Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:04 am on 21st March 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 11:04 am, 21st March 2019

I did not know that it was Dame Vera Lynn’s 102nd birthday, and I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising that. However, I did know that today is World Poetry Day. I was tempted to come up with some of my own poetry, but I did not think that the House would be in the mood for it, so I did not bother. I am sure that hon. Members will have their own views on that. The hon. Gentleman makes a serious point, however. I do not believe that the Prime Minister was in any sense seeking to denigrate MPs’ commitment to the issue. She was urging colleagues to consider the duty to make an active decision about what they want to see. In a hung Parliament, that is the challenge that faces us. A Government with a big majority will, on the whole, be able to get their business through, but in a hung Parliament, all right hon. and hon. Members have to give great consideration to good governance. The Prime Minister is urging all Members to consider her deal again, because the reality is, as Pete Wishart has pointed out, that the legal default position remains that this House voted to leave the European Union on 29 March and the only way we can avoid that is either by extending article 50, as the Prime Minister is seeking to do, or by this House coming up with an alternative solution, which it has so far been unable to do.