Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:04 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 2:04 pm, 27th March 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

What today does is effectively turn that precedent on its head: those who are not in Government are deciding the business, and there are inevitable ramifications to that.

I work constantly to represent Parliament’s voice in Government, and today I am genuinely concerned that the decisions we are being obliged to make could result in Parliament being extremely frustrated. It is highly likely that we could be in a position where the preferences of the House simply cannot be achieved. Whatever the House decides needs to be both deliverable and negotiable, and, very specifically, the European Union has been clear in all circumstances that changing the withdrawal agreement is simply not an option.

This Government want to deliver on the referendum of 2016 in a way that maintains a deep and special partnership with the European Union. Urgent action is needed; businesses and people cannot be left in limbo any longer. There are two sides to this negotiation, so I repeat that what the House decides needs to be deliverable and negotiable and also needs to deliver on the referendum.