Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:37 am on 13th December 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 10:37 am, 13th December 2018

I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the business for next week.

Well, it is the morning after the night before, and, as the hangovers start to kick in, they will all be asking themselves, “What on earth did we get up to last night?”. As they survey the wreckage of the night of mayhem, we now find that we have a Prime Minister who has the confidence of only 200 Members of this House. She is a lame duck Prime Minister who would give waterfowl with walking sticks a bad name. A third of her party do not want her to lead them. Her credibility is in shatters and her ability to lead gone forever.

The main item of business next week should be a motion of no confidence in this rotten, divided Government. They are there for the taking, divided, wounded and unable to govern, and I have no idea what the Labour party is waiting for. We could be shot of them pretty soon, so if Labour is not going to put in a motion of no confidence in this Government, it will be left to the other opposition parties of this House to do so.

History will judge the decision to cancel Tuesday’s meaningful vote as probably the single biggest act of political cowardice this House has ever witnessed, particularly when the Leader of the House said to me definitively last week that under no conditions would the vote be withdrawn. If we look at the diary, we can see that there are only two weeks left to have that meaningful vote when we return in the new year, if it is not the Government’s intention to bring it forward next week. It cannot be the last week—the week leading up to the 21st—so that leaves the week that we return. I want the Leader of the House to come to that Dispatch Box and say that we will have this vote in that week.

Finally, we need an urgent statement about the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the Scottish Government’s view that the continuity Bill is indeed within devolved powers. This Government are now developing a habit of losing constitutional cases to Scottish interests. Hopefully, this will now mean the end of the power grab and the attacks on the democratic institutions of our democracy in Scotland, but looking at Members on the Government Benches, I very much doubt that.