Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:19 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Oliver Letwin Oliver Letwin Conservative, West Dorset 1:19 pm, 27th March 2019

I promised myself throughout this process that I would be honest with the House and I cannot honestly say that I am astonished that the Government are voting against it. Although I regret it, I somewhat suspected that it might be the case—as I suspect, in fact, the hon. Gentleman did—but I do share his view that it is a pity that the Government did not do what would have remedied what the Government described as a constitutional oddity by endorsing amendment (a) and, indeed, at the right moment, by putting themselves on amendment (a) as signatories. Under parliamentary convention, which you, Mr Speaker, supervise, they would of course have immediately arrived at the top of the order and superseded any mere Back Benchers. It would have become a Government amendment and the ordinary order of the proceedings of the House would have been restored. That would have been the natural way to go. Alas, the Government decided not to do that and I understand that they had reasons for that.