European Union (Withdrawal)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:16 pm on 3rd September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 7:16 pm, 3rd September 2019

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. What is happening is a deliberate attempt to sow the seed for an extension long enough for a second referendum or simply to stop us leaving at all. It is about denying Brexit, and the fact that the Bill mandates updates on negotiations and motions on those updates on a rolling 28-day basis clearly envisages either a lengthy extension or possibly indefinite vassalage. These seeds could grow into legislation to be introduced on 15 January, 12 February and every 28 days thereafter to command the Government to take specific actions. The aim is to create a marionette Government in which there is only nominal confidence, and it defies the convention in what we are doing today—a convention of great importance, that emergency legislation is passed only when there is a consensus.

Governments less benign than this one may in future learn from this process and ram through any legislation they feel like. Without consensus, those on the Opposition Benches should be very careful about emergency legislation, for they may find they are at the wrong end of it in the future. We should be trying to help the Prime Minister in his chance to negotiate, not trying to bind him hand and foot. Not only do we want to be the vassal state of the European Union; we wish to send the Prime Minister, bound hand and foot, to go and negotiate with the European Union.