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House of Commons Hansard
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17 December 2018
Volume 651

Application for emergency debate (Standing Order No. 24)

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In a moment, I shall call the parliamentary leader of the Scottish National party to make an application for leave to propose a debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration under the terms of Standing Order No. 24. The right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford), as I feel sure he will be aware, has up to three minutes in which to make such an application.

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I am most grateful to you, Mr Speaker, for allowing time to hear this emergency application.

Given the historic nature of UK politics at this moment, I am grateful that you have given this opportunity for an emergency debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, that this House should consider the outcomes of the Prime Minister’s recent discussions with the European Commission and the European Heads of Government regarding the withdrawal agreement and potential ways forward.

This Government have been found in contempt of Parliament, yet still the Prime Minister has failed to show any due respect to this place. This House voted to secure a meaningful vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal and the Government agreed to bring that forward last week, yet they have pulled it. They are breaking their promises and showing utter contempt for Parliament and for the constituents whom we represent. The Prime Minister is running around like a headless chicken, going to Europe with the begging bowl and grasping at straws to find a way to appease the hard-right Brexiteers on her own Benches. Europe is not budging and the Prime Minister’s deal is dead. The game is over and the Prime Minister must admit so.

We are going into the Christmas period recess this week still not knowing what fate lies ahead as this Government bury their head in the sand. It is simply not good enough. The Government must respect Parliament and bring forward the vote on the Prime Minister’s deal and do it now. Our constituents expect Parliament to deal with these matters. They do not expect it to leave the issue of our future relationship with the EU without debate into the new year.

We all have a responsibility to show leadership and to show that we can avoid uncertainty and chaos by finding a solution to the current impasse. The Prime Minister continues to answer questions in response to statements, but that format is not in itself good enough to air the wide range of views across the House about the current situation and where we go next. It is important that Members are given the opportunity to express their views on the apparent diplomatic impasse between the Government and the European Union. I hope that a debate will also draw out other issues needing further discussion, including preparations for a no-deal scenario, the role of the devolved Administrations and the role of the House itself in determining the next steps.

I ask for an emergency debate to be held in order for us to hold this shambolic and chaotic Government to account.

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I have listened carefully to the application from the right hon. Gentleman and I am satisfied that the matter is proper to be discussed under Standing Order No. 24. In accordance with Standing Order No. 24(2)(b)(ii), I intend to advise the House at a later hour of this sitting—realistically either at 10 o’clock or, if the business were to lapse earlier, before then—my decision on the time to be allocated for the debate and the time at which the debate should take place. There is good reason for that. For the avoidance of doubt, the particular matter on which the specific and important matter on which the right hon. Gentleman seeks the debate is the outcome of the Prime Minister’s recent discussions with the European Commission and the European Heads of Government regarding the withdrawal agreement and potential ways forward.

As colleagues familiar with these procedures will know, my normal practice, if I grant such a debate, is to specify the time at which it will take place and the intended duration. There is good reason why I am not ready to do so at this time, but I must ask whether the right hon. Gentleman has the leave of the House for his application. The answer is that he does have the leave of the House: no objection has been registered and he has the requisite support. I will advise the House later when the debate will take place and for how long it will last.

Application agreed to.