United Kingdom’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:20 am on 29th March 2019.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 10:20 am, 29th March 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker. We have heard a great deal about the process and the underlying reasons for this motion this morning, but we are really dealing with whether the withdrawal agreement should be passed and approved today, and if not, why not. The first point I make in that respect is quite simple and straightforward: under article 4 of the withdrawal agreement, we will, for a significant period, lose control over the lawmaking conferred on the House by virtue of our election as Members of Parliament according to the wishes of voters in general elections. It is unconscionable that, for whatever reason, the House should be politically castrated by the arrangements set out in article 4. For that reason alone, it is therefore unthinkable that the withdrawal agreement should be passed.

I just refer to the state of affairs within the German constitutional court, which takes precedence over all EU laws. That court often expresses rulings insisting that the EU can only operate or legislate in accordance with what that the Bundestag has given it, and that EU actions are illegal if they depart from the terms in which the Bundestag gave that power. If that is good enough for Germany, it is good enough for this country, is it not?

I asked the Attorney General whether there will be a withdrawal and implementation Bill even if the withdrawal agreement goes down this evening. I got no answer, just as I received no answer from the Prime Minister to several questions I put to her about whether the Attorney General had given legal advice in accordance with the ministerial code. One characteristic of this debate is that, when we ask difficult questions, we tend to get no answer. That is not good enough, in terms of the accountability of the Government to the House. That is point No. 1, regarding control over laws. It is unconscionable.