Privilege (Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 3:39 pm, 4th December 2018

I wholeheartedly agree with the first part of my hon. Friend’s question. I have enough respect for Keir Starmer to hope that the second part of the question would never come to pass. I do not think that even the Labour party today or the SNP would think it in the national interest to ask the Government to open MI5 files—I sincerely hope not anyway.

I must take issue with one comment made by the hon. Member for Glenrothes, when he described this Government as dictatorial, and on this I will finish. This is from a member of the SNP, whose Government have the worst record in publishing FOI requests of any Administration in the UK. He should look closer to home when he starts throwing such stones.

I will conclude now as I know that other Members wish to speak and I am conscious of Mr Speaker’s advice that not all Members are as keen to hear my voice as I am—[Interruption.]—although Stewart Malcolm McDonald seems to be delighted to hear me speaking this afternoon. I put on record my support for the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. Members of this House have a duty to consider the ramifications of their actions and the consequences of what they do today for short-term political gain. Members must consider the full constitutional and historic context of what they ask today.

By standing in the House yesterday and answering questions from all sides, and by making himself available to any colleague with further questions, the Attorney General has proven more than respectful of the House and certainly not in contempt.