Review of powers in consequence of EU withdrawal

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 8th January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham East 6:00 pm, 8th January 2019

I will be brief, Mr Speaker. I will want to move amendment 8, which stands in my name and in those of many hon. Members on both sides of the House. In many ways, it complements amendment 7, which was tabled by my right hon. Friend Yvette Cooper.

Amendment 8 would institute a commencement motion for the powers that the Treasury is seeking. Clause 89 might have been wrapped up as fairly minor and inconsequential, but essentially the Government are asking for pretty whopping permission to start legislating for no-deal arrangements. At this stage in the game, I really do not think that right hon. and hon. Members should be delegating our powers entirely to Ministers in this way without question. I know it is difficult for Sir Oliver Letwin to rebel for a second time, on amendment 7, but I would like to persuade him to do so for a third time on amendment 8. A commencement motion is an important adjunct so that we can give the House and hon. Members the chance to express how they wish Brexit to go forward—so that we have the opportunity to express our view. A commencement motion would allow hon. Members the chance to do just that.

As things stand—certainly if the Government’s Brexit proposal is negatived next week—there could be 21 days or perhaps another seven days before anything is voteable on in this place. My own view is that before we start delegating powers to Ministers on these issues, or indeed on others, we need to start saying that enough is enough. Hon. Members need a chance to help to guide the way forward. There are many different views on these particular issues—Nick Boles has his particular preference and I have mine—but we need to provide for ourselves the time and the space to express them. Amendment 8 would simply provide for a commencement motion.

I hope that the Minister will recognise there is a strong cross-party opinion that we need now to give voice to Parliament. We cannot just drift into a no-deal situation. Parliament does want to take back control. He should concede and accept the amendment now.