I thank the Leader of the House for at least giving us the second part of our Easter break.
We really could not make it up: of all the dates to kick the Brexit can down the road to, Halloween could not be a more appropriate destination. Can we therefore have a debate about something that this House is now supremely experienced in: horror and ghouls? That is the date that this House of horrors will eventually meet its Brexit afterlife, and if that is not frightening enough, there is nothing in store for us other than more torment, purgatory and trick or treat, with a special emphasis on trick.
When watching the scenes from yesterday, it must have seemed to so many of my colleagues on the Government side to be the ultimate humiliation and the real horror. Their Prime Minister was sitting in an anteroom waiting to hear what the EU were prepared to grant the UK. After telling us that we would be out of the EU by the 29th of last month, after saying that there would be no extension, and after trying to secure a short extension, they are now obliged to contest the European parliamentary elections, in which they will undoubtedly be gubbed. If that is taking back control, can we not just go back to the good old days when we were just a bog-standard vassal state?
We have been warned that the House should not waste the time that the EU has so generously granted us. Can the Leader of the House detail how the time will be used much more productively and convince us that there will not be just more of the same repetitive and ultimately doomed agenda; no more of this “My way or the highway”; no more not listening; and no more not compromising? Will there be a real attempt to work right across the House and engage with all parts of the UK to show that the Government are at least prepared to listen to others?
Lastly, I very much welcome Ruth Jones— she is more than welcome in this House—and I congratulate Sarah Davies on her new appointment to Clerk Assistant. I also take this opportunity to thank the staff of the House, including the police and all those who look after us. It must be difficult to work in a House dominated by chaos, indecision and confusion, when arrangements are changed at the last possible minute, but they have dealt with it stoically and without any complaints. I wish them the very best for the week that they will have for the Easter break.