Amendment 5

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

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

My Lords, I had not intended to speak. I do not think that this is a good Bill. There have been much better Bills, and the process that we have been through has not been the House at its best, because events have forced the situation on us. Therefore, I apologise to the House. I did not put my name down to speak at Second Reading—I had not intended to speak at all. I support this amendment, because I think it will make a bad Bill rather better.

May I diverge, however? We are setting a precedent. There is no point in pretending that we have not set a precedent by what has happened. If I may, I offer this comfort: sometimes precedents do not have to be followed. This allows a precedent. I suggest to whichever side of the House is in power for the next 20, 30, 40 or 50 years that we do not allow it to be followed again. At least we should communicate our view that this, whether precedent or not—and it was—is a one-off and goes no further.

The point of Amendment 7 is very simple: we want to make the Bill a little better than it is by removing the constraints that are otherwise imposed on the Prime Minister. That, I respectfully suggest to the House, is desirable. As I do not intend to speak or have my speaking taken as support for this—