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Lords criticise Foreign Office and the Department for Transport for failing to provide sufficient information to explain their statutory instruments

Sub-Committee A of the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has today published a report commenting on the quality of the supporting information provided by the FCO and the Department for Transport (DfT) to explain the impact of two pieces of contingency legislation which will come into effect in the event of ‘no deal'.

On the face of it the draft Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 simply makes technical amendments to the existing Certification Scheme to ensure that “conflict diamonds” are not traded. The Scheme ensures that all diamonds come from a legitimate source and do not raise funds to fuel violence in Africa.  However, if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 without a deal, UK membership of the Scheme will lapse until it becomes a Scheme Participant in its own right. Until such time, UK trade in rough diamonds would be frozen for what could be some months. The Sub-Committee's report includes this additional information on the potential consequences. But the Sub-Committee felt that it should have been included in the instrument's Explanatory Memorandum in the first place. 

Similarly, the DfT laid two instruments: Draft Motor Vehicles (International Circulation) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Order 2019 and International Driving Permits (Fees) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. In the event of a ‘no deal', these permits, issued under the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, would be required to enable UK motorists to be able to drive in Europe. The Committee were disappointed that the accompanying information did not clearly explain the effect of the changes and will ask the DfT to revise the Explanatory Memorandums accordingly.

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