Application for emergency debate (Standing Order No. 24)
Before we come to the debate proposed by the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), I call the Leader of the Opposition to make an application for leave to propose a debate on another specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration under the terms of Standing Order No. 24. The right hon. Gentleman has up to three minutes in which to make such an application.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will be brief, because the whole House wants to get on to the important debate that you have just agreed to. I want to ask for a very urgent debate on what I consider to be a matter of overriding importance and seriousness. The motion reads:
“That this House has considered the welcome completion of all parliamentary stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act and has considered the matter of the importance of the rule of law and Ministers’ obligation to comply with the law.”
I welcome the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act, which has just received Royal Assent. However, there is deep concern not just across the House but across the whole country at the Government’s commitment to abide by the obligations set out in that Act and the outright statements in some quarters that they will disregard or seek to evade the law that has just received Royal Assent and therefore is an Act of Parliament. I am therefore asking you to grant an urgent debate under Standing Order No. 24, on behalf of the people of this country who want to live in a democratic society where the Government abide by the rule of law, on whether the Prime Minister will obey the law that this House has just passed into law.
The right hon. Gentleman asks for leave to propose a debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration: the welcome completion of all parliamentary stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Bill—sometimes colloquially known, probably in the pubs and clubs of the United Kingdom, as the Benn-Letwin Bill—and has considered the matter of the importance of the rule of law and Ministers’ obligation to comply with the law.
I have listened carefully to the right hon. Gentleman’s application. Adherence to the law—goodness! Yes, I am satisfied that the matter raised on the last day before the Prorogation of this Parliament is proper to be discussed under Standing Order No. 24. Has the right hon. Gentleman the leave of the House?
Application agreed to (not fewer than 40 Members standing in support).
I thank colleagues on both sides of the House. The right hon. Gentleman has obtained the leave of the House. I advise the Leader of the Opposition, his colleagues and the House that the debate will be held today as the second item of public business, immediately after the first SO24 debate in the name of the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield. The Leader of the Opposition’s debate will last for up to 90 minutes and will arise on a motion that the House has considered the specified matter set out in his application.