Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman, whose experience in these matters and whose prowess as a lawyer I readily acknowledge. I hope that he will not take it amiss—but if he does, it is a regrettable inevitability—when I say that he has put on record his understanding of the legal position, and he has said it, as he has on previous occasions, with crystal clarity. Other people have a different view about the legal position and the significance of the so-called Benn Act. If memory serves me correctly, I did not dwell in my statement on adherence to the law. I touched on that matter only in response to the point of order from Mr Bone. I totally understand what the hon. Member for Stone thinks and why.
Moreover, I made clear in the statement the option open to the Government, and I reiterated it in response to the hon. Member for Wellingborough. The amendment in the name of Sir Oliver Letwin, I remind not just Members, but those attending our proceedings, explicitly specified that the legislation should come first. Suddenly to have at the next sitting day a debate on the same matter upon which an explicit conclusion was reached on Saturday would seem very unusual, and I have made the judgment that I have made.
Colleagues, I am stating the obvious, but when you make a judgment on these matters, manifestly, some people, if it is controversial, are pleased and other people are displeased. That is in the nature of the responsibility. I have simply sought to discharge my obligations and to do what I believe to be right, and that is what the Speaker has to do.