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Privilege (Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:22 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 4:22 pm, 4th December 2018

I have listened carefully to the debate, in which some very good points and some very bad points have been made. The Labour party is well aware of the two principles laid out by the Father of the House. The first is that only in exceptional circumstances will privilege be overridden, and the second is that orders of this House should be complied with; 13 November was about the first principle and the Government did not oppose the order, and today is about the second.

In drafting this motion, we have been careful to refer to Ministers rather than individuals to reflect some of the points that have been made in this debate. We have also been careful to ask for the remedy, which is that the order is complied with before we think of anything else, in fairness to the Government. The Father of the House said that there surely must be some way that this can be agreed and the order can be complied with, and lots of Members indicated that as well. In the three weeks since the debate about the first principle to today, the Government have put no suggestion to me of any sort of mechanism to enable them to comply with this order, and the House will make of that what it will. For that reason, I must push the motion to a vote.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 307, Noes 311.