Motion made, and Question put,
That the following provisions shall apply to the proceedings on the Taxation (Post-transition Period) Bill:
(1) (a) Proceedings on Second Reading, in Committee of the whole House, on Consideration and on Third Reading shall be taken in two days in accordance with this Order.
(b) Proceedings on Second Reading shall be taken at today’s sitting and shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion two hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.
(c) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House shall also be taken at today’s sitting and shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption.
(d) Proceedings on Consideration shall be taken on the second day and shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion two hours after their commencement.
(e) Proceedings on Third Reading shall also be taken on the second day and shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion three hours after the commencement of proceedings on Consideration.
(f) This paragraph shall have effect notwithstanding the practice of the House as to the intervals between stages of a Bill brought in upon Ways and Means Resolutions.
Timing of proceedings and Questions to be put
(2) When the Bill has been read a second time, it shall, despite Standing Order No. 63 (Committal of bills not subject to a programme order), stand committed to a Committee of the whole House without any Question being put.
(3) (a) On the conclusion of proceedings in Committee of the whole House, the Chair shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.
(b) If the Bill is not amended in Committee of the whole House, the Bill shall nonetheless be proceeded with as if it had been reported to the House with amendments.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 52(1)(b) (Money resolutions and ways and means resolutions in connection with bills), on the day on which proceedings on Consideration are set down to be taken as an order of the day, the Question on any motion made for a financial resolution relating to the Bill shall be put forthwith and may be decided at any hour, though opposed.
(5) For the purpose of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (1), the Chair or Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions in the same order as they would fall to be put if this Order did not apply:
(a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;
(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed;
(c) the Question on any amendment, new Clause or new Schedule selected by the Chair or Speaker for separate decision;
(d) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown;
(e) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded; and shall not put any other questions, other than the question on any motion described in paragraph (10)(a) of this Order.
(6) On a Motion made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chair or Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.
(7) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (5)(d) on successive amendments moved or Motions made by a Minister of the Crown, the Chair or Speaker shall instead put a single Question in relation to those amendments or Motions.
(8) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (5)(e) in relation to successive provisions of the Bill, the Chair shall instead put a single Question in relation to those provisions, except that the Question shall be put separately on any Clause of or Schedule to the Bill which a Minister of the Crown has signified an intention to leave out.
(9) Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply in relation to any proceedings to which this Order applies.
(10) (a) No Motion shall be made, except by a Minister of the Crown, to alter the order in which any proceedings on the Bill are taken, to recommit the Bill or to vary or supplement the provisions of this Order.
(b) No notice shall be required of such a Motion.
(c) Such a Motion may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.
(d) The Question on such a Motion shall be put forthwith; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (c) shall thereupon be resumed.
(e) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to proceedings on such a Motion.
(11) (a) No dilatory Motion shall be made in relation to proceedings to which this Order applies except by a Minister of the Crown.
(b) The Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.
(12) No debate shall be held in accordance with Standing Order No. 24 (Emergency debates) at today’s sitting after this Order has been agreed or at the day’s sitting at which proceedings on Consideration are set down to be taken as an order of the day.
(13) Proceedings to which this Order applies shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.
(14) No private business may be considered at today’s sitting after this Order has been agreed or at the day’s sitting at which proceedings on Consideration are set down to be taken as an order of the day.—(Michael Tomlinson.)
I want to make a few comments about this business of the House motion, because I think it is indicative of where we have got to.
After four years, we have a Bill on the taxation arrangements after Brexit that is to be debated in less than four hours. Not only that, but it is a Bill of over 100 pages in length that was published less than 24 hours ago. The Minister may claim that the House has passed emergency legislation in a single day in the past, and of course that is true: the House can do that in emergency circumstances. But this deadline that we face at the end of the year is not new. It is not a surprise. It has been known ever since the withdrawal agreement was reached. The Government have said repeatedly over the past year that this was an immovable deadline. So why is it, just three weeks before that deadline, that the Government are only publishing these arrangements and this timetable now?
Businesses in Northern Ireland, and those that do a lot of trade with Northern Ireland, could have been given some idea of what was coming long before now, but as it stands, not even the Bill before us gives them certainty, as so much of it has to be followed up with further regulations. The truth is that there was no need for this last-minute legislative scramble. The real reason we are in this position—the reason why this business motion is before us and gives the House so little time—is that the Government thought that it was a good negotiating tactic to breach the agreement, or to threaten to breach the agreement, that they reached with the EU last year. They threatened to do that in this Bill as well as in the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill. As so often, it was a threat posing as strength that ended up doing more harm to us than to anyone else. That is why this Bill was so late, and that is why the time to debate it is so short.
The Government, immediately before they embark on a new future based on trade deals, chose to advertise around the world that they were willing to break the last one that they signed. Boasting about your willingness to go back on your word is not an illustration of strength; rather, it is a graphic portrayal of what Brexit has done to the Conservative party.
I am going to continue, because I do not have long to go.
As the House has been reminded, it was Mrs Thatcher who said:
“Britain does not break treaties. It would be bad for Britain, bad for our relations with the rest of the world and bad for any future treaty on trade”.
The threat to do so has left us with the timetable for this Bill. That inevitably means that scrutiny of today’s measures will be severely truncated and parts of it will go through without being properly examined. What we have before us is the appearance of scrutiny, not the reality—Potemkin scrutiny. That is what a timetable like this gives us.
This is not just about us here in this House—it also leaves businesses affected, with little or no time to absorb and understand what is being planned. There have been many comments on the state of things in recent days, but perhaps the most pithy has come from the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, who said this week, commenting on the border arrangements:
“Frankly, it’s just a mess.”
The bigger point here is that the reason why we are in this position is that the Government’s approach to all of this has relegated concerns about business, prosperity and people’s livelihoods to a distant second place. This motion and the approach behind it are not only bad for the legislative process, but bad for the country too.
I would simply say this in response to the right hon. Gentleman: the Government have been moving at great speed, and much of the regulation is already in the public domain, together with an enormous amount of further communications and support systems. The Government are putting in front of the House today a Bill that encodes the Northern Ireland protocol and a Command Paper that has been in the public domain for many months, and if the right hon. Gentleman wished to have more scrutiny, he perhaps might have considered not having a debate on this motion.
I am aware that some Members would like to make points on this, but I am afraid that it is not in order for them to do so, because under current rules I have to stick to the speaking list. Just as a matter of fact, interventions would have been fine, but not speeches.
Question put and agreed to.