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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (6th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 8th May 2018.

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Photo of The Bishop of Leeds The Bishop of Leeds Bishop 4:00 pm, 8th May 2018

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response and all those who have spoken in the debate. I often find myself changing my mind when I hear good argument but I cannot assure the House that I have done that in this case. The Minister referred to the sentiment behind the amendment, but it is not sentiment: what I offered was a rationale, not a sentiment. The intention behind it is as I stated in my speech. I take the comment of the noble Lord, Lord Baker, about “common sense”, but every time I hear the phrase I begin to worry. Usually, common sense is so common and so thinly spread that it does not always apply in the specific, and as they say, the devil lies in the detail. So I am not sure that it is enough just to be sure that things will continue, or that we can continue to hope.

The noble Lord, Lord Adonis, said that it is not good for businesses and so on to be in the wilderness. I totally agree, but my point in using that metaphor is that we are, whether we like it or not, going to find ourselves in some sort of wilderness, because it will take a long time to work this through. It will not be that suddenly on day one, whether we stay or leave, everything in the garden is rosy. I am just being realistic about that. Finally, I find the repeated charge that this House is trying to impose on the Government, or tell the Government what to do, tiresome. It seems to me—I may be simple—that the remit and responsibility of this House is to send back to the Government and to the other House arguments that may make them think again. Otherwise, we have no purpose. So, while I take the comments seriously, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

Ayes 298, Noes 227.