European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:19 pm on 5th September 2019.

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Photo of Lord Howard of Lympne Lord Howard of Lympne Conservative 12:19 pm, 5th September 2019

The noble Lord is entitled to his view but I would not agree with him.

That is the root cause of the difficulties that we have faced over the last three years. Parliament took a different view. Parliament got the result from the British people, and certainly the then Foreign Secretary, who moved the Second Reading of the Bill, got a result very different from the one that he wanted or expected. I regret to say that Parliament has, at every turn, sought to thwart the implementation of that decision of the British people, and this Bill is but the latest instalment of that sad endeavour. Of course, it gets us nowhere. We have had one extension as a result of the Bill’s predecessor. It has given six months of extra time, which has resulted in no conclusion. The failure of the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford, to answer the question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Grocott, was eloquent in its admission that those who came together to support the Bill before your Lordships, both in the other place and in this House, are not in any sense in agreement about the next steps and what ought to be done.

This situation is made even more serious by the refusal of those who proclaim their belief in democracy to put that belief into practice. It is bad enough that Parliament thinks that it knows better than the British people on this issue; it is even worse that, as things stand at the moment, Parliament is denying the British people a general election in which they would have the right to decide and to express their view on the performance of the malfunctioning of the other place and to insist on the implementation of the decision that they took in 2016. This Bill is, I hope, one of the final acts of a House of Commons that has proved itself manifestly incapable of meeting the challenges in front of it. I urge your Lordships to reject it.