Trade Bill in its final stage
The Trade Bill is continuing its passage through the House of Lords and is in its final stage before it becomes law — Parliamentary Ping Pong — where the Bill goes between the House of Commons and House of Lords as MPs and Peers compromise on the wording of amendments and agree on the contents of the Bill. Last week was its second Lords Ping Pong with further amendments on scrutiny and standards tabled by peers.
Peers have been active at every stage of the Bill and, among other things, have voiced concerns that the Bill as it was introduced lacked provisions for adequate parliamentary scrutiny and that provisions introduced in any new trade deal must be consistent with current domestic standards of environmental protection, animal welfare and the protection of human, animal or plant life or health. After many hours of debate and insistence by Peers, earlier this month the Government tabled its own standards amendment which proposes consistency with existing environmental and other standards. However, Peers were concerned that this only applies to "rollover" deals (agreements already signed by the UK when it was part of the EU) and would not apply to new trade deals, and tabled a further standards amendment to apply to future trade deals.
The debate continued on provisions for parliamentary scrutiny of prospective trade deals, and although the Government did not accept the proposed scrutiny amendment in the name of Lord Lansley (1D) the Minister, Lord Grimstone of Boscobel, did give verbal assurances to Peers that the Government would provide parliamentary time to debate any future trade deal if this was called for by the Lords International Agreements Committee or the Commons International Trade Committee.
Find out more about the Trade Bill and the amendments and debates at different stages here.