Government to announce key concession as Brexit bill enters House of Lords

Posted On: 
18th April 2018

Ministers will announce a climbdown over part of their flagship Brexit bill in a bid to head off a Lords rebellion, PoliticsHome has learned.

The EU Withdrawal Bill is being debated by the House of Lords.
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Peers will begin fresh scrutiny of the EU Withdrawal Bill - which seeks to transfer European law onto the UK statute book on the first day of Brexit - this afternoon.

A raft of amendments to the legislation have been tabled, with the Government braced for defeat in a number of areas.

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It has now emerged that ministers will agree to demands in one amendment in the name of crossbench peer Lord Patel calling for greater certainty that clinical trials will not be affected by Britain leaving the EU.

At the moment, medical experts fear that rules governing medical research - known as Clinical Trials Regulation (2014/536) - will cease to be effective unless action is taken to ensure it is covered by the bill.

Lord Patel's amendment, which has cross-party support, says the regulation must be "deemed to be operative immediately before exit day, and therefore it forms part of retained EU law".

It is understood that government ministers will give an assurance that the regulation will be transferred into UK law after Brexit, thereby ensuring vital research can still go ahead. In response, Lord Patel will withdraw his amendment.

A Lords source said: "It’s all ultimately about giving certainty to those in health sector who are planning clinical research."

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the EU said: "We have always said we are open to listen to expertise, be it from peers or MPs, and if we think the bill can be improved, we will move to do so. That will be the approach through the whole process."