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Today in the House of Commons, MPs voted on amendments from the House of Lords to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill. This Bill completed its Commons stages last week, but returns today having been further amended by the House of Lords. Two of the Lords Amendments, one of which was further amended by MPs, aimed to prevent the Prime Minister from suspending Parliament at the end of October, when the UK is due to leave the EU without a deal, in line with the declaration of Article 50 in March 2017. They were both passed.
In the Chamber, John asked,
“It is noticeable all those supporting the amendment voted to remain. As someone who voted ‘leave’, I can assure the Minister that, although we are in a minority in this place, the majority of us would not countenance a prorogation of Parliament. What we have here are remainers who are tilting at windmills.”
The Minister agreed.
“I voted with the Government this afternoon because all options should be left on the table in negotiations with the EU. Anyone who has ever conducted a business negotiation knows that ruling out positions reduces your leverage and makes an unfavourable outcome far more likely. Also, frequent reports to Parliament at a sensitive time for Northern Ireland is probably not conducive to restoring a power-sharing Executive.”
“Opponents of proroguing Parliament in the autumn choose to forget that the only reason that a no deal/WTO Brexit exists as a live option is because MPs voted to trigger Article 50 in February 2017. A massive majority of 384 MPs endorsed this possibility with their votes, and if some MPs now say they were unaware of what they were voting for, I do not think this reflects well on them.”
“However, I would not myself favour using prorogation to leave the EU, and question whether a Prime Minister would ever go down this route. In a Parliamentary system it is neither possible nor desirable to dispose of Parliament just because it will not endorse the policies of the Government of the day.”
Image: UK Parliament, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
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