Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:43 am on 31st January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 10:43 am, 31st January 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising the issue of denialism. I suggest that it is the Scottish nationalists in this place who are in denial over the result of the Scottish independence referendum. It is interesting that one of my favourite newspapers, The National, reports that the hon. Gentleman himself is questioning the merits of a second referendum on EU membership because he feels it might harm the Scot nats’ chances of a second referendum on Scottish independence. If anyone is a denialist in this place, it is him. Not only that; he is also a pessimist. It is deeply disappointing that he is already saying that the Government’s attempts will fail. If he looks carefully at what has happened in the past two and a half years, he will see that the Prime Minister’s deal for withdrawing from the EU seeks to ensure that we can have our cake and eat it. We have successfully cherry-picked and done all the things that the EU said we would not do, because we will be protecting jobs and our economy at the same time as leaving the EU and fulfilling the referendum result, so he should be a bit more optimistic.

The hon. Gentleman asked about Brexit-related business during the second week of February. He will appreciate that there is a huge amount of Brexit-related business. He criticised the business for next week, but these are very important Brexit-related statutory instruments, as well as some instruments that are always debated on the Floor of the House of Commons. The House should wish to discuss those very important pieces of parliamentary businesses.

The hon. Gentleman also suggested—it was somewhat inverted-snobbery—that Members on the Government Benches have all been to private school. I am an ex-grammar school girl, and the Government side is dominated by people who have worked hard in this life and want to do something for their country. He should be ashamed for saying that, but not nearly as ashamed as his right hon. Friend Ian Blackford should be for his appalling remarks in the Chamber suggesting that there is anything other than a 100% commitment to the Belfast/Good Friday agreement. That was a dangerous and appalling thing to suggest, and it was completely untrue.