Amendment 8

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill - Committee – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 8th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Wallace of Saltaire Lord Wallace of Saltaire Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 5:15 pm, 8th April 2019

My Lords, I have been thinking hard over the past few weeks about the meaning of parliamentary sovereignty, which was one of the things that the leave campaign strongly campaigned to restore. Last week, I was struck to hear Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg in the other place defend the relationship between the Government and Parliament at the time of Henry VIII as the most appropriate relationship between monarch and Parliament. Oliver Letwin replied that we had fought a civil war a century later to establish a proper relationship between the Executive and the legislature.

Much of what we are doing in this Bill is not entirely ideal. We need not have had this Bill if the Government had been more united, if negotiations had been expedited and if Parliament had been more actively engaged at an earlier stage. We are now up against a tight deadline and we have to take some emergency measures. That is where we are and we need to recognise that.