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2nd Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:59 pm on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee 3:59 pm, 11th September 2017

I can be mercifully brief. I wish to make two points. First, I will vote tonight for the only option that implements the referendum result. That was the wish of my constituents and that was the wish of the country. I do not wish any different view to be put forward about whose side I am on—I am on the side of the majority of people who voted to come out.

Secondly, I want to address those on the Government Benches. When we started this process, many people bravely went against their lifetime views to implement the views of their constituents, but given the frailty of human nature we have had one or two recidivists who are now thinking, having read Thursday’s debate, that there may be reasons for not doing this or not doing the other. When we come back in Committee, I will table a four-clause Bill, because the Government, by having this mega-Bill, are storing up no end of trouble from Members who are wolves in sheep’s clothing and who will try to undo the measure.

We need four crucial things from that Bill. First, we need a leave date. Secondly, we need to incorporate all European Union law and regulations. The third clause will give us the means by which the House of Commons and then their lordships review which laws we want to keep, which we want to improve, and which we want to do away with. We are voting from midnight tonight, and there is talk that it will be 3 o’clock on Wednesday morning before we vote on tomorrow’s business. With regard to the idea that this place is equipped to review all that legislation, there is shedloads upon shedloads upon shedloads, and it would fill up the House of Commons on several occasions. We therefore need a means whereby we review which legislation we will keep and which we will not. Fourthly, in case there are problems with people with their little hands on our windpipes who think, “If we can hold them to the two years, we will get what we want”, we need a safe haven.

That is what we need from this exit Bill: first, the date; secondly, the incorporation of everything; thirdly, a method of review; and fourthly, for a limited period, a safe haven. I hope that when we go into Committee, the Government will adopt those four proposals as clause 1 so that we can very quickly implement this Bill. We can then bring forward small Bills to implement other parts of the mega-Bill they are putting before us, should we need them. I hope that when the whole House of Commons is in Committee, we will carry that amendment.