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European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:31 pm on 25th March 2019.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons 6:31 pm, 25th March 2019

Gareth Snell asked a serious question a moment ago about whether the Labour party would regard itself as bound to give support to any majority that emerges—the same question that we were putting to the Government. The whole thing is pointless if the Labour party is going to whip on all these indicative votes and then whip against a majority if that is not consistent with its manifesto, which also did not get the majority support of the public at the last election. We resolved all this in 1972—I apologise, because I do not normally go back into the depths of history—by having free votes on each side, because it would have been fatuous for the Front Benches to go as part of the process. Will the Labour party have free votes? Will it be bound by whatever majorities might emerge from the indicative voting?