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Brexit - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:37 pm on 2nd October 2019.

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Photo of Lord Hamilton of Epsom Lord Hamilton of Epsom Conservative 8:37 pm, 2nd October 2019

No. I have given way to so many people, and we are always being told that we cannot go beyond six minutes.

As everybody will know, the judgment of the Supreme Court alluded to the fact that a number of judgments had been made that had political connotations. This is a step much further: the Supreme Court making a political decision. What has the judgment that we could not prorogue Parliament actually resulted in? We have sat for another eight days while we go over all the old ground. One of the reasons we are where we are now is that Parliament is incapable of reaching any conclusion on what it should actually do about leaving the EU. Have we advanced any further by the fact that we have sat for longer? No, we have not. Have the Government been held to account? Well, on the margin, I suppose. Has it really made any difference to anything? No, it has not—for the simple reason that nothing is actually going to happen until the EU Council meets on 17-18 October. After that, of course, it will be decided whether the proposals we have put forward are acceptable, whether there is a deal to be put to Parliament and so forth. It is after the Queen’s Speech that the Government will have to be held to account, and very little has been achieved by Parliament sitting over all these extra days.

The real problem is that if the Supreme Court says, “We’re going to get into the business of not just interpreting but actually making the law, and we’re going to make political decisions when we do that”, as sure as night follows day, Parliament will say, “If the judges are going to make these political decisions, they must be appointed by Parliament”. That is what will happen if we go on down this road. What will happen? A Select Committee in the House of Commons will interview candidates for the Supreme Court. It will ask them about their political views: which way they voted in the last election, what their views are on social matters such as—