has not been for too many of your Lordships too tedious a process. I have found it instructive and—dare I say it?—even entertaining at times. It has been very challenging and has raised major issues about this nation, its Parliament, its parliamentary democracy and our position in the world for the future, to which I think we will return again and again. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 32 not moved.]

St Austell Market Bill

The Bill was reported from the Unopposed Bill Committee without amendment.


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