Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 16 May 2018.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 9:30, 16 May 2018

Thank you, Mr Owen. I appreciate that clarification. I will come back to certain aspects of the rules. The substance of the Bill promoted by the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton is to make sure that Parliament has the ability to scrutinise legislation. Obviously, we are leaving the European Union, which means that huge swathes of legislation will be coming back to the House. The idea that we should reduce the number of Members in the House who are able to scrutinise that legislation simply beggars belief. We have not seen proposals from the Government to reduce the number of Members on the payroll vote—that is, Parliamentary Private Secretaries and, indeed, Ministers. The Government are showing contempt for the House. They should seriously consider tabling a money resolution, but I do not know whether the Minister is even paying attention at the moment.

On money resolutions, there certainly is precedent for the way in which the Government have, to be frank, been taking the mickey. I do not know what kind of respect the Government are showing this House by not tabling a money resolution. We regularly talk about Parliament taking back control, the will of Parliament and parliamentary sovereignty, yet even though the House voted for this Bill to proceed to Committee stage, we are not able to discuss it.

We can continue the charade of coming to this Committee twice a week, pretending that we are taking proposed legislation seriously and scrutinising it, but that makes a mockery of this place. If the Minister plans to simply sit there and diddle away on her phone and read her papers for the coming Cabinet Office questions—if that is how she wants to treat this House—that is her prerogative. Those of us who come here to treat Parliament with respect, however, who have been sent here to represent our constituents and the will of the people, will attend this Committee week in, week out, and we can go on for as long as she likes. If the Government do not table a money resolution, I will not hesitate to come back with much longer speeches—they might not be based on “Erskine May”—until such time as they do so.