The result was still in favour of leaving with no deal. We are told that emergency legislation is necessary, but the reality is that the Prime Minister has already said that she will seek an extension beyond
Not only is this Bill not an emergency; it is also not necessary. As I said, the Prime Minister has already agreed to seek a further extension, which is what this Bill seeks to achieve. If passed, it will become UK law. When the Prime Minister recently sought an extension to the
I have another point: traditionally, only a Minister may move a money resolution in support of legislation that requires expenditure of public funds. There is a very good reason for that: it is because the Government have responsibility for the Budget. If they want to spend more, they have to raise more money through taxes or borrowing. This Bill could have very significant financial consequences indeed. Staying in the EU for any length of time would be an extremely expensive thing to do and I believe that it would need a money resolution, which must be moved by a Minister of the Crown in the other place. I understand that a report from the other place says that, if we extended our stay in the EU for two more years, it would cost the UK taxpayer some £36 billion—a huge sum of money.
I was quite taken by something that my noble friend the Leader of the House said in her remarks earlier today. She said:
“Because of the speed at which this legislation is being considered, we have genuine concerns that this Bill could tie the hands of government and, in fact, be contrary to its stated objectives”,
and could lock us into leaving without a deal. My noble friend then gave the example of the Prime Minister going to Brussels next Wednesday. She might ask for a further extension to, say, Friday
I do not think that that will happen. I do not believe that this Bill will have any teeth if it is passed. If the Prime Minister wants to accept the offer of a new date from the EU, she will just get her man in Brussels to write another letter. This will again create an international agreement, which will trump anything that the Commons proposes through this Bill.