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 Robertson of Port Ellen Lord Robertson of Port Ellen Labour 5:15 pm, 8th April 2019

Momentarily, of course, because that silence has been purely motivated by my loyalty to the Government Chief Whip and his assurance last Thursday about the speed with which this legislation would be put through. Like the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, I am not a lawyer, I am simply—like him—a politician. I heard one of the Bishops this morning on “Thought for the Day” quoting somebody as saying that politics is the art of the possible, and indeed it is. It is the possibility that we leave on Friday of this week—my birthday, as it happens—crashing out without any withdrawal agreement, which should frighten us all. Anybody who is in any doubt about that might read the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Stern, at Second Reading last week—a chilling and brief speech about the consensus view of economists.

A lot of lawyers have spoken in this debate and, indeed, last week as well. The House has a range of opinions from which it can choose, as is usually the case when you commission lawyers. In my case, I choose the view of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick. I simply point to the fact that I have said not a word during these proceedings on the Bill, but people will notice that the size of the majority in the last Division probably achieved record proportions. Maybe some other people should take a lesson from silence.