My Lords, I have read an enormous amount of very learned opinion, produced by many distinguished members of the legal profession, saying that Part 5 of the present Bill does not break international law—enough opinion to be absolutely clear that, however many people claim that the Bill is illegal, serious doubts remain over the claim that Part 5 is illegal, in spite of the many eloquent arguments for that case that have been put forward this evening.
Whatever view you take of Part 5—illegal or legal—there is sufficient doubt over the rights and wrongs that loyalty to one’s country demands that the wishes of the Government should take precedence over other views. The House should not get in the way of a Bill that will be of invaluable assistance to strengthen the hands of our negotiators in these last crucial days and weeks of the negotiations. The Bill will not make this country some kind of pariah, nor will we lose respect, as some have falsely claimed. The world will see it simply as part of us leaving the European Union.
It is not the role of this House to overturn the wishes of the other place, especially where the grounds for such action, as today, are not clear-cut. Furthermore, the other place has conceded that there must be a vote in Parliament before Part 5 is acted on. The ultimate authority in this country is the Queen in Parliament. It is what the British people have voted for, and we must do everything possible to ensure that this remains the case.