Foreign Affairs Committee

Part of Exiting the European Union (Agriculture) – in the House of Commons at 5:26 pm on 19th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole 5:26 pm, 19th March 2019

I confess that when I read this motion, to begin with I was in two minds. I thought back to my days as a city councillor—I spent 10 years on Hull City Council and was one of two Tories out of 59—and what happened whenever there was a defection. Someone once defected to us—it was a terrible mistake for him and we tried to talk him out of it. When there were two members, we were never split more than 50:50—it got worse when there were three of us. However, when we had a defection on the council, there was always a change in the political make-up of committees and that reflected the change in the political make-up of the chamber. I think back to those days and the way we did things on Hull City Council—we even used to follow our standing orders on Hull City Council. They were not open to interpretation in the way that they seem to be in this place. We used to follow the rules, whether it suited the person who was chairing it or not. However, I digress.

So, I think back to those rules and to the changes here. I have to confess, when Dr Wollaston crossed the Floor, I thought, “There has been a change in the balance on the Health and Social Care Committee between the Government and the Opposition,” but then I thought, “We elected her for the duration of the Parliament”—and I have to say, given the hon. Lady’s record in chairing that Committee, I do not think that the Government will notice much difference.