Progress reports

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:45 pm on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield 12:45 pm, 18th July 2019

Before I give way, let me just add that the House should be perfectly aware that I abstained on the amendments concerning abortion and same-sex marriage precisely for that reason, but I do not think that it is illegitimate of Members of this House to feel that the time has come to express a view in the absence of an Administration.

Let me turn to the issues relating to Lords amendment 1, which I support, and the amendment to it proposed by Hilary Benn. We face an extraordinary situation. To do its business, the House has to sit. It is perfectly normal for the House to assert that it wants, at various times, to be able to consider issues, particularly in the Northern Ireland context, in which the situation changes rapidly. Yet we have been confronted with a most unusual situation: there is a suggestion that there would be periods when, for other reasons, we would be prevented from sitting. We are responsible for ensuring, or trying to ensure, good governance. I think that is why we have the portcullis as our symbol: we are supposed to be the protectors of the nation.