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2nd Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:32 pm on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn 5:32 pm, 11th September 2017

Yes, I agree. As I have said, the Prime Minister just thinks it is business as usual, but she is now leading a minority in the House. In her words, she wanted to increase her majority to increase her mandate, but she does not have the moral authority or, indeed, the numbers in the House of Commons. It shows the Government’s arrogance that she now wants to rip up the result of the general election and ignore the will of the people who have taken away the Tory majority.

The other item I want to raise is the timetable—the programme motion—because I do not think that eight days are enough to debate the issues properly; when we have very complicated hybrid Bills in the House, we are given far longer to scrutinise them, so it is wrong. I think, tomorrow, the Government want actually to rig the Committees. Transferring powers from the European Union to the hands of those involved in delegated legislation is a very dangerous step for us to take: the Government are grabbing powers and putting them into the hands of Ministers. As I have said, they are not respecting the devolved Administrations, which were set up following referendums and have been given powers by the House of Commons.

The Opposition’s reasoned amendment is sensible. It amounts to what I would describe as a sensible Brexit. For instance, it respects the charter of fundamental rights, which we would put into UK law, and we would propose sensible transition arrangements. Again, the Government are now talking about a cliff edge and a timetable, but if we had sensible transition arrangements—this is mentioned in the reasoned amendment—that would be avoided. For those reasons, I will support the amendment tonight.

The will of the people in the 2017 election must be respected, and the will of the devolved Administrations must also be respected. It is time for this Government to go back to the drawing board. For those reasons, I will vote against the Second Reading. I do not think that the Bill can be amended to the satisfaction of many Government Members in Committee, and they know it. It is time for this House of Commons and this sovereign Parliament to stand up and be counted on behalf of the people who sent us here.