Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley:

    My Lords, very briefly, the case for what we are doing was put best by the noble Lord, Lord King, former Governor of the Bank of England. He said that there was a case for remaining in the EU to retain some influence, albeit small, over European legislation and there was a case for leaving to enable us to revise EU laws. There was no case for leaving and not using our opportunity to revise those laws.

    A paradox arose in previous stages whereby those who, apparently with no problems at all, had allowed laws to be passed with little or no say by Parliament for 44 years became, overnight, welcome champions of full parliamentary process. Those on the pro-Brexit side of the campaign found themselves in the difficult position of arguing for rather streamlined and inadequate processes of parliamentary scrutiny, partly because there was a trade-off: there was a case for taking more time to maximise the thoroughness of scrutiny and a case for seeking speedy completion of the process to minimise uncertainty.

    Amendment 2 gives us the opportunity for a degree of more thorough parliamentary scrutiny, which I think both sides welcome, but I would like an assurance from the Government that it will not prolong uncertainty for too long. The fewer the measures in the schedule, the more measures are outside it and could be liable to a process of reform or even removal over a longer period, therefore prolonging uncertainty. I would like to know before Wednesday why the some 2,000 laws that the Civil Service did not know existed have not been put in the schedule. If no one knew that they were there, what harm can there be in removing at least some of them?

    More seriously, part of the process of this Bill is surely to enable us to transform legislation that we retain on the statute book into a more common-law process, more suited to Britain and our procedures. I would like some assurance that that will happen and an explanation of why, given that in most common-law countries there is little or no product legislation—they must be of merchandisable quality, safe and not harmful, but the law does not specify how or why they are made, in the way that the EU rules that we inherited do, largely for protectionist reasons—there is no removal of product legislation in this schedule. Surely it would be possible and bring us into line with much of the world.