I understand that point, but that was not the point on which we had an exchange last week. I am sorry if the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not catch what I was saying. It was asking him whether he wanted a repeal of the repeal of the 1972 Act that is contained in section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. He indicated to me last week that he did want that. After all, the Labour party itself voted against the withdrawal Act on Second Reading and indeed on Third Reading, so we can assume that it did not want the repeal of the 1972 Act and that it is therefore committed to a course that is inconsistent with what the voters decided in the referendum. In respect of the position on both sides of the House, the United Kingdom is therefore at a dangerous crossroads in the middle of a fog.
I have done my best over the past 30 years to be consistent and to address the principles that underlie the sovereignty of this Parliament in delivering the democratic wishes of the British people through parliamentary Government, and not through government by Parliament, as is being proposed by certain Members of this House in respect of giving priority to private Members’ Bills, despite the
We have had substantial debates about the backstop and, of course, the most recent advice of the Attorney General. My European Scrutiny Committee has issued a critical report of the withdrawal agreement. It came out only last week and I urge the House to read it. We have asked for, but have not yet received, a draft of the withdrawal and implementation Bill, and I say that because that Bill, if passed, would enact the withdrawal agreement in our domestic law—the law of the land. I seek to make some proposals for what would be needed in any such Bill, as enacted, in order to satisfy the fundamental issues, bearing in mind that we have only a few days to go, and to ensure that we actually leave the European Union on
What do I have in mind? First, we must protect Northern Ireland’s constitutional status in the United Kingdom. Discussions have continued since the Attorney General’s recent advice and will continue on matters relating both to the backstop and to issues arising in international law, including article 62 of the Vienna convention, that are being further analysed by distinguished lawyers. Such matters are important and remain unresolved. I was extremely glad to hear Arlene Foster confirm this morning that that was the current position, and when that further analysis becomes available, I trust that the Attorney General will take serious note of the points made by that panel of distinguished lawyers.