Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:12 am on 14th September 2017.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 11:12 am, 14th September 2017

I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the business for when we return.

This has been an absolute stinker of a week for the democratic arrangements of this House. First, there was the repeal Bill with its grotesque Henry VIII powers, then the manipulation of the Standing Committees of the House in the Government’s favour, and now the downgrading of Opposition day debates to little more than Adjournment debates. Next, Mr Speaker, they will be coming for your Chair.

The Leader of the House said when she assumed the role that she wanted to reach out to the parties of the House, to seek consensus and work across this Chamber, but this Government are now behaving little better than a dysfunctional tinpot dictatorship, although they are doing that so ineptly that they will probably end up oppressing themselves. This is a Government who singularly fail to accept their minority status, and delusionally assert they have a majority even when their billion-pound friends desert them.

Turning to that, apparently the Government’s Democratic Unionist party deal requires parliamentary approval—something they were pretty keen to keep from this House when it was first announced. So what are they going to do to bring a debate to this House? Apparently, that has to be done through the estimates process, but debates on estimates are purely in the gift of the Liaison Committee, so what plans does the Leader of the House have to bring this grubby deal on to the Floor of the House, so that all the issues can be considered?

And what are we doing about the time for Committee stage of the repeal Bill? The equivalent of seven eight-hour days have been set aside for it, but there will be hundreds of amendments, and we know that there will be real interest from Members, as we saw on Second Reading. What is the Leader of the House doing to ensure we get sufficient time?

Lastly, we have just got back from a long summer recess, but apparently we are taking a break again so that three voluntary organisations can have the equivalent of their annual general meetings. The public will be baffled that we can find only seven days for that Committee stage in the House, yet can find a week to let our 12 Liberal Democrats go to their conference.