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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:32 pm on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Labour 10:32 pm, 4th April 2019

My Lords, I did not hear much compromise in that last speech. The only reason we are here discussing this Bill is lack of trust and compromise throughout the whole process. We have just heard the embodiment of it, which was different from many of the other speeches over the last three and a half hours—they have been, as someone said, much pleasanter than what we might call the afternoon session, where it got pretty het up.

I will not try to wind up, but I will also not fall out with the staff of the House, so I might need some help. One of the early speeches that made me think was the very sharp speech of the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth. There is a lesson for us all in what he said not just about this Bill but beyond it about changes. I was really taken with that, as I was with the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, that there was a vacuum which the Commons started to fill. That is the reality. People may not like it, but a vacuum was left there.

Many noble Lords—I will not list them all—supported a second vote. I did not mention that in my opening speech, but I certainly support putting whatever decision is finally taken back to the people. It is preposterous to argue that we can all change our minds three or four times in both Houses but the people are not allowed to change their minds or think again when they know more facts.

First of all, criminal offences were committed by the leave campaign—no one has mentioned that. The fact is that a whole series of court cases is probably coming up, and I certainly hope that a few people will be locked up as a result of them. However, the fact is that things went wrong there. It is not relevant to the Bill, but it is there in the system, and it is partly that which has caused the lack of trust, as well as some of the bitterness around on both aspects of it.