Sittings of the House (29 March)

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 5:00 pm, 28th March 2019

I beg to move,

That this House
shall sit on Friday 29 March 2019.

May I start by saying that I recognise that changes to the sittings of the House agreed at short notice can create inconvenience to Members and their constituents? I know how important constituency work is to all of us, and I do regret not being able to give more notice. I do, however, believe that all of our constituents expect the House to continue to make progress at this crucial time. To be of assistance to the House, I can again confirm that, should the House agree this motion, it is intended that the sitting hours tomorrow will be the same as for a normal sitting Friday, with the House sitting from 9.30 am and the moment of interruption at 2.30 pm. Should any urgent questions be allowed, these would take place from 11 am and the debate would resume following those urgent questions in the usual way. As I said earlier today in my business statement, I join those who recognise the hard work and dedication of the staff of the House and of our civil servants. I thank them for their support to us in this place, and I am very grateful to them in advance for their work tomorrow should this motion be agreed.

As I said to the House during my business statement earlier today, the motion tabled by the Government this afternoon has been prepared in order that it complies with your ruling, Mr Speaker, while also reflecting that the European Union will agree an extension to article 50 until 22 May only if the withdrawal agreement is approved by 11 pm on 29 March. It is crucial, therefore, that we make every effort to give effect to the Council’s decision, and tomorrow’s motion gives Parliament the opportunity to secure that extension. I think we can all agree that we do not want to be in the situation of asking for another extension and facing the potential requirement of participating in European Parliament elections.