HC Deb 08 November 1999 vol 337 c838

Lords amendment: No. 8, in page 8, line 2, leave out from ("1991") to ("a") in line 3 and insert ("(in this Act referred to as "the 1991 Order") or orders or regulations made under it is (by virtue of Article 26(1A), (1B), (2), (3) or (3A) of that Order)")

Ms Quin

I beg to move, That this House agrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 9 to 11, 17, 18, 20, 24, 27, 30, 32, 33, 35, 36, 40, 41, 45, 47 and 48.

Ms Quin

The amendment, and the others in the group, are all technical drafting amendments which deal with Northern Ireland aspects of the Bill.

The Bill has been passing through Parliament at a time of considerable uncertainty over the future of the devolution settlement in Northern Ireland. As the agency will operate in Northern Ireland, it is important that we review the text of the Bill at the latest possible moment to ensure that the references to Northern Ireland are all correct. That is why the Government made these changes in the House of Lords, which were accepted.

One important amendment in the group is No. 35, which ensures that the powers will take proper effect—both under the existing transferred power, and afterwards, once the devolution settlement has come into force and the Northern Ireland First Minister and Deputy First Minister have taken up their powers. Most of the other amendments are minor drafting points that clarify the references to Northern Ireland legislation.

The amendments to the schedules make changes to Northern Ireland legislation to parallel proposed amendments to existing Great Britain legislation which are already contained in the schedules to the Bill. In particular, the Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 will be amended to parallel amendments to the Food Safety Act 1990, and the Genetically Modified Organisms (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 will be amended to reflect changes to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and to provide consistency.

Although the amendments include a lot of new text, they do nothing new in policy terms. They will simply make equivalent changes to Northern Ireland legislation. As a whole, therefore, they will ensure that, when the agency is established, there is a consistent legislative framework in place across the United Kingdom, regardless of whether the devolution settlement is fully in place.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 9 to 11 agreed to.

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