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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Committee (7th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 14th March 2018.

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Photo of Lord Reid of Cardowan Lord Reid of Cardowan Labour 4:15 pm, 14th March 2018

A much wiser and older head than me, Merlyn Rees, once told me that, when listening to a Minister’s replies, I should forget everything before the “but”; I include in that everything before the “however”. What follows the “however” gives the Government executive powers to take a course of action completely opposite to the amendments that say that a vote should be done before the European Parliament votes. Of course the Government do not control the timetable for the European Parliament, but they control the timetable for this Parliament. We are asking for the vote to be given substance and time—rather than being a theoretical meaningful vote—as well as an assurance that the decision will be taken by this Parliament before we have to sit and watch the European Parliament voting on the deal. Can the Minister address that issue and explain to us why it is impossible to do that simple thing?