My noble friend Lord Cormack says that he is a very good chap. I know we are a broad church, but—.
Stephen Kinnock is quoted as saying on this matter:
“I understand that our position at the present time would be to abstain, but I am not 100% sure of that”.—[Official Report, Commons, 4/9/19; col. 262.]
My noble and learned friend Lord Mackay corrected me, quite rightly, when in Committee I said that the Government had failed to put in tellers for the Division—although I am confused because in my day, only the Government proposed Business Motions and matters of that kind. However, it was of course the promoters of the Bill who failed to provide tellers for the Division, which is how this has ended up in the Bill.
We therefore have a provision in that Clause of the Bill which the Labour Party did not want—it was going to abstain on it—and the Government cannot possibly have wanted. I am as good as my word—I said that I would not seek to delay the implementation of this legislation, if that is what has been agreed between the parties—but that strikes me as extraordinary. I did not table an amendment in Committee, which in the normal way I would have done, because I expected the Government to put down an amendment to deal with this, and they have not done so. I say to my noble friend that we would be very grateful indeed if he could explain why the Government are leaving in a Bill which they are proposing to support, a provision which requires the Prime Minister to write a letter for the purpose of giving an undertaking to debate and pass a Bill to implement the so-called May compromise agreement, including the discussions that took place between the previous Prime Minister and the Labour Party, which include giving assurances about regulatory requirements and the rest. It seems extraordinary, and that is the reason behind the amendment, which I beg to move.