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This briefing was written before third reading in the Lords and any amendments that are made at that stage. At the time of writing, only drafting amendments have been proposed for consideration at third reading in the Lords.

Third reading in the Lords is scheduled for Monday 18 January, and the Commons is expected consider Lords amendments the day after, Tuesday 19 January.  

The following are the main amendments made in the Lords, all made at Lords report stage:

  • Parliamentary approval of trade agreements: this would give Parliament a greater statutory role in the scrutiny and approval of trade agreements.
  • Human rights etc – determination on compliance: this would require ministers to assess whether countries with which the UK was negotiating, or had negotiated, trade agreements, had committed serious human rights violations.
  • Genocide: this would allow the High Court to make a ruling on whether a trade agreement should be revoked, on the grounds that the state with which the UK has the agreement has committed genocide.
  • NHS health and care: this is intended to protect the NHS and care, including health and care data, from control from outside the UK through trade agreements.
  • Ratification of international trade agreements and treaties: this would require that Ministers explain and enact domestic implementing legislation before a trade treaty could be ratified.
  • Standards affected by international trade agreements: this would require ministers take certain steps if a proposed trade agreement would have an impact on certain standards (e.g. for food).
  • Protection of children online: this is intended to ensure that online safety is not compromised by trade agreements.
  • Northern Ireland: non-discrimination: this is intended to ensure that free trade agreements do not negatively affect market access for goods and services within the UK internal market.
  • Trade and Agriculture Commission:
    • Appointments and purpose: this government amendment allows for appointments to the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC), and sets out its purpose. This amendment was itself amended to add “public health and health inequalities” to the list of areas of expertise which the Secretary of State must take into account when appointing TAC members.
    • Advisory functions: this government amendment required the Secretary of State to request advice from the TAC in preparing the report on trade agreements required by section 42 of the Agriculture Act 2020. This amendment was itself amended so that the TAC could take human life or health into account.

Aside from government amendments and the amendment to the government amendment on TAC advisory functions, all of the amendments mentioned above were opposed by the government and were subject to a vote in the Lords.

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