Speaker’S Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:33 pm on 18th March 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

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 3:33 pm, 18th March 2019

Again, one has to reflect on the particulars. I say to the hon. Gentleman that the issue is not the pain of any vote, which is a subjective matter upon which I do not think I should pontificate—especially as I do not cast such, other than in the circumstance of a tie, which has not arisen since 1993 in this Chamber—but its propriety.

It is absolutely true that the House has legislated in respect of article 50—I believe it did so in March 2017 in the last Parliament—and that that has created a strong expectation, but whether Parliament chooses to legislate on this matter or, as the Government have signalled in recent days, depending on circumstance, to request a particular extension, is a matter for the House. I do not think that the issue of pain really comes into it; it is just a question of what is proper.

I know that the hon. Gentleman, whom I have known since we competed with each other in Bristol South in June 1989, is a stickler for propriety. [Interruption.] I am asked who won. It would not be seemly to say, but I think the hon. Gentleman’s result at the 1992 election was rather better than mine.