Amendment 2

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 17th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord True Lord True Chair, Intergenerational Fairness and Provision Committee 4:15 pm, 17th July 2019

Outrageous? Let us be grown-up here. Everybody understands the purport of the remark. Mr Johnson does not wish to prorogue Parliament. He has not said so, and he does not need to, because, following the Gina Miller case, there has been an Act of Parliament, passed by this Parliament, in this Session, requiring the UK by statute to leave the EU, as requested by the British people, on 31 October. It is simply rubbish to say that there might be an attempt stop Parliament legislating on Brexit. Parliament has already legislated, and talk about a so-called unlawful shutdown of Parliament or hyperbole about a ban on Parliament sitting reflects nothing Mr Johnson has ever said. It is so much chaff thrown up by the ditchers among the more extreme referendum deniers.

If Parliament wishes to stop Brexit, the route is open: a vote of no confidence in the Government, and the installation of a new Government. That new Government can turn to the British people and say, as I often hear people say in this House, “Sorry, 17.4 million, you are stupid, you did not know what you were voting for, you do not understand the facts as we clever people do, so, sorry, Brexit is off”. If you want to change the policy and say that and do that to the British people, change the Government. That is the proper way to proceed.

It is indicative of the state of the Labour Party—the consistent deliverer, as I said the other day, of 220 votes in Division after Division in the other place—that instead of taking that open and honest course, challenging the Government in a vote of no confidence, it footles around in the small print of a Northern Ireland Bill, shuffling courageously sideways under the genial cloak provided by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and into the arms of the Liberal Democrats, who, given half a chance, would snuff Labour out.