Application for emergency debate (Standing Order No. 24)
I now call Keir Starmer 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. and learned Gentleman has up to three minutes in which to make such an application.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing time to hear this application for an emergency debate on a specific and important matter—namely, that this House has considered the matter of the Cabinet’s decision to accelerate preparations for a no-deal outcome to Brexit following the Prime Minister’s failure to allow this House promptly to express its view on the Government’s deal in the light of the significant public expenditure involved.
Yesterday, the Government announced an additional £2 billion of spending to prepare for leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement. They have done so after denying the House the opportunity to express its view on the Government’s deal or its view on leaving the European Union without a deal, by deferring the meaningful vote originally scheduled for Tuesday 11 December. If that vote had been held, I have no doubt that the Government’s deal would have been roundly rejected, as would any proposal that we leave with no deal. No Government have the right to risk the wellbeing of the United Kingdom because of their own failed negotiations, and it is vital that the Government are held to account for their spending of public money, especially when the sums involved are so large and the stakes are so high. I therefore ask for this emergency debate to be held.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman asks leave to propose a debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration under the terms of Standing Order No. 24—namely, the matter of the Cabinet’s decision to accelerate preparations for a no-deal outcome to Brexit following the Prime Minister’s failure to allow this House promptly to express its view on the Government’s deal in the light of the significant public expenditure involved. I do not think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman quoted this, but it is right for me to quote it. I have listened carefully to the application from the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I am satisfied that the matter raised is proper to be discussed under Standing Order No. 24. Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman the leave of the House?
The objection has been raised by the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), which is in conformity with our procedures. In those circumstances, if there is an objection it is necessary for at least 40 Members to rise in their places in the House in order to facilitate such a debate. It is I think clear that somewhat in excess of 40 Members are standing in the House.
Application agreed to (not fewer than 40 Members standing in support).
I thank the hon. Member for Wellingborough, who has faithfully complied with our procedures, but the fact is that the House has, under our rules, decided that the debate is sought. I thank Members for doing so. The debate will take place immediately, and it would ordinarily do so for up to three hours but, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman will know, it has to conclude by the moment of interruption, so it will be a little less than three hours. It is right that he should now open the debate—[Interruption.] In fact, this will happen after we have heard the 10-minute rule motion, so it will be somewhat shorter. This will be a second go of the day, and a fuller opportunity for the hon. Member for Lewes (Maria Caulfield) to speak on this important matter.
Order. Mr Pound, calm yourself, man. I am sure that you have some witticism to share with a colleague, which will be of great interest to the said Member, but it could usefully be done outside the curtilage of the Chamber. The hon. Lady deserves the courtesy of the attention of the House, so I ask Members who wish to discuss other matters to do so elsewhere. We have just been talking about the need for respect. Let us show the hon. Lady respect as she introduces her ten-minute rule motion.