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Welfare Reform and Work Bill

Part of Department of Health — End of Life Care – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 2nd March 2016.

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Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Conservative, North Dorset 6:45 pm, 2nd March 2016

Playing ping-pong with the other place, or receiving a Lords message, sounds rather genteel and polite, doesn’t it? However, I ask all Members almost to divorce their thinking from the issue on which we shall be voting later. Dare I say to my right hon. Friend the Minister, and indeed to the shadow Minister, that virtually everything they said was an irrelevance? The House has already debated the point, and, as my right hon. Friend the Minister had noted, we have voted on it on five occasions and have voted in the affirmative. We are now concerned with a much bigger issue, which should, in my judgment, unite all quarters of the House: the issue of the supremacy of this place as the elected House of Commons. As we know, in the last century the House had exactly the same debate on the people’s Budget.

The Minister was right. The Lords amendments are wrecking amendments, and the unelectable seem to be relying on the unelected to try to frustrate the policies and the position of Her Majesty’s Government, which was well articulated during the general election campaign and has been debated incredibly thoroughly in the House and elsewhere. Last night the House of Lords played a very dangerous game. It said to the democratically accountable House of Parliament in this country, “We know better than you, the electorate; we know better than you, the elected Government.” We are on the cusp—issue apart—of a constitutional conundrum which will not end easily for the upper House. The authority of this place is now under significant and serious challenge. It is time for parties to unite, and for us to exercise and exert our supremacy in a democratic Parliament.