The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill passed its second reading yesterday. During the debate Sir Sir William Cash made the following interventions:

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mel Stride): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The Government have been clear that in leaving the European Union the UK will also leave its customs union, allowing us to establish and enhance our trading relationships with old allies and new friends around the world. Further to that, the Government have previously set out that in leaving the EU customs union and exercising the powers in this Bill, we will be guided by what delivers the greatest economic advantage to the United Kingdom and by three strategic objectives.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): Before my right hon. Friend gets deep into his analysis, may I ask him about the expression “a customs union” in clause 31, which, according to the explanatory notes, clearly includes the EU itself? Will he be kind enough to tell me, either now or later in his speech, what the distinction is between the customs union and other kinds of customs union mentioned in clause 31?

Mel Stride: Clause 31 makes provision for this country to enter into a customs union with another territory. That territory could be the existing customs union of the European Union after we have left the European Union, or it could be another territory separate from it. As he will know, such a move would be subject to a treaty and would not be entered into until a draft statutory instrument had been laid before the House and approved under the affirmative procedure, and then subsequently approved by Her Majesty as an Order in Council.


Sir William Cash: I mention this only because of the very articulate response that my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham). The Bill refers to Orders in Council, which the Financial Secretary has mentioned, and also includes the words “despite any enactment”. Could that include the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, when it has been enacted? Could it also include any other transitional arrangements under a further enactment? The words “despite any enactment” are very dramatic.

Mel Stride: I think it is clause 32 that sets out the basis on which the powers will be dealt with. The Bill is extremely clear that any treaty between ourselves, as a customs union, and another territory or customs union must be subject to a draft affirmative statutory instrument. Having been laid, such an instrument would not come into effect immediately, but only when Parliament—or, specifically, the House of Commons—had considered and passed it. At that point, and only at that point, would an Order in Council follow, which would effectively bring the will of the House into law.


Bill read a Second time.

Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill (Programme)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Taxation (Cross-Border) Trade Bill:


(1) The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

(2) Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Thursday 1 February 2018.

(3) The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

Proceedings on Consideration and up to and including Third Reading

(4) Proceedings on Consideration and any proceedings in legislative grand committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.

(5) Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption that day.

(6) Standing Order No. 83B (programming sub-committees) shall not apply to proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.—(Andrew Stephenson.)

Question agreed to.