European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:29 pm on 7th September 2017.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe 4:29 pm, 7th September 2017

I will in a moment.

I want to thank my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State, who have clearly already listened to the many concerns expressed by Government Members. I and others will be having a meeting with the Prime Minister, and I look forward to that. I also look forward, in due course, to some serious Government amendments being tabled, or perhaps the adoption of amendments that will no doubt be tabled by right hon. and hon. Members on the Government Benches.

As the House will know, I share the real concerns about clause 9. Frankly, I think it should simply be withdrawn. Clause 17 is certainly open, if not to withdrawal, at least to some serious, considerable and fundamental amendments. I am concerned about the delegated legislation for the reasons I have outlined in interventions and for those given in other Members’ excellent speeches. As I have said, I think we can find other mechanisms for delivering the delegated legislation while making sure that we scrutinise it properly. We have existing Committees that we can either strengthen or increase in size so that we can filter consideration out through so-called triaging. That is probably an appalling abuse of the word, but we all know what it means. It is a good idea, and it is gaining much support among Government Members as well as Opposition Members.

May I just say something that I think needs to be said? I say this to all the perfectly reasonable and sensible people, not just those in my constituency of Broxtowe, but the many millions throughout this country who voted leave on 23 June 2016. If anybody tells you that people like me are doing everything we can—in scrutinising legislation, tabling amendments and perhaps even voting for them—to thwart the will of the people, they are telling you lies. I am not going to put up with it any longer, because this needs to be said. We are leaving the EU. Even my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe accepts that we are leaving the EU. Some of us voted for doing that by triggering article 50, flying in the face of everything we have ever believed in, because we promised our electors that we would honour the result, and that is what we are going to do.

I would say to the millions who voted leave: you should not just question the motives of those who tell you that people like me want to thwart your decision, but look at the other things they promised you before 23 June 2016. They told you it would be this great opportunity to get rid of all the rules and regulations, the miles of red tape and all the things that were strangling British business and the economy, but we are going to take those very same things and place them lock, stock and barrel into substantive British law. They told you that you would get an extra £350 million for the NHS, and you will not. They told you that you would take back control, but if this Bill is not amended, you can forget that, because the people will not be taking back control in this place, but giving it to Ministers. That may not just be a Conservative Government; it could—God forbid—be a Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn. Finally, they told you it would all be so easy, and as you now know, it is not just challenging but a blooming nightmare. However, we will do our best to deliver it, and if it all goes wrong, do not forget that we will be here to clear up the mess, and do not forget who misled you and told you lies before 23 June 2016.