Duties in connection with Article 50 extension

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 8th April 2019.

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Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 9:45 pm, 8th April 2019

I regret that we are debating this Bill, as it is unnecessary and has been progressed through Parliament without due and necessary time for debate or scrutiny. I share the view of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House that it is a matter of deep regret that we are considering the Bill this evening. Given that the other place has given it a great deal more consideration than this House, we should reflect on its amendments.

As the House is aware, the Government have already set in train the process to achieve a short extension. As my hon. Friend Charlie Elphicke pointed out, the Bill is not necessary to do that. When this House approved the Bill, I pointed out that it was being passed in haste. We had a heavily truncated Second Reading, a short Committee stage and no debate on Report or Third Reading. That was followed by an unusually expedited process in the other place, where there was an unprecedented use, much remarked on by the noble Lords, of closure motions during the debate on the business motion. No Government or Parliament should welcome this unhealthy state of affairs.