Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:20 pm on 3rd April 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 3:20 pm, 3rd April 2019

I could not disagree more, because the manner in which this is being done involves legislating in circumstances that will mean, as I said yesterday on a point of order, Mr Speaker, that all these arrangements are rammed through. There will be no practical opportunity today to make amendments and to get them tabled, discussed and voted on, because of the grouping system that we have under our procedures.

I say to Yvette Cooper that the fact is that this is a shambolic Bill. A number of things have to be changed in it. There are references to Acts of Parliament that do not exist and it is alleged that sections are in force when they are not. This Bill is a most unbelievable shambles, and the reality is that there is no excuse for it. Hon. Members have had the previous No. 4 Bill for some time, and they suddenly decided to accelerate this procedure to try to get some kind of political advantage, undermining the decision of the House in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018—that is, the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, which is related in turn to exit day. That exit day has been moved back by a statutory instrument. I personally think that it is unlawful, but that is a separate question, not for today. The repeal of the 1972 Act, on which everything depends—including that it is the anchor of the referendum itself—has to go in lockstep with exit day. Moving exit day does not prevent the repeal of the 1972 Act. All I can say is that that has fundamental relevance to what is going on today.

Turning to my next point, the real question is this: who governs this country? That is what Standing Order No. 14 is all about. I notice my hon. Friend the Member for Sandbach having a bit of a laugh there—