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Article 50 (Constitution Committee Report) - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:24 pm on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Lang of Monkton Lord Lang of Monkton Chair, Constitution Committee 7:24 pm, 22nd November 2016

My Lords, there is another debate waiting to start and the hour is advancing so I shall have to be brief. Fortunately, and happily, the reply that my noble friend the Minister has just given to the debate was so comprehensive and thorough that my task is made very much easier. I thank him for that on behalf of everyone who has spoken in the debate, and for the energy and commitment that he has shown throughout the time he has occupied this position on behalf of this House’s interest in Brexit matters.

This has been a serious and well-informed debate and I thank all those from all parts of the House who have spoken, particularly the leading spokesman for the Liberal Democrat Party—the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford—and, for the Labour Party, almost on her own until the very last minute, the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter. We heard particular expertise from the Cross Benches, which we almost take for granted but value very much indeed. I am grateful that each committee’s report was well received, not just by those members of the relevant committee who had helped to write it. We tried very hard to get them right. It is encouraging if the House thinks that we did.

As well as the many familiar points that were made during the debate, lots of individual, interesting, specific and new points were made that are novel and worth pursuing. That makes the debate more worth while than it might otherwise have been, and so does the fact that there was not complete unanimity on every single aspect of what was debated. There have been many variations on a theme but I think the central message that came through came from the speech of my noble friend Lord Boswell of Aynho right at the beginning, when he said that the Government must make a positive commitment to engaging with Parliament. That sums up a lot of the sentiment expressed in the course of the last few hours. I earnestly hope that today’s debate and the two reports may contribute to improving the handling of our nation’s approach to Brexit and to what follows.

Motion agreed.