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

I did not count how many words there were in her conditional thing about “expressly used to force through something that has been rejected by Parliament, blah blah blah”, if I may say so, with respect. That is a construct that was created, and we have heard it from the noble Lord, Lord Pannick. It is not possible to construe what the motive of a Prime Minister in a private audience might be for seeking a Prorogation. I do not think we should ask the courts to do that, although we have the right to do so. On her other point, we have statute. This is not about stopping Parliament legislating. I tried to make this point earlier: after the Gina Miller case, Parliament legislated. We are leaving the European Union, and in law we are leaving on 31 October. I am afraid her arguments do not stand up.

I want to finish, and that will please noble Lords. I believe it is a bad way to treat Parliament to festoon a fast-tracked Bill with extraneous matters such as this. In my submission, it is a particularly insulting way, in this case, to treat the good people of Northern Ireland. They deserve far better than having their future provision made the plaything of others with other axes to grind. This is a Bill about the formation of a Northern Ireland Executive, which we all very much wish to see. We should return to that.

Amendments such as those before us were rejected in the House of Commons. Elected Members have had their say on this matter. Are your Lordships really going to reopen all this and slug it out on this Bill—this Northern Ireland Bill—day after day on a fast track in an undignified ping-pong to provide a battlefield for hardline remainers and devoted respecters of the people’s choice? Surely we can do better than that. Let us dispense with this parliamentary chicanery, reject these amendments and deal with the important business relating to Northern Ireland. The Commons rejected the amendments. Let us do the same and move on to the business in the Long Title of the Bill.