Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of Children and Social Work Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 5:08 pm on 7th March 2017.

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Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South 5:08 pm, 7th March 2017

And that is quite right: it is a dog’s breakfast, which is why I am so surprised that the hon. Gentleman’s spokesperson on the Front Bench, the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, did not rail against this particular dog’s breakfast, but instead welcomed this technical change and is not quite sure if he will vote for it or against it or abstain on it this evening. If it is a dog’s breakfast and a matter of principle, let us try to fight these changes at every possible turn, of which this is a great and ideal opportunity in this House this evening.

I will conclude by saying what the alternative is for the Government. Let us take away all these changes to Standing Orders—the mess that the Leader of the House is making of the constitution—and get to a point whereby we have a set of constitutional arrangements in this House that work for the UK. We have called for a constitutional convention that would look at all these issues—the House of Lords and everything we do in terms of the constitution—and do it through a sensible and pragmatic approach, where we can look at everything in the round and come out with something the public want. It is time we started bringing the country together: no more division, no more separating different classes of MPs, no more bringing Standing Orders to this House that merely set one MP off against another. Let us work together to try and find a set of circumstances that work for the entirety of this House. It seems to me that when this Conservative Government talk about taking back control, they are not talking about taking back control to the people of this country; they are talking about taking back control for themselves, and that is the principle behind all these English votes for English laws.

This is a dog’s breakfast and it does not work, as has been highlighted time and again in this House. It is a waste of this House’s time to have to go through the process of a Standing Committee to address whether or not we have English votes for English laws. It is inelegant and we will be voting against this this evening, to send a strong message that we as Members of Parliament are all one in this House, and the Government must go back and think again about what they are doing to the procedures in this famous House of Commons.