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Privilege (Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:50 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 12:50 pm, 4th December 2018

I will in a moment.

For months the Government have ignored Opposition day motions, and now their tactic has got them into very deep water indeed. The Government cannot now come to this House and say, “We took a political decision not to oppose the making of the order to publish the full and final legal advice by the Attorney General and then we took a decision not to comply with that order, but somehow we are not in contempt of Parliament.”

My third point is about the Government’s amendment in the name of the Leader of the House asking this House to refer the matter of whether the Government’s response fulfils the motion to the Privileges Committee. The short point is this: there is nothing to refer. A binding order was made and the Government are refusing to comply with it. The reality is that, yet again, by their amendment the Government are simply playing for time in the hope that this ends up in the long grass until the crucial vote is long gone.

So this motion is extremely important. It has huge constitutional and political significance. Bringing the motion is not something I have done lightly. [Interruption.] On the contrary—[Interruption.] On the contrary—[Interruption.] On the contrary—[Interruption.] On the contrary—[Interruption.]