EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Lord Lansley

Lord Lansley

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, and his focus on science as vital to our future is commendable. I am also pleased to welcome my noble friend Lord Wharton of Yarm. We look forward to his contributions, not least in promoting the interests of the north of England. I draw attention to my interests as recorded in the register.

In opening, the Minister said that the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 enabled the provisional application of the deal. The agreement was signed on 30 December, it is implemented in our domestic legislation, and has been provisionally applied by both parties. But it has not yet been ratified. The European Union has allowed two months for the European Parliament to debate the agreement prior to ratification. This Parliament could have completed CRaG scrutiny in that time as well. But Section 36 of the future relationship Act disapplied CRaG parliamentary scrutiny of these agreements. This was not necessary and is highly regrettable. Listening to this debate has shown that there are many issues relating to implementation and unfinished business arising from these agreements. It tells me that our European affairs committee should none the less proceed with detailed scrutiny of the TCA and I call on the Government to co-operate fully in that, and to facilitate debate on such a report in parallel with the European Parliament.

I add one question of my own. Talking about integrated supply chains, the food and drink sector says that where EU-finished goods are brought to GB hubs and then re-exported to the EU, the rules of origin mean they are subject to the EU’s common external tariff. This is potentially very destructive and damaging to integrated supply chains. The sector thinks it was not intended on either side. Can the Minister say that it can be resolved?