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Privilege (Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:14 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 3:14 pm, 4th December 2018

I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the debate, Mr Speaker. So far I think I am the newest Member to do so, so this is clearly the first time that I have witnessed a privilege motion coming before the House.

I want to reflect on how we have come to this position. I had to nip out for five or six minutes to attend a Delegated Legislation Committee upstairs this afternoon. Before that Committee began, Government Members were talking about the importance of the Humble Address and how the House must adhere to it. I had been reflecting on the fact that before that, I had been down here, and we find ourselves in the very sorry circumstances of our debating a privilege motion before the House. This is somewhat unprecedented for the vast majority of Members.

Since I entered the House in 2017, time after time, we have seen the Government ride roughshod over this Parliament. This is a Parliament that is meant to be taking back control, but it has been denied money resolutions, it is not adhering to Opposition day votes and it is not adhering to a binding motion of the House calling for the release of this legal advice. It might be uncomfortable for the Government to release that legal advice, but the reality is that the House has voted for that. Members claim regularly that Brexit is an opportunity for us to take back control. Well, I am afraid that Government Members cannot have their cake and eat it. If they are serious about the House taking back control and about adhering to the will of the House that was outlined in November when the original motion was passed, they should vote for the motion in the name of Keir Starmer.