I oppose this business motion. The idea of speed legislating is dangerous and wrong on this occasion, although I fully accept that there are times when legislating at pace can make sense. If the House has a consensus and the matters are not contentious, of course there is no need to waste the House’s time on pointless debates in which Members try to think of something to say. Were there a great national emergency and most people in the House thought that the Government should take emergency powers to deal with a catastrophe, that would have to go through at pace. However, there is no national emergency that can justify this, and there is certainly no consensus in this House.
We cannot be sure how the vote will go this evening. It may be that my right hon. Friend Sir Oliver Letwin has enough Conservative rebels to tip it over the line—I think that that is the modern phrase—for himself, or it may be that enough Conservatives respond to the Government’s whipping and carry the day with our DUP partners. Either way, I think we can be sure that a large and significant minority of Members of Parliament who have lost will be in no way part of any consensus. On my side of the argument, there would be a minority who in no way think that such legislation should be rushed through at pace. We feel that we have every right to table amendments and to discuss them in the normal way.