Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley:

    It is a great privilege to follow the noble Lord, Lord Empey, and I follow him in the spirit of the issues he has raised. Can the Minister explain how certification and labelling will affect trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland? Let us suppose that a supermarket sources foods within Great Britain for distribution throughout the United Kingdom, including to its stores in Northern Ireland. Surely it would be onerous, if not impossible, for the supermarket and its suppliers to have two varieties of goods, one labelled “UK CA” and the other “CE”. Who will enforce the labelling requirement on goods from Great Britain going to Northern Ireland and where will that be enforced? If it is not going to be enforced at the ports of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—and we have had assurances that it will not be—it must be enforced within Northern Ireland, presumably by trading officers, in practice, when goods are brought to their attention either by a retailer or a customer. If that is possible, why cannot Northern Ireland have the same labelling requirements as us and any enforcement on goods that filter over the border to Ireland be enforced within Ireland by its trading officers, having had the goods brought to their attention by their customers and retailers without any border controls? I simply do not understand why we have got ourselves into this invidious position.

    Finally, since my time is running out, I ask my noble friend to imagine what would be the situation in the United States if Alaska had to adopt Canadian rules because tribes crossing the border insisted on that, so that any goods moving from the 48 states to Alaska would have to go through a different regulatory process. Likewise, what would happen in France if goods coming from the Hexagon had to have different rules and regulations on labelling from those in Corsica, or in Italy, if goods sold legally on the mainland could not be sold in Sicily? None of them would accept that. Are British Ministers making these points in the Joint Committee and elsewhere to our partners in Europe, and in Congress to Speaker Pelosi?