Exiting the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee 10:00 pm, 11th March 2019

The short answer is that if someone inadvertently gives incorrect information to the House, it is a matter of honour for that Member to take the opportunity to correct the record at the earliest possible opportunity. I do not know whether that will prove to be so in this case, for it is as yet uncertain when the legal advice will be published. To be fair to Mr Walker, I think that, in responding to questions, he gave the House his honest assessment, at the point at which he gave it, of when he thought that the material would be provided. I know that the hon. Gentleman is every bit as honourable as his late and distinguished father, and I think that if he were subsequently to discover that he had given incorrect information to the House, he would literally be rushing—“rushing” is not too strong a word—to the Dispatch Box to correct the record.

I trust that Kevin Brennan will be in his place tomorrow to discover what the situation is. I think that there is a premium on early discovery of this advice, but we have already been through the question of how the views of the Attorney General can be established and how he can be probed before the debate if Members are so inclined. [Interruption.] Somebody is muttering something about codpieces from a sedentary position—and not just somebody: no less a figure than the Solicitor General. I am sure that the chuntering is eloquent, of a fashion.

Let me say, before we proceed, that I hope it will be helpful to the House if I indicate an advisory cut-off time of 10.30 on Tuesday morning for manuscript amendments to tomorrow’s motion. Amendments that reach the Table Office before the rise of the House tonight will appear on the Order Paper in the usual way. The Table Office will arrange publication and distribution of a consolidated amendment list as soon as possible after 10.30 am on Tuesday, including all the manuscript amendments. I will announce my selection of amendments in the usual way at the beginning of the debate. I hope that that is helpful to colleagues.

If there are no more points of order, we will proceed with the motions on the Order Paper. [Interruption.] That is very helpful, and I am genuinely grateful, but I was proposing in any case—partly for the reason hinted at by the adviser at the Chair—to take the motions separately.