Duties in connection with the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 6:00 pm, 4th September 2019

That is true. Indeed, we had all this back in April when, if one looks at the text of the decision and the manner in which it has taken, one can see that it was hedged with certain conditions. What is going on here is that this Bill is driving us to do something that is in complete contravention to the decision that has been taken already in section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which itself implements the decision that was taken by the British people. This Bill undermines the referendum, it undermines the law of the land as expressed in section 1 of the 2018 Act, and the commencement order has already been made.

I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union for bringing in that commencement order, which makes things a done deal. We are now in a position whereby we have repealed the European Communities Act 1972, subject only to the fact that the law of the land says that that will have effect on 31 October. This Bill is a monstrous piece of legislation designed to turn inside out not only our constitutional arrangements, but the decision of the British people in the referendum and Government policy.

The Prime Minister established another important point in his leadership election result. He got two thirds of the parliamentary Conservative party to vote for him, and he got two thirds of the grassroots—the associations—to vote for him. If ever a Prime Minister had a mandate to make such decisions within the framework of the Conservative party, it is there, which is another reason why I take exception to the fact that this Bill is going through because a number of colleagues—I am sorry to have to say this, because it is a sad business—are flying in the face of the mandate that the Prime Minister got within the framework of the Conservative party.

There is no doubt whatsoever that, within the framework of our constitution—and I will conclude with these words—it is simply monstrous that we should be put in a position where a judicial duty is imposed on the Prime Minister to make a decision under the terms of this Bill. Frankly, I find it inconceivable that anyone could possibly vote for it.