The Grand Committee of the House of Lords this afternoon considered the Order on Privileges and Immunities, following the Commons’ approval of the same Order.
The discussion was brief and sidestepped the issues of Brexit and the pending German constitutional complaint altogether. The motion was carried unanimously. Subject to formal approval by the House of Lords, the Order can now go to the Privy Council, after which the UK will be in a legal position to ratify the UPC Agreement.
Lord Henley, speaking for the Government, noted that the Order might not make it onto the agenda for this month’s Privy Council meeting but seemed optimistic that it would be on the agenda in January.
Up until now, the line taken by the Government has been that the UK will “continue preparations to be in a position to ratify” the UPC Agreement; this wording stops short of an explicit commitment to actually ratify.
Both Lord Henley and – in last week’s discussions – Jo Johnson MP have acknowledged that the UK’s place in the UPC system after Brexit will be a matter for negotiation.
As the UK is now rapidly approaching the point where it will be “in a position to ratify” the agreement, it is to be hoped that January will bring more clarity on the Government’s future intentions for the UK-UPC relationship.