Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:41 pm on 8th April 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 6:41 pm, 8th April 2019

The hon. Lady seems to suggest that the ends justify the means. I would never support the introduction of a Bill of this type by the House. If a Bill of such constitutional significance were introduced by the Government, it would be subjected to extensive consideration. That would include consideration by the Parliamentary Business and Legislation Committee, which consists of business managers, law officers, territorial Ministers and others. The Committee would test the policy and the handling plans, ensuring good engagement with Members on both sides of the House.

There is a private Member’s Bill procedure, which is what the Bill’s promoters have sought to use. According to that procedure, the Bill would normally be considered on a sitting Friday, and the process would take place slowly, enabling the Government to check for drafting problems and enabling all colleagues to consult on whether they believe that the outcome would be right. This Bill—following a couple of hours of debate, and with very poor drafting and a great degree of urgency—seeks to challenge the result of the referendum that was held in June 2916. That simply cannot support the hon. Lady’s apparent suggestion that the end justifies the means.