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Royal Assent

Volume 670: debated on Thursday 23 January 2020

I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that Her Majesty has signified her assent to the following Act:

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I regret the fact that this announcement has come during this most important debate; let me thank all those who are contributing to it. I am duty bound to signify our deep regret at what has taken place with this Royal Assent, and I am seeking your guidance because it is something quite momentous. This is absolutely unprecedented, and I must say to the House that it is a constitutional crisis. We are faced with a situation that is completely unprecedented when the Governments in Edinburgh, in Belfast and in Cardiff have not given consent to this Act of Parliament. That completely contravenes the devolution settlement that made it clear that the consent of the devolved Administrations had to be given for Bills of Parliament involving the devolved Administrations to become Acts of Parliament.

I fully respect the fact that those who voted for the Conservative party in England have got what they wanted, but the fact remains that the people of Scotland were told in 2014 that if we stayed in the UK then our rights as EU citizens would be respected. Moreover, we were told that we were to lead the United Kingdom—that this was a family of nations and our rights would be respected. We find ourselves here today in the situation where our Parliament has been ignored, our Government have been ignored, and the express wishes of the people of Scotland who voted in the referendum and reaffirmed their right to determine their own destiny have been ignored.

Crucially, Mr Deputy Speaker, a debate that took place in this House in July 2017 reaffirmed the concept of the rights of the people of Scotland—the claim of right, or the democratic right whereby sovereignty rests with the people and not with this place. So I ask your guidance as to what I have to do to ensure the mandate that the Scottish Government have for the people of Scotland to have an independence referendum on our future to make sure that Scotland has the right to be a European country—an independent country. A very clear message has been delivered from this House that the rights of the people of Scotland are to be shut down, and we will have no part of it.

You are a very experienced Member of this House, Mr Blackford, so you do not need my guidance on anything. You know that that is not a point of order for the Chair; it is a political point that you have made, and made in your own way. Royal Assent has now been given. As you quite rightly say, this is a very important debate, so let us move on. I call Bob Blackman.