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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:14 pm on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Deech Baroness Deech Crossbench 10:14 pm, 4th April 2019

The noble and learned Lord referred to this as the greatest crisis since the Second World War. Briefly, that brought to mind the famous case of Liversidge v Anderson, the facts of which I need not remind him of. There were emergency powers and the majority of the court held, “Yes, that’s all right, let’s lock this chap up”. The judgment we remember now, and it was famous even then, was the judgment of Lord Atkin, who said:

“In England, amidst the clash of arms, the laws are not silent. They may be changed, but they speak the same language in war as in peace”.

We stick to the principles we have always had. His reference to Second World War reminded me of that: when you have an emergency—and I would not compare this with the Second World War—it is all the more important to use the proper constitutional principles.