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

I will not.

The Council conclusions agreed last week set out that the withdrawal agreement in all circumstances must be adopted by the United Kingdom, so I urge colleagues to accept that approving the withdrawal agreement—which is complex and which covers wide-ranging areas from citizens’ rights to farming, from overseas territories to security and financial services—has to be the first step. The EU has said that the withdrawal agreement will not be changed, and Parliament needs to accept that before we can look to the future partnership, which is what much of today’s debate will focus on.

Notwithstanding the fact that no amendments have been selected, in particular I hope that should the debate today proceed in accordance with the business of the House motion, it will allow for all motions to be fully considered, rather than just a select few. This would enable Parliament to establish what it does want, rather than what the selection would permit. Mr Speaker, the Government have consistently said that we do not support the approach the House has taken to remove Government control of the Order Paper, no matter the circumstances. For that reason, we will oppose today’s business of the House motion. While it is now up to Parliament to set out the next steps in respect of today’s business, the Government will continue to call for realism in the debate ahead. Any options considered must be deliverable in negotiations with the European Union.