European Union (Withdrawal)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:51 pm on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Oliver Letwin Oliver Letwin Conservative, West Dorset 6:51 pm, 3rd September 2019

I beg to move,

That this House has considered the matter of the need to take all necessary steps to ensure that the United Kingdom does not leave the European Union on 31 October 2019 without a withdrawal agreement and accordingly makes provision as set out in this order:

(1) On Wednesday 4 September 2019

(a) Standing Order No. 14(1) (which provides that government business shall have precedence at every sitting save as provided in that order) shall not apply;

(b) any proceedings governed by this order may be proceeded with until any hour, though opposed, and shall not be interrupted;

(c) the Speaker may not propose the question on the previous question, and may not put any question under Standing Order No. 36 (Closure of debate) or Standing Order No. 163 (Motion to sit in private);

(d) at 3.00 pm, the Speaker shall interrupt any business prior to the business governed by this order and call a Member to present the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill of which notice of presentation has been given and immediately thereafter (notwithstanding the practice of the House) call a Member to move the motion that the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill be now read a second time as if it were an order of the House;

(e) in respect of that Bill, notices of Amendments, new Clauses and new Schedules to be moved in Committee may be accepted by the Clerks at the Table before the Bill has been read a second time.

(f) any proceedings interrupted or superseded by this order may be resumed or (as the case may be) entered upon and proceeded with after the moment of interruption.

(2) The provisions of paragraphs (3) to (18) of this order shall apply to and in connection with the proceedings on the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill in the present Session of Parliament.

Timetable for the Bill on Wednesday 4 September 2019

(3) (a) Proceedings on Second Reading and in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be taken at the sitting on Wednesday 4 September 2019 in accordance with this Order.

(b) Proceedings on Second Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) at 5.00 pm.

(c) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) at 7.00 pm.

Timing of proceedings and Questions to be put on Wednesday 4 September 2019

(4) When the Bill has been read a second time:

(a) it shall, notwithstanding bills not subject to a programme order">Standing Order No. 63 (Committal of bills not subject to a programme order), stand committed to a Committee of the whole House without any Question being put;

(b) the Speaker shall leave the Chair whether or not notice of an Instruction has been given.

(5) (a) On the conclusion of proceedings in Committee of the whole House, the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.

(b) If the Bill is reported with amendments, the House shall proceed to consider the Bill as amended without any Question being put.

(6) For the purpose of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (3), the Chairman or Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions in the same order as they would fall to be put if this Order did not apply—

(a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;

(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed;

(c) the Question on any amendment, new clause or new schedule selected by the Chairman or Speaker for separate decision;

(d) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a designated Member;

(e) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded; and shall not put any other Questions, other than the Question on any motion described in paragraph (16) of this Order.

(7) On a Motion made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.

Consideration of Lords Amendments and Messages on a subsequent day

(8) If any message on the Bill (other than a message that the House of Lords agrees with the Bill without amendment or agrees with any message from this House) is expected from the House of Lords on any future sitting day, the House shall not adjourn until that message has been received and any proceedings under paragraph (10) have been concluded.

(9) On any day on which such a message is received, if a designated Member indicates to the Speaker an intention to proceed to consider that message—

(a) notwithstanding Standing Order No. 14(1) (which provides that government business shall have precedence at every sitting save as provided in that order), any Lords Amendments to the Bill or any further Message from the Lords on the Bill may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly;

(b) proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments or on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and any proceedings suspended under subparagraph (a) shall thereupon be resumed;

(c) the Speaker may not propose the question on the previous question, and may not put any question under Standing Order No. 36 (Closure of debate) or Standing Order No. 163 (Motion to sit in private) in the course of those proceedings.

(10) If such a message is received on or before the commencement of public business on Monday 9 September and a designated Member indicates to the Speaker an intention to proceed to consider that message, that message shall be considered before any order of the day or notice of motion which stands on the Order Paper.

(11) Paragraphs (2) to (7) of Standing Order No. 83F (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on consideration of Lords amendments) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments to a conclusion as if:

(a) any reference to a Minister of the Crown were a reference to a designated Member;

(b) after paragraph (4)(a) there is inserted –

“(aa) the question on any amendment or motion selected by the Speaker for separate decision;”.

(12) Paragraphs (2) to (5) of Standing Order No. 83G (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on further messages from the Lords) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings on consideration of a Lords Message to a conclusion as if:

(a) any reference to a Minister of the Crown were a reference to a designated Member;

(b) in paragraph (5), the words “subject to paragraphs (6) and (7)” were omitted.

Reasons Committee

(13) Paragraphs (2) to (6) of Standing Order No. 83H (Programme orders: reasons committee) apply in relation to any committee to be appointed to draw up reasons after proceedings have been brought to a conclusion in accordance with this Order as if any reference to a Minister of the Crown were a reference to a designated Member.

Miscellaneous

(14) Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply in relation to any proceedings on the Bill to which this Order applies.

(15) No Motion shall be made, except by a designated Member, to alter the order in which any proceedings on the Bill are taken, to recommit the Bill or to vary or supplement the provisions of this Order.

(16) (a) No dilatory Motion shall be made in relation to proceedings on the Bill to which this Order applies except by a designated Member.

(b) The Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

(17) Proceedings to which this Order applies shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

(18) No private business may be considered at any sitting to which the provisions of this order apply.

Motion under section 3(2)(b) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019

(19) No motion may be made by a Minister of the Crown under section 3(2)(b) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 prior to Monday 9 September.

Royal Assent

(20) At the sittings on Monday 9 September, Tuesday 10 September and Wednesday 11 September, the House shall not adjourn until the Speaker shall have reported the Royal Assent to any Act agreed upon by both Houses.

Proceedings in next Session of Parliament

(21) The provisions of paragraphs (22) and (23) of this order apply to and in connection with proceedings on a Bill in the next Session of the present Parliament if—

(a) the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill has been read the third time in the present Session of Parliament but has not received the Royal Assent;

(b) the Speaker is satisfied that the Bill is in similar terms to the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill in the present Session of Parliament;

(c) notice of presentation of the Bill is to be given by a designated Member.

(22) Where the conditions in paragraph (21) are met, Standing Order No. 14(11) (which relates to precedence in respect of private Members’ Bills) shall not apply in respect of the Bill in the new Session and notice of presentation of that Bill may be given on the first day of the new Session accordingly.

(23) Where the conditions in paragraph (21) are met, the provisions of paragraphs (1), (3) to (9) and (11) to (18) shall apply to proceedings on and in connection with the Bill in the new Session as they apply to the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill and any reference in this order to Wednesday 4 September shall apply as if it were a reference to the second day of the new Session.

Interpretation, etc

(24) In this Order, “a designated Member” means—

(a) the Member in charge of the Bill in the present Session of Parliament; and

(b) any other Member backing the Bill in the present Session of Parliament and acting on behalf of that Member.

(25) This order shall be a Standing Order of the House.

This Motion arises because of four facts. The first fact is that, over the past six weeks, the Government have not produced a single indication of any viable proposal to replace the backstop by any alternative likely to prove acceptable to the EU. The likelihood of the Government reaching a deal at the European Council meeting on 17 and 18 October on the terms that the Government themselves have set is accordingly slight.

The second fact is that this is the last week in which Parliament will have the ability to block a no-deal exit on 31 October, because the Government are proroguing us until 14 October, and they have made it clear that they will fight in the courts any legislation proposed and passed to mandate an extension of the article 50 process. There will not be time after 14 October for Parliament both to legislate and for that legislation to be enforced on a reluctant Government through the courts.

The third fact is that, in the absence of a deal with the EU on the terms that the Government themselves have set and in the absence of an order from the Supreme Court that the Government should apply to extend the article 50 period, the Government will lead our country into a no-deal exit on 31 October. That has been made clear by the Prime Minister on repeated occasions.

The fourth and final fact is that, instead of constituting a threat to the EU that will force them to capitulate and remove the backstop, the Government’s intention or willingness to lead the country into a no-deal exit is a threat to our country. The Prime Minister is much in the position of someone standing on one side of a canyon shouting to people on the other side of the canyon that if they do not do as he wishes, he will throw himself into the abyss. That is not a credible negotiating strategy, and it is also not a responsible strategy, given that the rest of us are to be dragged over the edge with the Prime Minister.