2nd Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Labour, Wolverhampton South East 4:45 pm, 11th September 2017

With consideration for other speakers, I will press on.

In fact, most of the orders made under the proposed powers, far from being elevated into some kind of special sifting and debate procedure, will go through on the negative resolution procedure, with little or no debate.

On one level, I sympathise with Ministers. The outcome of the Brexit negotiations is so uncertain—in fact, getting an agreement at all is not certain—that they want to confer on themselves the maximum possible leeway in legislating, but Parliament cannot take that view. It has been argued that the best way to raise the issue of executive authority is in Committee and not now, but we already know that the Government propose to give themselves a majority on all Committees even though they did not win a majority at the general election. There is no indication—in fact, the very opposite—that the Government are more likely to listen in Committee than they are now. Parliament’s maximum moment of leverage to call on the Government to think again is not in Committee but now.

We have been told that a vote against the Bill is a vote for a chaotic Brexit, which is a bit rich. There only has to be more than two Cabinet Ministers in a room to produce versions of a chaotic Brexit. When Ministers are pushing against one another, and when letters supported by junior Ministers are being circulated attacking the policy of the Government in which they serve, the Tory party is well capable of producing chaos on its own. We have a legitimate job to do in scrutinising the Government. To further that end, I will vote against the Bill tonight.