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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:07 pm on 22nd October 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 3:07 pm, 22nd October 2019

I have two points. First, I do not sniff or cavil at the concern that the hon. Lady raises about the allocation of time, but ultimately the House has ownership of time in the simple sense that it determines acceptance or otherwise of the programme motion. Secondly—please do not take this as a pejorative observation, as I am just trying to take a holistic view of the situation—what she is really saying is that there is great disagreement about what is or is not the case. It calls to mind the fact that people often say, “Well, give us the facts and then we’ll make a judgment.” Sadly, it is not so simple. There is no agreement on what the facts are, and I am afraid that that has to come out in the course of the debate, which, as I say, is well beyond the competence of the Chair.

If there are no further points of order, we can now proceed, because I think that the leader of the Scottish National party, Ian Blackford, is in a state of heightened animation at the prospect of being able to orate to the House.