Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:53 pm on 13th January 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Viscount Ridley Viscount Ridley Conservative 6:53 pm, 13th January 2020

My Lords, I think I have spotted an issue on which absolutely everybody in this House will agree, and that is that a can of WD-40 should be acquired to deal with that hinge which keeps making a noise like a wounded heifer from that end of the Chamber.

The noble Lords, Lord Forsyth, Lord Cormack, Lord Taylor and Lord Bridges, all made the point—as did the noble Lord, Lord Maude, I think—that this House must send this Bill back unamended, because otherwise we are in trouble as a House. Others disagree. I am not 100% sure that they are right, but it is worth reflecting on why the British people and, to some extent, the other place, distrust our motives and suspect that we are once again trying to prevent getting Brexit done if we amend this legislation.

In this House, we have heard three and a half years of excuses for not enacting the wishes of the British people. We heard that the economy would collapse if people voted to leave, but the British people said, “Get Brexit done.” We have heard that people did not understand what they were voting for, but the British people said, “Get Brexit done.” We have heard that there was a need for a meaningful vote in Parliament before any withdrawal agreement be passed, and the British people said, “Yes, okay, fine, but get Brexit done.” We have heard that the Northern Ireland border was insoluble, and people said, “Yes, fine, but get Brexit done.” We have heard that the EU would not let us diverge, and the British people said, “Please get Brexit done.” We have heard that there is not time to scrutinise all the secondary legislation necessary before leaving the European Union, and the British people said, “Get Brexit done.” And we have heard that people might have changed their minds since the vote in 2016, so in 2017 we had another general election, in which people voted overwhelmingly for parties that wanted to get Brexit done.