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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:18 am on 17th October 2019.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 11:18 am, 17th October 2019

I thank the Leader of the House for announcing—well, something, anyway, that it looks as though we will be doing next week.

I, too, welcome the new Serjeant at Arms, Ugbana Oyet. I think that all of us on these Benches are looking forward very much to meeting him and working with him in the future.

It was uncharacteristic of the Leader of the House not to announce today that he had secured his deal—and well done to him and his Government for eventually getting something after all this time. The only problem is that it is a worse deal than that of Mrs May. It takes Scotland out of the European Union against its national collective will, it deprives us of customs union and single market membership, and it will stop the freedom of movement on which our economy and so many vital sectors depend.

They are all still on the Hillary Step. The dark clouds are still there, and the mist is still in the air in the shape of the Democratic Unionist party. Sherpa Foster has unshackled herself from the Prime Minister, and is busily descending the mountain as we speak.

May we have a debate on culinary delicacies? The plat du jour for the Leader of the House is his own words: a delicious Northern Irish Brexit jambalaya of choice vocabulary including “impractical”, “bureaucratic” and “betrayal of common sense”, all washed down with the finest Château Cretinous. Churchill may indeed have found his own words very nutritious, but I suspect that the Leader of the House will only get indigestion.

We will deal with the issue of the Saturday sitting when we debate the motion, but we will complete our debates on the Queen’s Speech in the next few days, and it looks very likely that a Queen’s Speech will be voted down for the first time since 1924, when Stanley Baldwin was in power. May I ask the Leader of the House what happens in such circumstances? He will obviously tell me that he thinks and hopes that the Queen’s Speech will get through, but what will happen if it does not? We have heard from the Government that they intend to introduce the measures in the Queen’s Speech Bill by Bill. If that is indeed their intention, I should like the Leader of the House to confirm it to the House. I know that he likes to give his views on such issues, so let us see whether he can be straightforward with the House today.

The Leader of the House will have noted from what was said at the Scottish National party conference that we intend to hold an independence referendum next year. We as a nation must unshackle ourselves from this whole ugly, disastrous Brexit business, an issue that we wanted absolutely nothing to do with. Is it not interesting that under the deal that has been announced today, Northern Ireland will be given a differential deal on single market membership, Wales will get what it wants, and the rest of the UK will get what it wants as well? The only nation that does not get what it wanted in relation to Europe is Scotland, and that is not good enough.