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Lords check of internal market bill continues

27 October 2020

EU and UK flags

The House of Lords continues committee stage, line by line examination, of the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill on Wednesday 28 October.

Nearly 200 amendments (changes) are down for consideration (PDF). Subjects include the role of the Scottish government, the Welsh government and the Northern Ireland executive, common frameworks, the Northern Ireland Protocol and the Good Friday Agreement. 

On the second day of committee stage, members will continue to debate these proposed amendments to the bill, with consulation of devolved administrations and the powers of ministers to vary aspects of the billl on the agenda.

Committee stage day one - Monday 26 October

On day one of committee stage, members discussed consumer and environmental protection, the Northern Ireland protocol and Good Friday Agreement, and common frameworks between the devolved UK governments.

Main debate on the bill

Rule of law

The rule of law dominated the second reading debate on Monday 19 October. Many members argued that the principle of upholding the law is fundamental.

Vote on Lord Judge's amendment

Lord Judge, Convenor of the Crossbench Peers, put forward a change to amend the wording of the debate motion to state the bill would undermine the rule of law and damage the UK’s reputation. He highlighted that Parliament – responsible for making the law and a body which expects people to obey the laws it makes – would be knowingly granting power to the government to break the law.

The House of Lords voted 395 for and 169 against Lord Judge's amendment, so the change to the debate motion was made. 

UK Union

Members from across the UK expressed concern about the future of the Union and the way the bill would restrict the existing powers of the devolved administrations.

Members

Nearly 70 members took part, including a former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The collective experience of the speakers covers major public offices: 16 former secretaries of state and ministers, three former law lords and supreme court justices and a former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, four former civil service permanent secretaries, two former Lord Chancellors, two former leaders of the main political parties and two former Speakers of the Commons and the Lords.

Baroness Hayman of Ullock (Labour) and Lord Sarfraz (Conservative) made their maiden speeches.

Committee reports

Members referred to the Constitution Committee and EU Committee reports on the bill throughout the debate. The reports call for the government to remove provisions breaching the UK’s international law obligations and the Withdrawal Agreement.

United Kingdom Internal Market Bill

The UK Internal Market Bill makes provision for the UK’s single market and seeks to provide access for Northern Ireland goods to the market in Great Britain. It contains ministerial powers to change the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Read the Lords Library briefing on the bill.

Further scrutiny

Detailed examination of the text and further scrutiny takes place throughout October and November.

Committee stage

  • Monday 26 October
  • Wednesday 28 October
  • Monday 2 November
  • Wednesday 4 November

Report stage (provisional)

  • Monday 16 November
  • Wednesday 18 November
  • Monday 23 November