Northern Ireland Protocol

Baroness Hoey Excerpts
Tuesday 28th February 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I always think it is good to reflect before speaking; being at this Dispatch Box does not always give you that opportunity, but I agree with what the noble Lord said. It is also the case, and again I repeat myself, that trade between the north and south is important to business and to the life of the island. The best thing for the people of Northern Ireland and the whole of the United Kingdom is prosperity, which is assisted by free and wide trade. I hope that this agreement contributes to both north-south and east-west trade.

Baroness Fookes Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Baroness Fookes) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I think that concludes the time for questions, unless the House decides otherwise.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, can I just appeal to the House to hear the noble Baroness, Lady Hoey?

Baroness Hoey Portrait Baroness Hoey (Non-Afl)
- Hansard - -

Thank you, my Lords. This is a hugely optimistic Statement from the Prime Minister and understandably, because it makes things so much better than the protocol did. But sometimes optimism can be taken back when the detail is examined. I have a specific question for the Leader of the House. Yesterday in Parliament, and in an article today for the Belfast News Letter, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of the Acts of Union. That is welcome, but the agreement is lacking a legal text and the Command Paper is lacking further explanation on how the Government plan to lift the subjugation of the Acts of Union in domestic law. Could the Minister tell me what actual steps will be taken in domestic law to release the Acts of the Union from their present subjugation, as said by the Supreme Court? In the absence of legal provisions to remedy the effect of Section 7(1)(a) of the 2018 Act on the Acts of Union, all references in the world to our foundation and constitutional situation will mean nothing.

Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, we believe that the framework we have put forward is consistent with the Act of Union in its fullest sense. In my personal opinion as a unionist, that is a vital text. On the noble Baroness’s specific questions about how we will take this forward and what action might be taken, I will write to her, if she will allow me, as part of the ongoing discussion. If there are any worthwhile observations, I will put that in the Library.

Business of the House

Baroness Hoey Excerpts
Tuesday 31st January 2023

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord True Portrait The Lord Privy Seal
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

That Standing Order 44 (No two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) be dispensed with on Tuesday 7 February to enable the Northern Ireland Budget Bill to be taken through its remaining stages that day.

Baroness Hoey Portrait Baroness Hoey (Non-Afl)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, the Northern Ireland Budget Bill is clearly very important to people in Northern Ireland. I fully understand why His Majesty’s Government want to get this legislation through in one day, but it is important that your Lordships remember the reason why we have to do this. We are doing this because there is no Executive and there is no Executive because of the protocol.

The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill had its First Reading here in July, then we had Second Reading in October, three long days of Committee and then silence. As the Bill is so important, I want to query why this is. Can the Minister give us some idea of when this very important Bill, which should be going through while the negotiations are continuing, will come back to your Lordships’ House?

Every week something new happens that affects people in Northern Ireland because of the protocol. We have a ridiculous situation where, if I fly from Belfast to Faro or Mallorca, I do not get duty free. If I fly to London, I do not get duty free. If I fly from London to Mallorca or Faro, I get duty free. When I asked His Majesty’s Government why this is, I was not told the honest reason: Northern Ireland has been left in the EU and therefore the EU will not allow us duty free, and neither will His Majesty’s Treasury. We are in a twilight, limbo situation. Your Lordships must realise that this cannot go on. Will the Minister kindly tell us when the protocol Bill is coming back to this House?

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Before my noble friend replies, could he accept that many of us wish the Government every possible success in their negotiations? This protocol came about as a result of a treaty negotiated by Her Majesty’s Government, as they then were. Therefore, we bear responsibility for it. They tried to fit things into a straitjacket when it should have been, as I said last week, a much more flexible garment, but the fact is that this should be sorted out by negotiation and not by a totally unsatisfactory Bill being driven through your Lordships’ House. It is a very great pity indeed that those who have been elected to represent people in Northern Ireland are sulking rather than meeting, as they should, in the Assembly to which they were elected to debate this and other things.

Baroness Hoey Portrait Baroness Hoey (Non-Afl)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I find it rather depressing that Her Majesty’s Government have had to bring forward a Bill to ensure freedom of speech in higher education. I grew up in an era when you aspired to go to university not just to get wonderful academic teaching leading to a degree, but also to have the opportunity to explore new ideas, face challenges you had not met before, widen your horizons and challenge some of the traditional views. The idea that someone might not like what you said and try to stop or cancel you—a word we had never heard of in those days—rather than debating or arguing was unimaginable.

I understand why many in your Lordships’ House do not seem to think that the Bill is right but, sadly, I believe that the need for it is now clear and the reasons for the changes are many. I refer to the Policy Exchange report from 2020, which found a significant lack of “viewpoint diversity” at universities. Some of the statistics were shocking. As someone who campaigned all over the country for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the one that stood out for me was that just over 50% of academics would feel comfortable sitting next someone at lunch who was known just to have voted to leave—not even to have campaigned, so I will not be getting many invitations to academic lunches. That is just for having used your vote democratically in a parliamentary approved official referendum.

We have seen individual academic career prospects and access to research funding adversely affected by discrimination based on the individual academic’s views. Of course, the hounding of Professor Kathleen Stock, forced out of Sussex University by constant and repeated abuse and intimidation because of her views, has been slightly a focus of this Bill. But if this could happen to someone such as Professor Stock, how many other people coming into university to teach for the first time suddenly find that they have to be very, very careful about what they say?

A higher education council study is also alarming. It tracked attitudes of a representative sample of university students over the past six years. What it found should alarm all of us. The new generation of university students is increasingly supportive of removing from their campuses words, ideas, books, speakers and events they find uncomfortable or offensive. They seem willing to impose restrictions on others and to curtail views they disagree with. “Safe spaces” seems to be this new buzz word. We have to shield students from words and ideas that make them uncomfortable, and if you question or challenge this orthodoxy, you should be punished or ostracised. Matthew Goodwin pointed out in an excellent article on Unherd that a lot of this is happening right here in our own universities: refusing to allow tabloid newspapers to be sold on campus; banning speakers—maybe only a few, but nevertheless—who offend students; supporting getting rid of academics if they teach material that offends; and removing memorials of historical figures.

I do not want to stop anyone—to stop students—protesting about something they feel strongly about, and I do not believe the Bill does. In my day, we were always protesting about apartheid in South Africa, for example. I do not even mind students criticising lecturers on the grounds of the quality of their teaching; again, I do not think the Bill does that.

Academic freedom must be the primary duty of universities, and it should be defined more broadly than it is in the Bill. Too many of those in charge of our universities have been too weak or complacent to fight back against some of this behaviour. Too often, they have given into any demand from the student body, which must be agreed with at any cost, or they agree with anything that looks like it is the latest fad or, if I may use the term, a woke issue.

There will be amendments to this Bill which will make the protections of academic freedom stand fast. For example, in saying that HEPs must take reasonably practical steps to secure freedom of speech within the law, the duty is not clear enough. The responsibility to secure lawful free speech on topics of an academic or political nature should be an absolute and positive duty. I am sure that other amendments will come through your Lordships’ House, many of which have been suggested by what I consider to be the excellent Free Speech Union.

This freedom of speech Bill is about education, and education is devolved, but surely freedom of speech in universities across the United Kingdom should be in the Bill. In Northern Ireland we have one Russell group university, Queen’s University, and the University of Ulster. Why should this not apply there? If we wait for an Assembly to do something like this, none of us, not even the youngest Member of your Lordships’ House, will be around to see it happen. An amendment should be brought in to include those universities. Freedom of speech should not be a devolved issue. I remind your Lordships that, in the Ashers cake case, the Supreme Court recognised that ECHR Article 10 must include the right not to have to say what you do not believe. Prohibition of forced speech must be a key element of freedom of speech.

The Bill can be amended for the better to meet some of the challenges that noble Lords have already mentioned, but I support it. If it is changed quite a lot, it might be a wake-up call to those in authority in universities who have perhaps taken their eye off what academic freedom really is.

Sue Gray Report

Baroness Hoey Excerpts
Wednesday 25th May 2022

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Hoey Portrait Baroness Hoey (Non-Afl)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, the public were clearly very angry when they first heard about what had been going on in Whitehall. But now we have had the Sue Gray report—I commend her diligence—a full apology from the Prime Minister and the Metropolitan Police report, and we have seen changes in Downing Street. Outside this place and perhaps some elements of the media, I think many elements of the public—probably the majority now—really do want to draw a line under all this so that we can get on with the issues that are really affecting the country. But does the noble Baroness agree with me that there will be some people who will never give up criticising the Prime Minister because they do not like the fact that he took us out of the European Union, and that this still underpins a huge amount, particularly in some elements of the media? We all think what happened in Downing Street was shocking, but the apology has happened—let us move on.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As I say, the Prime Minister himself has acknowledged that there is a lot of anger and upset among the population about what happened in No. 10. He has accepted that, which is why he has apologised wholeheartedly. The noble Baroness may be right that there are still divisions over Brexit, but I think we are all trying to move on now and come together. She is absolutely right: we now need to address the real issues facing people every day, particularly the cost of living—of which noble Lords will hear more very shortly.

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Baroness Hoey Excerpts
Monday 12th April 2021

(3 years ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Hoey Portrait Baroness Hoey (Non-Afl)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, listening to the wonderful tributes that have been made in your Lordships’ House, I was wondering what His Royal Highness Prince Philip, if he was looking in—as he will be—to see what we are saying, would be thinking. He would probably be thinking, “Why on earth are they all going on like that, and why are they all going on so long?” After such a long and productive life of service and duty—leaving his legacy in so many areas of our public life—his devoted support to Her Majesty the Queen and his work in promoting this country to not just the Commonwealth but the rest of the world, I hope he would realise that this celebration of his life is very important, not just to all of us here today but to the whole country.

His interests, which have all been mentioned, were never academic. They were always full of practical engagement—what he could do to make things work better seemed to be his everyday thought.

I have a couple of personal reasons for my interest in and admiration for the Duke throughout my life and my sadness at his death. Prince Philip was born in the same year as my wonderful mother, although four months earlier. Before she died in her 96th year, she always kept a close interest in, as she would say, watching him getting older too. Like the Duke, she was active right up to the end of her life.

As a child born just after the war ended, I inherited the Royal Family scrapbook about the time of the coronation and kept it up to date for many years. Looking back through it at the weekend, I was struck—the noble Lords, Lord Alderdice and Lord Morrow, and the noble Viscount, Lord Brookeborough, referred to this—by the many paper cuttings of his visits to Northern Ireland, my home. He was born in 1921, the year that Northern Ireland was founded; maybe that was part of the reason for his genuine love of that beautiful part of the United Kingdom, which he visited many times, as has been said. His death has brought forth many poignant tributes from the people he met.

But it is the support for young people, particularly those involved in sport—whether of the outward-bound type of trekking, camping, abseiling and caving or the more traditional sports—where my admiration is greatest. He took an interest in them all. When I first came to live in London and financed my way through an economics degree by using my qualification as a PE teacher to teach part-time in east London, I remember noting the numerous visits he made to local boxing clubs as part of his support for the London Federation of Boys’ Clubs. That great organisation, now known as London Youth, was one of the first of very many charitable organisations that he devoted his time and support to. In March 1948, he was present at the finals of the boxing competition at the Royal Albert Hall. Unlike many, he really understood the discipline that boxing gave young people and the life skills that those in the boxing clubs taught to so many.

When I was appointed the first female Minister for Sport, I received a very lovely letter from the Duke enclosing a lecture he had given in 1979 on the purpose of sport at the physical education association. He knew that, as a former PE teacher, I was an advocate of physical education in schools; he was more interested in that, I have to say, than the fact that I was the first woman to be Minister for Sport, and he wanted more qualified PE teachers. That lecture, which I reread over the weekend, showed just how far ahead of his time he was in his views on sport: the way professionalism and money were becoming much more influential, and the need for sport to continue when schools shut for the summer. He was critical, even back then, of the reduction in the number of PE teachers, playing fields and green spaces. Again, his work with the National Playing Fields Association as president for 64 years was a hands-on role; he even had a desk in the office to co-ordinate the Silver Jubilee appeal for the charity.

In all the sporting organisations of which he was president or patron, he did not limit himself to the formalities of the role but would question, cajole, advise and give practical help. I saw that personally in all the letters he sent to me as Minister for Sport. He was always questioning why it could not happen and why the bureaucracy was getting in the way. He was always pushing to get the numerous sporting bodies to co-operate rather than compete with each other. At one event at Buckingham Palace, where he had got a small group of us together to discuss what needed to be done, I said to him over dinner, “I think you would have made a really great Sports Minister”. I am afraid I cannot tell noble Lords his response; I really do not think that he would want me to put it into the public domain. But I actually meant what I said. We will all miss him, especially those involved in sport, but he leaves that amazing legacy, particularly for young people.

To add to what the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, said, I also congratulate the BBC. I have been a great critic of many aspects of the BBC in recent years, but its coverage of his death has been very good indeed, and it has got the tone exactly right on this very sad occasion.

All our thoughts now must be with Her Majesty and the rest of the Royal Family. After all, whatever anyone has said today, this is a family loss above everything else. I think the humble Address says it all, and I support it fully.

European Union (Withdrawal)

Baroness Hoey Excerpts
Tuesday 3rd September 2019

(4 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Hoey Portrait Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

I will not support this motion, just as I did not support the motion the last time Parliament tried to change the way we work constitutionally. We were told then that it was a one-off, but we are now in our second or third one-off. If this goes through tonight, we will be debating a Bill tomorrow. If we look at it in detail—I know we will have that debate tomorrow—we will see that it makes it clear that it will give even more power to the European Union over how long we should have any kind of extension.

I know this is only a rumour but there is usually some truth in rumours, so I was concerned to hear today that some of the people who drafted this motion for the Bill took advice from EU lawyers. If that happened, it is shocking. I know there will be people in this House who think that there is nothing wrong with that, as they want to be as close as possible to the EU and there is nothing wrong in taking advice from it, but I believe that if this motion is passed tonight the Bill tomorrow will humiliate this Parliament.

We heard a lot about constitutional outrage when the announcement was made about the Queen’s Speech. Four or five extra days have been added to a recess that we all knew about just before the House got up. If people had felt strongly about this, they could have acted and got that discussion then. I genuinely believe that those four or five extra days are much less of a constitutional outrage than what we are setting a precedent for today, which would take away powers from the Government. Our side will be in government one day—perhaps a general election is coming; we will be in that same position, and people should be careful. What we are saying today to people is, “What is the point of voting?” They voted to leave and leave won. As many people have said, there was nothing on the ballot paper that said, “We did not vote with a no-deal.” But there was also nothing on that ballot paper that said we wanted to be half in or half out, that we wanted to pay £39 billion or that we wanted to do all those things that were in the withdrawal agreement. We voted to leave. People voted to leave. I know that many people who will vote in this House tonight are remainers who have accepted the result, but the reality is that many colleagues, particularly on my side, actually want to stop Brexit. They see now using “no deal” as almost being synonymous with stopping Brexit—that is the real truth about what is going on.

The right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) has been honest from the beginning. He is not in his seat now but he talked tonight about “tearing the country apart”. What on earth is another extension going to do, other than tear the country apart even more? What on earth are we going to gain by another extension that we have not already been able to achieve in the past two and a half years? What will this actually achieve?

If we vote for the motion tonight, we will send a signal to all those people who voted to leave that we know best—that we are being arrogant and that we know best about how the future outside the European Union will work. That is going to come home and hit right through, particularly to my party, but to the Conservative party as well, when we get a general election. Any Labour party Member who did not vote for a general election would look absolutely ridiculous. Bring on an election and let the people show what they really want.

Business of the House

Baroness Hoey Excerpts
Wednesday 3rd April 2019

(5 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Oliver Letwin Portrait Sir Oliver Letwin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I know that my hon. Friend and neighbour, who is an admirable constituency MP, holds that very strong view. As he knows, I do not share it. Those 17.4 million people mandated us to leave the EU, and I am entirely aligned with the Prime Minister in believing that we have a solemn duty to fulfil that mandate. My hon. Friend interprets that mandate as meaning that we should leave with no deal just over a week from now. I do not, and I do not believe that a large proportion of the 17.4 million people do, either—or would do, once they saw the results. However, that is a matter of dispute between us that does not have anything to do with the business of the House motion, to which I shall return.

Baroness Hoey Portrait Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

I have in the past shared platforms with the right hon. Gentleman on issues that had nothing to do with the EU; they had to do with playing fields. He is a very experienced Member. Does he not have any genuine concern about the speed with which the Bill is going through Parliament, and does he not think that people watching our proceedings, many of whom know that this is a remain Parliament, will see the Bill, and particularly the speed with which it is being pushed through Parliament, as just another little legal way of trying to delay or stop Brexit?

Oliver Letwin Portrait Sir Oliver Letwin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I promised myself at the very beginning of this process—going right back to the referendum campaign and beyond—never to deny the truth about these things, even when it was inconvenient. If the hon. Lady has asked, as I think she has, whether some people see things in that light, I have to answer that some do, and that is a misfortune. If she also asks, as I think she does, whether I regret that this is being done at high speed, the only honest answer is yes; I do regret that. Unfortunately, it can only be done at high speed, because there is no time left. I also very much regret that.

In fact, on the subject of the chain of regrets that I have to admit to the hon. Lady, who I think is my constituency MP in London, I have to say that my biggest regret is that my right hon. Friend for—[Interruption.] Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford; thank you, Mr Speaker—and I decided some weeks ago not to pursue an admirable previous Bill, the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 4) Bill, if I remember correctly, which would have had the same effect but could have been considered at more length. Perhaps I was more responsible for that decision than she was. That was, I think, an error on my part. It arose from the intention and hope that we could work entirely with the Government, who made a series of offers to us about the votes that would be held, and which were indeed held. I felt—I think we joined in feeling this, partly because I persuaded my right hon. Friend to join me in this—that it was sensible in the circumstances not to pursue that Bill. That is not an error that I will make again, and that is why I have moved the business of the House motion.

--- Later in debate ---
John Redwood Portrait John Redwood
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that. Again, it is important to have it on the record in this debate for the House’s consideration that we are dealing with things that could have precedents with wide ramifications that go way beyond the next few days and whether we leave in accordance with the views of the British people or not.

The final of my three points is perhaps even more relevant to this particular proposal: it is tradition that the Government have vested in them Crown prerogative, and the Prime Minister and Ministers act on behalf of the Crown in all international negotiations. That is not just our view, important though that is, in this House of Commons; while we still remain subject to the superior law of Brussels, it is also the law of Brussels. The Brussels authorities—the European Union—do not wish to negotiate with groups of MPs. They wish to negotiate with the UK Government, because it is the UK Government who are the signatory to the treaty and the UK Government who have sought the agreement of the EU to our withdrawal—or indeed to our automatic withdrawal under article 50 should no agreement be reached.

Baroness Hoey Portrait Kate Hoey
- Hansard - -

Does it concern the right hon. Gentleman that so many groups of MPs, ex-Prime Ministers and so on—not official Select Committees, which might have gone to the EU to see Michel Barnier and others—seem to have been trotting over to see the European Union as though they are almost negotiating on behalf of this Parliament and almost advising Michel Barnier as to what to do to make sure we end up either not having a Brexit or having a very soft Brexit? Does that not worry him?

John Redwood Portrait John Redwood
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It worries me, but I am a freedom-loving young man and I think that people will do what they want to do; I do not want to stop MPs expressing their views and going to talk to people with whom we are trying to negotiate. I also have a right to a view on it and I agree with the hon. Lady that if those MPs went there with the express intention of delaying or sabotaging Brexit—if they went there to weaken the pretty feeble position the Government had already adopted in the negotiations in order to make it more difficult for us to get any kind of agreement that I could agree to—that is a matter of grave regret. That will be judged by the British people in subsequent elections. It is not for me to make the misery of those MPs greater; they will need to answer to their constituents about that.

Business of the House

Baroness Hoey Excerpts
Monday 1st April 2019

(5 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Hoey Portrait Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

I have grave concerns about the way we are dealing now with our business in this motion. I accept that we voted last week to have further discussion and indicative votes today, but the amendment tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Gareth Snell) would have given the House a chance to decide whether we wanted to continue this process, which the right hon. Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin) continues to undertake. I do not think we can continue to have a business motion that puts another day in and then not have a chance to have that vote.

I am concerned about that, but I also have another concern. I know that all my Labour colleagues, particularly those on the Front Bench, aspire to be in government and they should just remember that this process may well be used when we are in government. Would we like to see that happening?

William Cash Portrait Sir William Cash
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Baroness Hoey Portrait Kate Hoey
- Hansard - -

I will give way to the Chair of my Select Committee—

William Cash Portrait Sir William Cash
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Does the hon. Lady agree that one problem with these indicative votes is that when they are attached, as they are intended to be, by all accounts, to a Bill that will then follow and be put through the House of Commons in one day—[Interruption.] Perhaps it will have one day in the House of Lords as well, for all I know. The bottom line is: we do not know yet what any such Bill will contain. It is inconceivable, is it not, that we should be presented with Bills that will be rammed through the House of Commons on matters of such incredible importance without even seeing them?

Baroness Hoey Portrait Kate Hoey
- Hansard - -

That just further adds to my view that we should be able to vote on whether we want another day or not after today’s business. We have to remember here, as do people watching, that Parliament abrogated its responsibility to take this decision—we have to say that over and over again—and asked the people. It said, “We will listen to whatever you say.” I do not care what anyone says, the dictionary definition of what “leave” means is very simple. All these motions today, with the exception of the one tabled by the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron), are designed, in some way or another, to not allow us to leave in the way that people thought they were voting for when they voted on 23 June 2016. It was made very clear—I do not want to go into the details—and we all knew that leave meant leaving all the institutions of the European Union. So I would never question it, but I am disappointed that we will not have a vote on the amendment, as that would have been sensible. I hope that today people remember that the biggest majority in this House for anything to do with the European Union was when 498 votes said we would leave, with or without a deal.

Business of the House

Baroness Hoey Excerpts
Wednesday 27th March 2019

(5 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Oliver Letwin Portrait Sir Oliver Letwin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am sure that Mr Speaker will want to say something about that at a later stage, but I believe that the House authorities, who have been extraordinarily assiduous in this and have gone way beyond their mere duty, will have not only provided for the relevant pieces of paper to be in the Lobbies at an early stage, but provided very large numbers of copies of the Order Paper, so that Members will be able very quickly to refer from the voting slips to the actual motion and nobody has any confusion about what they are voting for or against.

Baroness Hoey Portrait Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

The Speaker has ruled that no amendments will be taken with the motion and obviously, I would not challenge him on that. However, is not this business motion today different from what was agreed last week, because now the right hon. Gentleman is proposing Monday as well, and amendment (a), in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Gareth Snell), has not been selected by the Speaker? Surely we are now voting on something very different from what was agreed last week.

Oliver Letwin Portrait Sir Oliver Letwin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The hon. Lady is absolutely right that paragraph (2), which I have not yet had time to talk about because of taking interventions, does indeed book a slot for Monday. The reason why is that I think there is quite a high chance that at the end of today’s votes, despite the best endeavours of the promoters of each of the motions that fall to be debated and voted on, they may not receive majority backing. Perhaps the hon. Lady was not present, but I said during the debate on my amendment (a), very specifically—this point was echoed by many of her hon. Friends in their remarks about amendment (a)—that we all recognise the fact that the first time round, it is very likely that there would not be a natural majority for one proposition or another and that we should therefore regard this as a process and not as a single point in time. I did also specifically say that I therefore anticipated that we would need a further day. In many discussions and interviews, many of us who have proposed the business of the House motion today and who were supporting amendment (a) have made that point. There is no novelty to it; it is simply carrying through what we said would be the case.

Speaker’s Statement

Baroness Hoey Excerpts
Monday 18th March 2019

(5 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
John Bercow Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Again, one has to reflect on the particulars. I say to the hon. Gentleman that the issue is not the pain of any vote, which is a subjective matter upon which I do not think I should pontificate—especially as I do not cast such, other than in the circumstance of a tie, which has not arisen since 1993 in this Chamber—but its propriety.

It is absolutely true that the House has legislated in respect of article 50—I believe it did so in March 2017 in the last Parliament—and that that has created a strong expectation, but whether Parliament chooses to legislate on this matter or, as the Government have signalled in recent days, depending on circumstance, to request a particular extension, is a matter for the House. I do not think that the issue of pain really comes into it; it is just a question of what is proper.

I know that the hon. Gentleman, whom I have known since we competed with each other in Bristol South in June 1989, is a stickler for propriety. [Interruption.] I am asked who won. It would not be seemly to say, but I think the hon. Gentleman’s result at the 1992 election was rather better than mine.

Baroness Hoey Portrait Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Obviously we fully endorse and respect your statement. On a point of clarification, I want to ask something that I am sure people out there will be asking when they read this statement today. On 29 January, the House of Commons voted against the SNP and Plaid Cymru amendment on extending the article 50 period and ruling out no deal by 327 votes to 39. We obviously voted again on those matters last week. Will you clarify why that did not fall under the same ruling?

John Bercow Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I would have to look back at those particular votes. I did not receive advice at that time about non-compliance. I do not think that there was a general sense in the House that there was an issue of non-compliance, and I was not asked to rule on it. Matters are already treated of by the Table Office on the basis of established custom and practice. If those matters were accepted on to the paper, the issue of selection would have been for me, in the interests of facilitating the debate. However, the issue of propriety was not raised with me at that time.