Power to notify withdrawal from the EU

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Conservative, Forest of Dean 5:30 pm, 13th March 2017

It is a particular pleasure to follow Mr Clegg, as he and I spent a number of years working together in coalition government. I know that was not enormously fruitful for all those on my side, but I thank him for his remarks.

Let me deal with one opening point and then refer to the amendments, rather than making a general speech. One observation to make, which comes back to the right hon. Gentleman’s point about process, is that we sent to the House of Lords a short, well drafted and tightly focused Bill. Usually, the House of Lords argument and its criticism of this House is that we send it long, badly drafted and ill thought through legislation, which the House of Lords then has to improve. In this case, we sent the other place a short, tightly focused, well drafted Bill that does one very specific thing; it then made the Bill longer and reduced the quality of the drafting. We should help their lordships out this afternoon by getting rid of their poorly drafted amendments and sending the Bill back to them in the same expertly drafted form in which it started.