Early Parliamentary General Election Bill

(3rd reading: House of Commons)
(Committee: 1st sitting: House of Commons)
(3rd reading: House of Commons)
(Committee: 1st sitting: House of Commons)
John Bercow Excerpts
Tuesday 29th October 2019

(11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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HM Treasury
Liz Saville Roberts Portrait Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (PC) - Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 8:19 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Today’s vote lays down precedents which override the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, thus overriding one of Parliament’s checks and balances against excessive Executive power. Can you advise how to protect democracy in this place from further such government by fiat?

Mr Speaker Hansard

We are in unusual times; there have been many examples to evidence that over the last few months. Very specifically, what I say to the right hon. Lady is that the will of the House determines what happens in these matters, subject to the overriding principle of adherence to a clear rule. The right hon. Lady strongly objects to what has happened, but nothing that has happened today has been in any way disorderly: a Bill has been introduced; there has been a Second Reading; there has been a Committee stage; and there was a business of the House motion, in amended form, accepted by the House. The right hon. Lady has registered her discontent, which I was very happy for her to do, but beyond that the matter cannot be taken further tonight.

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (IGC) Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 8:25 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption.] I know that it is sometimes uncomfortable to speak truth to power. Mr Speaker, would it be in order to record that, in private, many of us have come to the conclusion that the majority of Back Benchers on both sides do not want a general election? As the right hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Liz Saville Roberts) has said, fear, from whatever quarter it may come, will be an abiding thing that will come out of this Parliament, and history will record that. A lack of courage from too many is also a mark of the end of this Parliament. Would it also be in order to record that I know from the conversations that take place in private—as you understand, Mr Speaker—that it is undoubtedly a fact that the majority of Members of this Parliament support a people’s vote rather than a general election?

Mr Speaker Hansard

I am grateful to the right hon. Lady, who always speaks her mind, and I respect that. I know, however, that she will accept that that was a case of the right hon. Lady wanting to tell me and the House what she thought, rather than having any particular interest in me telling her what I think. But I will tell her what I think. What I think is that we do not work in this place on the basis of what people may or may not say to each other in private; we work on the basis of the decisions that are made by the House, and the House has made a decision in a perfectly orderly way. She has registered her objection to it, and we will have to leave it there. I hope—I sense that there is an appetite for this—we can now proceed with the business statement.

Christine Jardine Portrait Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West) (LD) - Hansard

rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 8:27 p.m.

Well, I gently say to the hon. Gentleman, to the hon. Lady—I do beg her pardon—that it is quite important to have antennae attuned to the will of the House, so if she is going to do it, it will be one sentence.

Christine Jardine Portrait Christine Jardine - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. For three and a half years, the Liberal Democrats have campaigned for the people of this country to have the final say. We would have preferred that to be in the form of a people’s vote, and we would now have preferred the general election to be on 9 December. But, Parliament having decided, we are ready to take this issue back and give people the chance to say whether Brexit is something they want to stop. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Somebody has said from a sedentary position that that was not a point of order, but I must say, for the benefit of members of the public, that that does not distinguish it from the overwhelming majority of what I will call purported points of order that are, in fact, not points of order. The hon. Lady has made her point, and we must now proceed with the business statement by the Leader of the House of Commons, Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg.