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Agriculture Bill's criminal offences creation “constitutionally unacceptable” – Lords committee

Peers have voiced concerns about the creation of new criminal offences in the Agriculture Bill currently going through Parliament.

In a report published today (23 June), the House of Lords Constitution Committee warns that using delegated powers to create criminal offences is “in general constitutionally unacceptable”.
The committee also believes that disputes between the UK and devolved governments are “increasingly likely” especially in relation to future international trade agreements.
If the UK Government had to exercise its ultimate ‘backstop' to ensure that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland complied with international obligations, this would “indicate that inter-governmental relations had reached a low ebb”.
Peers want the Government to update Parliament on how the issue of overlapping competences within the Agriculture Bill is being managed in negotiation with the devolved administrations.
Overall the committee welcomed changes to the Bill, due to reach its next stage of scrutiny in the House of Lords early next month, as “evidence of the valuable effect that parliamentary scrutiny has on legislation and how constructive engagement by the Government can result in better law.”
Read the report.

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