Sittings of the House (29 March)

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 5:47 pm on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Finance Committee (Commons), Chair, Finance Committee (Commons) 5:47 pm, 28th March 2019

What the Leader of the House is proposing in this motion is that we should adopt a new precedent. There has been much talk of precedent in the last few days in terms of the way we proceed here, and I believe in precedent, which is why I believe we should very rarely set the precedent we are setting for tomorrow. I think for instance we should abide by the precedent that when a Government lose a major policy they fall, and that when a Government Minister proposes a motion they vote for it. All of these are precedents that have been abandoned.

I am happy for us to sit tomorrow, but I would just say that if it is absolutely clear, as has already been stated, that tomorrow’s motion is not a meaningful vote, it is then a meaningless vote and consequently there is little point to us sitting. And the one precedent that I am absolutely sure the House will always have abided by in the past and will probably abide by tomorrow is that when the Government come up with a policy—a change of mood, a change of style, a different way of doing business—that is too clever by half, they always lose.