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Parliamentary sovereignty

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:38 pm on 8th January 2020.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons) 2:38 pm, 8th January 2020

I rise to speak about parliamentary sovereignty. Clause 38 is a puzzle, and we have tabled our amendment 11 to tease out more of that puzzle, to try to work out what it is for and to expose some of what we on this side believe has been quite puzzling leadership on the part of those who have been peddling the idea that we are going to take back control of our laws, our money and our borders because they have somehow not been under our control for the last 40 years. I am going to stop using the phrase “take back control” in a moment, but I will first analyse it to make my point about our amendment.

We have been repeatedly told that the EU referendum was about taking back control and restoring parliamentary sovereignty. I am seeing nods from certain esteemed Government Members telling me that that is indeed what it was about. It was not about that, however. I find this most puzzling. Have we ever actually lost our parliamentary sovereignty? The answer is, of course, no. Saying that Brexit is about taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders is quite extraordinary. Let us start with laws. Have all the laws we have passed in the past 40 years been just a dream? Did we imagine all those laws? Just in the four years since I took my seat, we have passed law after law. We have put Bills through a process of scrutiny, debate and amendment.