Amendment 5

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill - Committee – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 8th April 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Cormack Lord Cormack Conservative 4:00 pm, 8th April 2019

My Lords, I think we should remember that there is no precedent, no parallel, to the situation in which we have found ourselves in recent weeks. As we said at Second Reading last Thursday night, a group of very courageous Members from both sides of the House, and from minority parties, came together to fill a vacuum. After that, the Prime Minister made her welcome overture to other parties, something that should have been done after the General Election when we lost our majority.

That changed the situation. Nevertheless, I believe that those who promoted this Bill were entirely justified in so doing. We have had this welcome development from the Prime Minister, so it is entirely sensible that the amendments moved by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, and the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, should be accepted by this House. They give the Prime Minister, in this, the ultimate hour—because that is what we are talking about—the freedom to be able to negotiate on Wednesday. It would be manifestly absurd if she did not have that freedom.

We should accept these amendments. I think they improve the Bill. I very much hope that those in another place accept them in the spirit in which they have been moved, and then, perhaps, we can all move on.