Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:35 am on 22nd November 2018.

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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 10:35 am, 22nd November 2018

I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the rather paltry business for next week. I know we say this every week, but what a week! Norman Lamont famously said of the equally disastrous and chaotic Major Government that

“they give the impression of being in office but not in power”.

This Government do not even give the impression of being in office, far less of being in power. First, they refuse to vote on Opposition day motions; now they just refuse to vote.

With the DUP plug well and truly pulled, they have started to realise the reality of minority government and that they can no longer be assured of getting anything through the House. The only thing likely to save them is Labour’s indiscipline and failure to get its vote out. It is the only party that can look a gift horse in the rear end. We managed to get two amendments to the Finance Bill through on Tuesday, which is more than we achieved in the preceding 20 years, so three cheers for zombie government! Can we have a debate on parliamentary democracy so that we can learn the Government’s position on the basic concept of voting?

We have had a welcome dose of reality from the new Work and Pensions Secretary, who revealed that this binary choice of a bad deal or no deal would not happen when she said that the House of Commons would not accept no deal. Then there is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury saying there might be no Brexit. Then there is the calzone collective’s own options for Brexit. Everybody knows that the Prime Minister’s deal will not get through the House, and everybody and their auntie knows that the House will never accept a no deal Brexit, so will the Leader of the House finally confirm that this “devil or the deep blue sea” option is over and that the House will choose the option it wants?

Lastly, I very much welcome the Tay cities deal, which was signed off in my constituency this morning, bringing in £150 million of UK Government spending and £200 million of Scottish Government spending. It will be transformative for Tayside, with investment going into a number of fantastic projects right across the region. I am sure the Leader of the House will want to welcome that great example of cross-Parliament co-operation and working together.