Urgent Question from Sir William Cash on the Government’s proposals for the implementation of their policy on leaving the European Union. You can watch Sir William Cash here.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con) (Urgent Question): To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union if he will make a statement on the Government’s proposals for the implementation of their policy on leaving the European Union. ...continue reading

The House of Commons approved yesterday the EU (Withdrawal) Bill by 324 votes to 295 - a majority of 29. The Bill will now pass to the House of Lords. During the debate, Sir William Cash made the following interventions: ...continue reading

Sir William Cash made the following intervention during the debate on the first day of the EU Withdrawal Bill's report stage:

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The Solicitor General: The position that my right hon. and learned Friend took on the charter back in 2007 is the right one. As I was saying, it is in the interests of maintaining the rule of law that we maintain clarity, consistency and a clear authoritative source for those rights. My genuine concern about the importation of this particular charter into our domestic law is that we will sow confusion. That is not good for the maintenance of the rule of law, for the citizens of our country, for the future development of the law or for the position of this place vis-à-vis that development.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): I entirely endorse what my hon. and learned Friend is saying, not least because of the acquis itself. Secondly, there are the adjudications under the European Court itself. Thirdly, the charter is like a legal ectoplasm: it seeps into everything. There is no way in which we would ever be able to extract ourselves from the entirety of the provisions in perpetuity.

The Solicitor General: I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who raises a genuine concern about the impact of protocol 30. Many Opposition Members were here 10 years ago; they were anxious then to make sure that the protocol was included in the Lisbon treaty. They are now happy to resile from that position and take an entirely different view. I take great issue with that: the legal principles were the same then as now. Nothing has really changed about the potential force of the charter, so I am rather bemused to hear about that volte-face on the part of many Opposition Members.

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There has been widespread coverage of a leaked document that toughens the EU position on the negotiations. According to various newspapers The Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, Politico, the EU is demanding in the new draft negotiating directives further concessions from the UK in exchange for a transition period. It seems the EU is negotiating in bath faith as it is seeking to revise the terms of the Phase 1 divorce agreement which were agreed one month ago.

  • Brussels wants to delay the end of freedom of movement between the EU27 and UK by extending the deadline by which EU citizens living in Britain can claim a special residency status to the end of the transition, 31 December 2020. Hence, free movement rights and a special status would be extended to all EU citizens arriving in the UK before the final day of the transition at the end of 2020. Consequently, the UK would not be able to introduce new immigration controls on EU migrants before 2021.
  • The EU-27 is also planning to demand stricter terms on trade agreements namely requiring the UK to seek authorisation from the EU  to enter new trade agreements. It states  that  “During the transition period, the United Kingdom may not become bound by international agreements entered into in its own capacity in the fields of competence of Union law, unless authorised to do so by the Union.” To sum up, “The United Kingdom should continue to comply with the Union trade policy,”.
  • The EU-27 is also planning to demand stricter terms on fishing rights.  The new text said there would be “specific consultations” over fishing during the transition period but no procedure to negotiate the total catch allowed in British waters. Yet the text says there should only be “specific consultations” about fishing during the transition period, which remain “in full respect” of EU law.
  • It also makes clear that the legal effect of EU law will be the same on Britain as any other EU member state during the transition period. It states that  “the direct effect and primacy of union law should be preserved,” It also stresses that “The jurisdiction of the court of justice of the EU (and the supervisory role of the commission) should be maintained. Those rights should be protected as directly enforceable vested rights for the lifetime of those concerned.”

The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill passed its second reading yesterday. During the debate Sir Sir William Cash made the following interventions:

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mel Stride): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The Government have been clear that in leaving the European Union the UK will also leave its customs union, allowing us to establish and enhance our trading relationships with old allies and new friends around the world. Further to that, the Government have previously set out that in leaving the EU customs union and exercising the powers in this Bill, we will be guided by what delivers the greatest economic advantage to the United Kingdom and by three strategic objectives.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): Before my right hon. Friend gets deep into his analysis, may I ask him about the expression “a customs union” in clause 31, which, according to the explanatory notes, clearly includes the EU itself? Will he be kind enough to tell me, either now or later in his speech, what the distinction is between the customs union and other kinds of customs union mentioned in clause 31?

Mel Stride: Clause 31 makes provision for this country to enter into a customs union with another territory. That territory could be the existing customs union of the European Union after we have left the European Union, or it could be another territory separate from it. As he will know, such a move would be subject to a treaty and would not be entered into until a draft statutory instrument had been laid before the House and approved under the affirmative procedure, and then subsequently approved by Her Majesty as an Order in Council.

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Sir William Cash: I mention this only because of the very articulate response that my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham). The Bill refers to Orders in Council, which the Financial Secretary has mentioned, and also includes the words “despite any enactment”. Could that include the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, when it has been enacted? Could it also include any other transitional arrangements under a further enactment? The words “despite any enactment” are very dramatic.

Mel Stride: I think it is clause 32 that sets out the basis on which the powers will be dealt with. The Bill is extremely clear that any treaty between ourselves, as a customs union, and another territory or customs union must be subject to a draft affirmative statutory instrument. Having been laid, such an instrument would not come into effect immediately, but only when Parliament—or, specifically, the House of Commons—had considered and passed it. At that point, and only at that point, would an Order in Council follow, which would effectively bring the will of the House into law.

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Bill read a Second time.

Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill (Programme)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Taxation (Cross-Border) Trade Bill:

Committal

(1) The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

(2) Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Thursday 1 February 2018.

(3) The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

Proceedings on Consideration and up to and including Third Reading

(4) Proceedings on Consideration and any proceedings in legislative grand committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.

(5) Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption that day.

(6) Standing Order No. 83B (programming sub-committees) shall not apply to proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.—(Andrew Stephenson.)

Question agreed to.