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

Well, where to start? I may as well cut straight to the chase and say that I actually agree with the hon. Gentleman. I am not for one moment saying that all parliamentarians in a hung Parliament should do exactly as the Government say. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that people in a hung Parliament work together. I gave the example of 51 Government Bills having been introduced in this Session, 41 of which have already received Royal Assent. As hon. Members will know, that has happened as a result of great discussion, a huge number of concessions and close collaboration right across the House in order for the Government to achieve a consensus that the House would then support.

My point is not that parliamentarians have to do as the Government say at all, but that parliamentarians should be looking for what they can agree to. I am advocating the Prime Minister’s deal on the very clear grounds that it offers departure from the European Union, but a close and ongoing relationship with our EU friends and neighbours. That seems the right kind of compromise, which all hon. Members could get behind. Nevertheless, should we get to the point of introducing the withdrawal agreement Bill, which is the piece of legislation that would put into law the decision of the House, I have absolutely no doubt that there would be very close collaboration, and many concessions and discussions, in order to get the legislation through. So I agree with the hon. Gentleman. As Parliament’s voice in Government, it is my great pleasure that I often find myself pleading with Government Ministers to listen to the view of Parliament, and I will continue to do so.