Prorogation of Parliament — [Joan Ryan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 9th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Chair, International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact 4:30 pm, 9th September 2019

The hon. Gentleman uses the word “disgraceful”; I have been in this place for only four years, but for three of them, I have sat here scratching my head, thinking, “I have some of the most intelligent people around me acting in the most stupid way.” I blame people on both sides of the argument equally; I am an equal opportunity critic. We should be talking about how we leave, not whether we leave.

Brexit is a big issue that divides parties, communities and families. None the less, we were asked a relatively simple question: do we leave or remain? Leave won, and it is not beyond the wit of man to give businesses, communities, EU nationals here and British citizens abroad the sense of certainly that they need and deserve. In the coming weeks, I hope that we move on and reach a resolution, so that we can get back to the domestic agenda that will be set out in the Queen’s Speech on 14 October.

We saw a lot of confected outrage, as the Leader of the House described it, when the Prorogation of Parliament was first discussed. People conflated two different sets of statements. When several Conservative leadership candidates said that it would not be good to prorogue Parliament to bring about Brexit, come what may, they were talking about a Prorogation that straddled 31 October, so that we would fall out of the EU without discussion. That is clearly not what is happening. The hashtag #StopTheCoup started to appear on Twitter and social media, but frankly, that would be the worst coup ever.

Parliament is coming back on 14 October, and on the week following that, we will debate the Queen’s Speech, which will no doubt involve Brexit, because that will clearly be a major part of it. We then have weeks after that, because a Brexit deal will come back to Parliament only if we get a deal on 18 October at the end of the EU Council. Hopefully, at that point we will achieve a deal and bring it back to this place; we can then discuss it. We will have something that we can all circle around, and that will allow us to say, “Nobody gets everything they want, but this is enough to allow us to say that we have respected the referendum, and to enable us to start looking at the opportunities that Brexit offers, rather than at whether we are leaving.”