Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley:

    My Lords, I recall that when I went to Brussels as a Treasury Minister or as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, my brief to discuss forthcoming legislation and regulations invariably said, “Minister, we don’t really want this, but we can’t stop it. Could you try to seek at least one or two of the following half dozen amendments to it?” If we did achieve one or two, that was counted as a great triumph. Will my noble friend insist that departments go back to the briefs that were given to Ministers at the time the regulations went through and look for the changes that we wanted to secure but did not at the time? Will he also reflect on the irony of the Liberal Democrats complaining that secondary legislation will be used to change some of the regulations we inherited, given that they were all introduced under secondary legislation, which gave no option for Parliament to reject them at all?

    Finally, since there is time for me to go on, will my noble friend reflect on the fact that the one thing we could do in the past was to gold-plate regulations, which we did? I pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Hailsham, on the privy counsellors’ Bench, who introduced a system to try to limit gold-plating of regulations when we implemented those of the EU. Will my noble friend the Minister make sure that when we modify these regulations, we do not succumb again to the temptation to gold-plate them and that we go back to the Hailsham dashboard—it was called something like that—to make sure that we do not make them more regulatory, rather than less?

    Lord True:

    My Lords, a lot was wrapped up in there. I agree with what my noble friend said at the end and with his tribute to my noble friend Lord Hailsham. There is an eternal tendency, partly because of some of the factors I referred to in my previous answer, to gold-plate and overregulate, and it constantly has to be held in check. Perhaps one of the many benefits of this exercise is that it is departments that will have to make the responses, take the work forward under the supervision of the Brexit Opportunities Unit and consider the kind of points that my noble friend makes.

    Finding the papers from the past is an interesting challenge. I am sure that most of those have now been publicly released. I read today that the papers of the Blair Government were being released by the National Archives, so I am sure that the briefs to my noble friend are available to all and sundry. Perhaps we should all go and have a look at them.

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