Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:13 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union 3:13 pm, 3rd April 2019

I was making the much simpler point that none of the propositions has carried. The Prime Minister said in her statement that

“the Government stands ready to abide by the decision of the House.”

That is important. She was referring to the indicative votes that may follow the process that we are currently undertaking. In my view, anything that the House indicates it is prepared to support—the difference is that indicative votes are so called precisely because we ask the House to indicate whether it is prepared to move in a given direction—would have to be considered by the Government. If a proposition were adopted, the Prime Minister would have to go to the European Union and seek to change the political declaration. At that point, it would come back to the House, and the test that the Government rightly set in section 13 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018—the approval of the House for both the political declaration and the withdrawal agreement—would have to be passed.