Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad - Y Bumed Senedd
Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee - Fifth Senedd09/11/2020
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Carwyn Jones AS|
|Dai Lloyd AS|
|David Melding AS|
|Mick Antoniw AS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Gareth Howells||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|P Gareth Williams||Clerc|
|Sarah Sargent||Ail Glerc|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Cyfarfu'r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 10:00.
The committee met by video-conference.
The meeting began at 10:00.
I welcome Members to this week's virtual meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. In accordance with Standing Order 34.19, I've determined that the public are excluded from the meeting in order to protect public health. In accordance with Standing Order 34.21, notice of this decision was included in the published agenda for this meeting. The meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv and a Record of Proceedings will be published as usual. Aside from the procedural adaptation for conducting meetings remotely, all other Standing Order requirements remain in place. No apologies have been received for today's meeting. The usual housekeeping arrangements apply. Are there any declarations of interest? I don't see there are any declarations of interest.
In which case, we move straight on to the agenda and we move straight on to regulations laid for the purpose of sifting under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, in accordance with Standing Order 27.9A. We start with the pNeg(5)33, that is the Nutrition (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. These regulations make minor technical amendments to the Nutrition (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The explanatory memorandum states that the regulations do not make any policy changes and these regulations are not recommended for uplift to the affirmative procedure. Are there any comments or observations? I don't see any.
So, we move straight on to item 2.2, which is the Fisheries and Marine Management (Amendment) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, which make amendment to the Fisheries and Marine Management (Amendment) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. Are there any comments or observations from Members? I see there are none.
So, we move on to item 3. We're on to the Official Controls (Plant Health and Genetically Modified Organisms) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. These regulations amend the Official Controls (Plant Health and Genetically Modified Organisms) (Wales) Regulations 2020, which contain measures to prevent the introduction and spread of harmful plant pests and diseases. A merits point has been identified if I can go over to the lawyers now. Gareth.
There is one merits point on pack page 3, which notes that the plant health fees regulations are being amended and therefore there is a change to the fees regime, which is a reporting point under Standing Order 21.31. The draft report also notes that these regulations are within the sphere of EU law and they will form part of retained EU law at the end of the transition period.
Thank you, Gareth. Any comments or observations? I don't see any.
So, I then move on to item 3.2, which is the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 17) Regulations 2020. You have before you the report, the regulations, explanatory memorandum. There's a letter from the Trefnydd of 30 October and there's the written statement of 29 October. These regulations further amend the 2020 regulations that impose requirements on persons entering Wales after having been abroad. The regulations were made on 30 October, came into force on 1 November. It's over to you, Gareth.
There are three merits points starting on pack page 19, noting the Welsh Government's commentary on any potential interference with human rights, that there has been no formal consultation and a breach of the 21-day rule.
Okay, similar points to those that have been raised on previous similar regulations. Any comments or observations? I see there are none.
So, we move on to item 4, which is the Common Fisheries Policy (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2020. Again, you have the relevant papers before you. The statutory instrument consent memorandum relates to the Common Fisheries Policy (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2020. These were laid before the UK Parliament on 20 October 2020. The consent memorandum was laid before the Senedd by the Welsh Government on 27 October. The memorandum notes that the objective of the regulations is to ensure that the UK meets its obligations under the Ireland-Northern Ireland protocol. Members will note, of course, that the Minister has not stated whether or not she is minded to table a motion for debate. We do have some items of correspondence on this particular point later on, which we will deal with, so I just draw your attention to that now. Gareth, any comments?
No, nothing on these.
Any observations from Members? As I say, we will deal with those—the point with regard to the tabling of a motion for debate—under correspondence items later on.
We move on, then, to item 4.2, which is the European Union Withdrawal (Consequential Modifications) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. This statutory instrument consent memorandum relates to the European Union Withdrawal (Consequential Modifications) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. These were laid before the UK Parliament on 21 October 2020. The consent memorandum was laid before the Senedd by the Welsh Government on 2 November, and I think Members will recall that we considered a previous version of the consent memorandum at last week's meeting. That consent memorandum was withdrawn and replaced by the memorandum being considered today because the relevant regulations were withdrawn, revised and then relaid before the UK Parliament. So, the consent memorandum notes that the purpose of the regulations is to ensure that the UK statute book works coherently and effectively following the end of the transition period, and a consent motion is scheduled to be debated in Plenary on 17 November. It's worth noting, I think, within the papers, of course, that it involves amendment of the Interpretation Act 1978, amendment of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and also amends the Legislation (Wales) Act 2019. Gareth, over to you.
No, no comments on this.
Any comments or observations from Members?
We'll move on to the next item, which is the Common Organisation of the Markets in Agricultural Products (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. It's interesting here, there was a disagreement between the Welsh Government and the UK Government as to whether consent is required for these regulations, and the consent has not been sought by the UK Government. The Welsh Government is of the view that the regulations contain provisions that are within the scope of the Senedd legislative competence, and as such the related function should not be solely conferred on the Secretary of State. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs take the view that the amendments relate to reserved matters and intend to transfer various functions to the Secretary of State. I think the relevant section that we might be interested in is on pack page 112, which deals with the competence issues and of course noting that the Welsh Ministers have written to the UK Government and said that they will not grant unilateral consent. Gareth, over to you.
Only to add that this disagreement is, basically, continued disagreement. When these regulations were first made in time for the original exit day, there was disagreement then, and obviously the disagreement has not been settled. And it's also unclear to what extent the two Governments have worked together in the making of these regulations. The UK Government explanatory memorandum says that DEFRA has worked closely with the Welsh Government, but at the same time, the Welsh Government says it is not consenting to these regulations.
This highlights a point, doesn't it, that there's no mechanism for actually resolving this particular dispute? If I just ask Gareth, first of all—the consequence of Welsh Government not granting unilateral consent, what are the implications of that?
I think it's a purely inter-governmental political matter. There is no legal requirement for consenting these regulations.
Okay. Dai Lloyd.
Can I just check, are we talking about item 5.5 here?
Five point one.
Five point one. Oh, it's okay. I'm all right with this one, then. On 5.5 I've got a point.
Okay. Any other comments or observations on 5.1? Okay, I see there are none. I mean, I've made the point about this issue that we have commonly discussed, and that is the issue of disputes over competence, and that will emerge, I think, in some of the items later on that we'll be discussing.
If we move on to item 5.2, then, the Common Organisation of the Markets in Agricultural Products (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2020. We have the written statement and, of course, the commentary on that. The Welsh Government statement gives notification that it has consented to the making of these regulations. Any comments or observations?
These regulations also relate to the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products, but in this case the Welsh Government's written statement does not make reference to any disagreement or disputes around whether this area's devolved. If the committee's writing on the previous CMO regulations, it could at the same time possibly seek the Government's explanation as to why there's no disagreement on this second set of CMO regulations.
Yes, perhaps we can just take that as a matter of formality in correspondence, if that's okay. Is that agreed? Yes.
Okay, we then move on to the next item, 5.3, the Detergents (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Again, the Welsh Government statement gives notification it has consented to the making of these regulations. The statement notes that the amendments made by the regulations ensure that the United Kingdom meets its obligations under the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. Gareth.
No, no comments.
Any other comments or observations? In which case, we move on to item 5.4, the Animal Welfare and Invasive Non-native Species (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Again, the Welsh Government statement gives notification that it has consented to the making of these regulations. The regulations implement the Ireland/Northern Ireland protocol in relation to animal welfare, leghold traps and pelt imports, and invasive non-native species. Any comments, observations? I don't see any.
In which case we move on to item 6. We have the letter, 6.1, the letter from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs on the UK Fisheries Bill. We're invited to note this letter in relation to—
Excuse me, Chair. You've missed out item 5.5 and 5.6.
I do apologise. Yes, you're absolutely right. Two pages of my document stuck together. Item 5.5—we'll go back to that, then—the Agricultural Products, Food and Drink (Amendment Etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Again, the Welsh Government statement gives notification it has consented to the making of the regulations. The regulations create concurrent functions, which, as Members will be aware, has an impact for the future competence of the Senedd, and an Order in Council made under section 109 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 is being developed by the Welsh and UK Governments to negate the impact. If I go to the lawyers for comments.
There are two things in particular worth noting in these regulations. Firstly, the creation of concurrent functions, as you've just mentioned, and, secondly, there's disagreement again between the Governments as to whether geographical indication schemes for food and drink are devolved.
Dai, I think you had comments on this. Dai Lloyd.
Yes. That's the issue, about geographical indicators—coming from the land of Penclawdd cockles here and stuff. Just to go into a bit more depth as regards what Gareth the lawyer was saying there in terms of not just whether conferring a geographical indicator is devolved or not, but also akin to that is Welsh lamb, Welsh beef, whatever, which have current geographical indicators linked to them—whether they end up having a UK flag on them or a Welsh flag on them. That seems still a matter of disagreement. It may or may not be important. It's important to some of us, that is, but it seems as though that matter of whether it's a UK flag or a Welsh flag is going to be resolved by inter-governmental agreement, which doesn't sound very satisfactory to me. I wonder if Gareth would like to elaborate on that point.
What the regulations do do, they change the current EU protected scheme logos and they propose UK protected scheme logos. We can circulate those to Members if they want to see if they have any comments. But there's certainly no Wales, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland recognition on those logos. It is a UK protected scheme logo. The Welsh products that are currently protected under the EU scheme will continue to be protected under this new domestic scheme.
So, this is a matter that will obviously be considered by another committee, I imagine. Do we know that that has happened? Is this, Gareth—perhaps I could get some advice from you on this, if it would be an appropriate matter just to refer over to another committee, this particular issue, on the grounds that it's been raised here. It's a policy matter not for us, but of course it is a matter that arises from the drafting of the legislation. What would be the appropriate course of action here?
We could write and draw it to the attention of the Climate Change, Energy and Rural Affairs Committee.
Okay, we'll do that, then. Is that okay, Dai?
Okay, we move on to item 5.6, the Import of, and Trade in, Animal Products (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Again, the Welsh Government's statement gives notification that it has consented to the making of these regulations and gives the reasons for that consent. The regulations create concurrent functions that have an impact for the future competence of the Senedd. And as with the previous written statement, a section 109 Order is being developed by the Welsh and UK Governments to negate this impact. Any comments, Gareth?
Any comments or observations from Members? No.
In which case, we move on now to item 6. We have the letter from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs on the UK Fisheries Bill. We're invited to note the letter from the Minister in relation to the Welsh Government legislative consent memorandum on the Fisheries Bill. This was a letter responding to our seeking clarification on the reasons for needing certain amendments. And, of course, the Minister in the letter refers to the expansion of Welsh Ministers' regulatory powers. If there's any issue on this, perhaps we could defer that to private session, unless there's an issue that Members want to raise now. Okay.
So, we move on to the next item, 6.2, correspondence from the Minister for Housing and Local Government on the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill. We have, of course, the letter of 30 October and the letter to the Chair of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee of 30 October also. We're invited just to note the letter from the Minister, which, as she has indicated, is notifying us of the Welsh Government's Stage 3 amendments to that legislation, explaining the reasons, the technical changes and also the issues related to COVID, such as remote working, electronic broadcasting, research services and so on. Shall we note that correspondence? Okay, then we move on—
Sorry, Chair. Are we noting it and discussing it later?
I beg your pardon. Noting, yes, and we'll discuss it in private session, if that's okay. We have an item there to discuss in private session, I think, in any event. Is that okay? Yes.
Item 6.3, correspondence from the Minister for Housing and Local Government: Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction)
(Wales) Regulations 2020. And again there correspondence to note, which is the Minister responding to points that we raised in our consideration of the 2020 Act. There are issues there; perhaps we could defer these to discuss in private session. There are issues there with regard to points we raised on the clarification of the human rights point that was being raised. So, if Members are content with that, we'll defer that to private session. Okay.
We move on to item 6.4, a letter from the First Minister with regard to the British-Irish Council, which is going to be the thirty-fourth summit of the British-Irish Council, which is going to be a virtual meeting. So, that's for noting. If there's any issue on that, perhaps we could raise that in private session.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Okay, that brings us, then, to item 7. So, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix), I invite the committee to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Do Members agree that we now move into private session? I see they do, so we now move into private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:19.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:19.