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Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:50 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of Jonathan Reynolds Jonathan Reynolds Shadow Minister (Transport) 2:50 pm, 22nd October 2015

I think that it is a disgrace, and I think that any fair-minded Conservative MP would say that.

Let me pose this question: by what measure can the new Standing Orders be revoked? We can clearly say that this House would have no authority to revoke the Scottish Parliament unless we followed a similar procedure to the one by which it was created. A referendum created the Scottish Parliament. I believe that we would at the very least need to have a referendum to decide whether it should cease to exist.

What is the process by which these Standing Orders could be changed? For instance, could a simple majority of the whole House, including Scottish and Welsh MPs, revoke the Standing Orders to get a result? Conservative MPs are nodding their heads. Could they not see that such an event might inadvertently trigger a constitutional crisis the like of which we have not seen for 100 years? These things have to be thought through, and there must be support and consensus for them. Such a process can be hard and slow, but look how long it took to get the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly. That is the kind of process that needs to be followed.

Frankly, what we are doing today, with a debate of only three and a half hours, is not good enough. As someone who is genuinely and honestly sympathetic to the cause of needing to look again at how we do these things in the House and, frankly, who is fairly convinced by the core argument behind it, I cannot in any way vote for the motion. It is imperative for Conservative MPs to understand that they are risking the integrity of this country. Quite frankly, I am astonished at the recklessness they are showing today.