John Redwood seems to be a reborn federalist. Maybe it could be a new solo career, now that the band is at the end of its tour. I would gladly join him in further decentralisation and the application of federalism in the United Kingdom if he wants to do so. However, he should be concerned because parliamentary sovereignty is not restored by the clause or the bill as a whole. The next step is to start negotiations on the future relationship between Britain and the EU. These are not expected to start until March and the EU does not believe that an ambitious and comprehensive agreement will be possible before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. The withdrawal agreement provides for an extension of the transitional period, but it must be agreed until 1 July 2020. The UK government has stated that it will not seek to extend it and the WAA contains provisions that would make the UK illegal (although parliamentary sovereignty means that the government, if it wanted to overturn the ban, could do so easily). This amendment would ensure that existing and future primary laws, Section 7A, etc., of the European Union Exit Act (2018 Withdrawal Act) would be invalidated despite the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty.
The gentleman is very generous in yielding; I`m grateful for that. Of course, a trade agreement requires a dispute settlement mechanism and we currently have the European Court of Justice. If there is a trade agreement with the United States, the dispute settlement mechanism will give sovereignty and we will come back to the first place. As the minister pointed out, Amendment 11 is an exploratory amendment. We have looked at the concept of sovereignty at length, which is why I am calling for the amendment to be withdrawn. The European Union Bill (Withdrawal Agreement) is a very complex bill. It interacts with the draft (revised) EU withdrawal agreement, existing domestic law, in particular the European Communities Act 1972 and the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, as well as a set of UK constitutional principles. It will have a significant impact on the definition of the nature of the transition period (called the “implementation period” in the bill) after the UK`s withdrawal from the EU and will strengthen the wider and ongoing agreement on the future rights of EU citizens in the UK. I think the fact is that sovereignty is about our ability to legislate here without intimidation or interference, but that we could end up outside the EU and that, for example, we would no longer be able to introduce a sugar tax that would reduce the cost of obesity for the NHS.
We could have a situation where we want people to know that there are six teaspoons of sugar in a light yoghurt miller and 9 in a Coca-Cola, and we want to reduce the sugar content to reduce diabetes and health costs. Instead, we could be fined because a manufacturer`s projection of a sugar-infused product was less. It is not sovereignty. If we cannot protect our environment, our public health and our trade, because we will ultimately be with those companies that are suing us through the arbitration tribunals, that is not sovereignty. This clause should therefore be removed because it is totally misleading. Will my friend Hon tell me what definition of sovereignty does he use? It`s completely disturbing. I just checked, and the normal definition is still a novelty in the bill, but maybe not in the way we expected. There is no sign of an “additional procedural step” before the EU law (withdrawal agreement) can be repealed, as proposed in the previous government`s White Paper on the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement legislation (Cm 9674, paragraph 46, d), in order to strengthen the protection of the Citizens` Rights Agreement reached in July 2018.