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2nd Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:35 pm on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Conservative, North Herefordshire 6:35 pm, 11th September 2017

I have been in the House since 2001 and have, I dare say, manufactured a fair amount of indignation about the legislation of previous Governments, but things are different today. I respect the Opposition’s arguments—they are absolutely right to raise them, and their concerns are valid and should be considered—but we are in the middle of a negotiation and my constituents constantly ask me, “What is going to happen?” We, as a country, are being pitted against our former partners in a negotiation and if it goes wrong, that will cost us billions of pounds and deny us access to markets. This is not the time for us to be dancing on the head of a pin about the details of delegated legislation. How many delegated legislation Committees have hon. Members sat through? Members will know about the countless rubber-stamping of EU directives. I have seen it myself, and the worst one was the directive about alternative investments. The impact assessment stated that it had a bill of £8 billion, but neither Front-Bench team seemed to think it at all important. Delegated legislation has been going wrong for decades. I will accept that the Bill may not be perfect, but it is right that we pull together at a moment like this—mid-negotiation—because there will be chances to put this Bill right in Committee.

I rather agreed with Wera Hobhouse when she said that our constituents do not want to swap faceless bureaucrats in Europe for faceless bureaucrats in Whitehall, but they are not doing that; our bureaucrats have faces. We know who they are, and they are accountable to us.