Motion A

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Bill - Commons Amendment – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Chair, Economic Affairs Committee, Chair, Finance Bill Sub-Committee 3:15 pm, 22nd July 2019

I am sorry—17.4 million people is pretty overwhelming when it came in the biggest democratic exercise that we have ever had. It stands in stark contrast to the 8% which the Liberals managed to get in the general election. It is the duty of this House to preserve our constitution, which depends on respecting our conventions. This amendment is quite improper. It is a piece of chicanery, added to a Bill which is being fast-tracked, on a subject which has nothing whatever to do with that Bill. It flies in the face of the speeches that we hear over and again, particularly from the Liberal Benches, about the importance of respecting devolution and the ability of the devolved Assemblies to carry out their purposes. I very much support my noble friend the Minister in asking the House to reject this amendment.

As for the sophistry that came from my noble friend Lord Hailsham, he argued that it would be wrong for us to overturn an amendment which had come from the Commons. That is absolute sophistry because we all know what is going on here: a minority of people in the House of Commons are trying to frustrate the wishes of the British people.