Early parliamentary general election

Part of Early Parliamentary General Election Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 29th October 2019.

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Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire Conservative, East Devon 6:15 pm, 29th October 2019

No, I will not give way. As a former Minister of State for Northern Ireland, which I do not believe David Linden is, I care passionately about Northern Ireland, and I am concerned about some aspects of how the proposed legislation affects Northern Ireland. That said, it is my understanding that if the date of the election is brought forward, that will prevent much of the legislation we need to empower the civil service in Northern Ireland to do their job. Why are the Scottish Nats prepared to play politics, and to what end, with the people of Northern Ireland if they care about Northern Ireland, or perhaps they wish to cast them to one side?

I am extremely glad and relieved that the wrecking amendments have not been selected, such as the one giving EU nationals the right to vote in British elections. I ask again: where can British citizens vote in national elections in the EU? The answer is nowhere. In terms of the sudden discovery that votes should be given to 16-year-olds as a matter of course, everybody realises that that cannot be done in the timetable available; it is another wrecking amendment.

The British people are watching our deliberations this evening. They want an election. They understand that the date for the election is partially informed by the desire to have good governance and good government for the people of Northern Ireland. It is worth remembering that the institutions are not up and running there. It would be foolhardy to bring the election forward by a matter of days and frustrate that, and therefore amendment 2 should be resisted.