Leaving the Eu: Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:56 pm on 12th June 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 2:56 pm, 12th June 2019

First, I am speaking on behalf of this Government. I do not know who the next Prime Minister will be or what decisions they will take. I have set out the risks of any deviation, and Mr Speaker has made it very clear, in terms of the way in which he would represent the will of the House, that there are a number of avenues. I would not want to interpret a judgment from the Chair, but the hon. Lady knows full well that in her exchange about Standing Order No. 24, the response from the Chair is germane to the issue. Any attempt at prorogation would open the potential for SO 24 decisions.

Helen Goodman obviously did not want to deal with the text before the House, but let me consider what constitutional experts have said. Philip Cowley, professor at Queen Mary University’s School of Politics, said that taking the Order Paper outside the Government’s control would be

“one of the most fundamental shifts in the relationship between the government and parliament.”

[Interruption.] Opposition Members chunter, “We have already done this.” Yes, but let us look at how effective that was. When it was done by Yvette Cooper, it was justified on the basis of her concern about the imminent risk of no deal. The constitutional advice from people such as Philip Cowley and Vernon Bogdanor, professor at King’s College, London, who warned about the actions at the time, saying that they were “unconstitutional”, was overridden because, we were told, the risk of no deal merited that emergency legislation.