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‘In paragraph 14 of Schedule 7 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (regulations amending the definition of “exit day” to be subject to approval by each House of Parliament) for the words from “may” to “each” substitute “is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either”.’—(Mr Robin Walker.)
This new clause changes the procedure for regulations, under section 20(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, altering the definition of “exit day” from affirmative to negative procedure.
Brought up, and added to the Bill.
The Speaker resumed the Chair.
Bill, as amended, reported.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The House of Commons is about to pass a major piece of legislation without a Report stage or a substantive Third Reading. If the Government did this, the House would rightly be deeply irritated with them, so the House should find no virtue in its actions this evening.
The hon. Gentleman has made his own point in his own way and with his usual sincerity. The matter of virtue is not to be adjudicated by the Chair, but his point is on the record.
The hon. Gentleman invests me with powers that I do not possess. I do not know whether I should be grateful to him. If he were right, perhaps I would be, but he isn’t, so I can’t. I fear we will have to leave it there, but I have heard his dulcet tones, and they will ring in my ears for some considerable time to come. I thank him for what he has said.
Bill, as amended in the Committee, considered.
Question put forthwith (Order, this day), That the Bill be now read the Third time.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Given the strong feelings that there are on this issue and the tightness of the vote, it is important to say how welcome it is that this has been a very considered and thoughtful debate throughout today. I am sure that that is the way that we want all the debates on this to take place.
The House has tonight voted again to make clear the real concern that there would be about a chaotic and damaging no deal and to support the Prime Minister’s commitment to ensure that we do not end up with no deal on
Finally, I thank Sir Oliver Letwin and the hon. Member for Grantham and Sleaford for their work on this Bill and on previous Bills to make sure that we could get this far, and, I hope, to help the Prime Minister to persuade her Cabinet and others how important this is.
I note what the right hon. Lady has said and I thank her for it.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have heard what the right hon. Lady has said, but it is difficult to argue that we have had an extremely considered debate when the Bill has been rammed through the House of Commons in barely four hours. That is not a considered debate; that is a constitutional outrage. It went through in the end by one vote. That, to me, does not represent the long-term, settled will of the House of Commons. [Interruption.] Someone shouts from a sedentary position “52:48”. There is a difference between a majority of 1.4 million and one. All I would say to hon. Members opposite is that the public will not be impressed by this. Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.
I note what the right hon. Gentleman has said. He speaks for himself and conceivably for others as well, and there are people who take a different view, but he has put it in a perfectly orderly way. There is, however, nothing disorderly about these proceedings. I absolutely understand his point of view, shared by his hon. Friend Sir William Cash and many others, that this is not a procedure that should be followed, but it is not a disorderly procedure.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Of course this has been a quality debate, but an altogether too brief one. I know how their Lordships feel about ill-considered and briskly prepared legislation going up to their Lordships’ House in an inadequate state, as I am sure this Bill is, so I place on the record my fervent hope that their Lordships will examine this Bill line by line and explore every possibility for amendment of this legislation for as long as they think is necessary.
I note what the hon. Gentleman has said. I am sure that the other place will become aware of his words and will make its own judgment, as he rightly suggests.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. We started the process of voting at 9.54 pm, and it has taken us until nearly half-past 11 to complete it. I am, of course, making my usual point about electronic voting and how much more efficient the process could be, but there is also a serious aspect in that the catering staff, the Clerks and all the other staff of the House have been dragged here and have had to stay until half-past 11. Surely all Members who are present agree that we need to move into the 21st century and introduce electronic voting.
The hon. Gentleman is nothing if not persistent in making that point. He knows, because I have indicated it on other occasions elsewhere, that I happen to have great sympathy for his point of view: I have said so many times in speeches and lectures around the country. However, I am fully aware of, and very respectful towards, the fact that the judgment would have to be made by the House of Commons as a whole. Each of us can have our own opinion, and the matter may come to be considered in due course. We shall see.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wonder if I can invite Yvette Cooper to correct what I believe that I just heard her say. She thanked those who had supported the passing of her Bill, mentioning my right hon. Friend Sir Oliver Letwin and “the hon. Member for Grantham and Sleaford”. I am the hon. Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham, and I do not support the Bill.
That is very gracious, and I trust it will be accepted in the spirit in which it has been proffered.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wonder whether it would be in order to place on record the House’s thanks to, in particular, the Clerks and the staff of the Vote Office for the way in which they have received, marshalled, typed up, printed and distributed the papers that enabled us to consider the Bill this evening.
That is typically courteous of the right hon. Gentleman, and perhaps enables us to conclude the proceedings on a note of some amity. I entirely endorse what he has said, and I think that that other colleagues will do so as well. Extreme professionalism has been required, and it has been provided. I thank all the Clerks at the Table, and many others who are not currently in the Chamber, for the work that they have done.