Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:41 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 2:41 pm, 27th March 2019

The Environment Secretary, from a sedentary position, invites me to consider the Stuarts. If he would like to go down that route and find a period in history where the Scots had precedence in terms of how this country was governed, he could not give a better example—I am sure the hon. Member for North East Somerset would agree with that fully.

I like this innovation. It a good, creative way to be looking at how we do our business. It is an example, at last, of this House taking back control. What surprises me more than anything else is that those who called the loudest and gave the biggest clarion calls for this place to take back control are those who have the biggest problem with the House doing that very thing. It is strange to see these Conservative Members—I see them all in their places—getting ready to try to make sure that this motion is defeated and things are once again returned to the hands of the Executive.

I am familiar with the speech made by the hon. Member for North East Somerset, as I have heard it before; he talks about the authority of the Executive over the legislature. In terms of the constitution of this place, he is absolutely right, but we are in totally uncharted territory, and in a hung Parliament, we have to look for these constitutional novelties. This motion should be congratulated. The way that it has been engineered and designed by the right hon. Member for West Dorset is almost elegant in defining its purpose. We have this opportunity to do this. It is one the Government could have given us, but they chose not to and so to complain about the fact that it has been made up to the House to do this is churlish.

Talking of churlishness, I have to say to the Leader of the House that I found her speech in response to this petulant and irritable. She was totally ungracious about the way this House has decided to do its business—it is what the House has decided. I find it astonishing that this Government are going to vote against this business motion, as they had an opportunity to table an amendment. I cannot understand why they chose not to do so.