European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:57 pm on 7th September 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham 2:57 pm, 7th September 2017

Let us come to the secondary legislation point. First, all statutory instruments are subject to a parliamentary process. I am quite happy that there is parliamentary control. If Ministers seek to abuse the power under the legislation that they are offering to the House, then all the House has to do is to vote down the statutory instrument. If it is a so-called negative resolution instrument, surely the Opposition are up to being able to say, “We intend to debate and vote on this issue.” I remember doing that as a shadow Cabinet member. I called in things that the then Government were trying to smuggle through and made sure that there was a debate and a vote. If it is the view of Parliament that Ministers have misbehaved, then they will lose the vote and have to come forward with something else.

That is parliamentary democracy, and I do not understand why my colleagues find it so difficult to understand. Ministers will be bringing forward bits of secondary legislation in areas where they are fairly sure that it is the will of the House that they go through because they are technical, or sensible, or obvious. They will all be in pursuit of the fundamental aim, which is to guarantee all these rights and laws, which are often more admired by Opposition Members than Conservative Members, but which we have all agreed should be transferred lock, stock and barrel, and which in certain cases are protected by pledges in manifestos. For example, my party, as well as the Labour party, has promised to keep all the employment protections and improve on them, because that is something we believe in. We offered that to the British people as part of our manifesto for the last election.