EHRC Trade Bill briefing - House of Lords Report Stage - 06.03.19

Posted On: 
5th March 2019

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced a briefing for Lords Report Stage of the Trade Bill.

The purpose of the Trade Bill is to ‘roll over’ existing trade agreements that the EU already has in place with other countries. It provides for ministers to make regulations to amend primary legislation that is retained EU law when seeking to incorporate the terms of re-negotiated trade deals into UK law, to replace existing EU trade deals that the UK will no longer be a party to after Brexit. The Commission’s priorities in relation to this Bill are:
 
Ensuring that there is no weakening of the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework as we leave the EU
Ensuring the UK remains a global leader on equality and human rights after leaving the EU.
 
In our briefing we support the Government’s amendment, in the name of Baroness Fairhead, after Clause 6 on a ‘Statement on equalities legislation’. This amendment requires a ministerial statement to be made setting out any changes to equality legislation resulting from regulations made under the Bill; this helps to avoid any reduction in equality laws by increasing transparency and supporting parliamentary scrutiny of the use of delegated powers. We also support the amendment tabled by Baroness Jones, Lord Stevenson and Baroness Henig, which prevents delegated powers under the Bill from being used to reduce, amongst other things, human rights standards. Finally, we support the New Clause in the name of Lord Stevenson, which requires that any trade agreement under this Bill must comply with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
 
The full briefing can be found here