European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:42 pm on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bilimoria Lord Bilimoria Crossbench 9:42 pm, 4th April 2019

Absolutely not. The noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, is here. She was a member of that committee, and I have sat on the committee with her. I was referring to other people. By the way, today’s running order was blessed by the Government. Could the Minister explain how they came to that?

Today, I was not proud of the behaviour of our House. At many stages I felt ashamed of the disgraceful behaviour that I do not think was befitting of the finest, highest-quality debating Chamber in the world. I asked one of our Members who has been here for nearly 50 years, “How bad is this compared with Maastricht?” He said, “Maastricht was a tea party compared with this”.

My noble friend Lord Pannick has clearly said that the Bill is not perfect. None of us says that it is perfect; it was rushed through at the other end. However, he and my noble and learned friend Lord Judge have already found a way of amending the Bill in Committee that will allow it to be effective and will prevent us reaching the cliff edge.

Before I conclude, I want to emphasise how much we need the Bill, because what has been agreed so far is nothing. If my noble friend Lord Kerr were here, he would say, “I wrote Article 50 in order for those two years to be used to agree a future relationship. The withdrawal Bill just becomes part of that, and then you leave after two years having agreed it”. We have not negotiated our future relationship. We have negotiated only three things: people, the backstop and money. And £39 billion out of a £2 trillion economy is absolutely not material in the long run; this big figure is actually not a material figure. What about the political declaration—the wish list of our future? Nothing has been negotiated at all: tariffs, customs, services, market access, regulation, financial services, digital, capital markets, intellectual property, movement of people, aviation, roads, maritime, energy, civil nuclear, data exchange, foreign policy, security, defence, space, cybersecurity or counterterrorism—