European Union (Withdrawal)

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

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee 7:16 pm, 3rd September 2019

Order. I know that the hon. Gentleman will not presume to argue with the judgment of the Chair, entitled as he is to the possession and expression of his opinion. What I say to him in order to help him and to assist the Leader of the House is this: if, in the judgment of the Chair, a motion under Standing Order No. 24 is expressed in neutral terms, it will not be open to amendment—if it is judged to be expressed in neutral terms. The reality of the matter is that there have been previous occasions upon which there have been Standing Order No. 24 motion debates which have contained what I would prefer to call evaluative motions, notably on 18 March 2013 and on 11 December 2018 with which I feel sure the Leader of the House is familiar. It is in conformity with that practice that I have operated. I have taken advice of a professional kind, and I am entirely satisfied that the judgment that I have made is consistent with that advice. My attitude is simply to seek to facilitate the House. The Leader of the House rightly referred to my responsibility as grave and solemn, and I completely accept that as well as I accept his right to his own view about my judgment in this matter. I have sought to exercise my judgment in discharging my responsibility to facilitate the House of Commons—to facilitate the Legislature. I have done it, I am doing it, and I will do it to the best of my ability without fear or favour—or, to coin a phrase, come what may, do or die.