After the successful passage of the Second Reading of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill on Monday night, the House of Commons voted again on Tuesday night to respect the will of the British people in last June’s EU Referendum, and to allow the Government to get on with delivering Brexit and delivering for Britain.
I brought forward a motion as Leader of the House to ensure that the Government’s working majority on the Floor of the House is reflected in the Committees of the House. The Government is determined to fulfil our constitutional rights and obligations towards the people of the United Kingdom, and to honour the result of both the EU referendum and the general election.
As I said from the Despatch Box on Tuesday, “hundreds of minor, technical changes are voted on in every Parliament through Committees, but unless this motion is passed, even these changes could be prevented. Amendments made by a handful of Opposition MPs in Committee would then have to be reversed on Report, involving multiple Divisions and many unnecessary hours spent passing through the Lobbies. This would cause lengthy delays at a time when the public rightly have the expectation that the Government will deliver their business through the House in a timely fashion.”
There is a strong precedent for this set in 1976 by the late Walter Harrison, Labour Deputy Chief Whip, who proposed a motion on a sitting Friday, with no notice and no debate, to grant the Government a majority on Standing Committees, and this majority was retained when they soon after became a minority Government.
I was pleased that so many right hon. and hon. Members, on all sides of the House, were able to speak in Tuesday’s debate.
The Commons voted in favour of the motion, in support of getting on with the business of Brexit, and, as a passionate Leave campaigner, I was very pleased that this potential opportunity for those opposed to Brexit to considerably slow the process down has been removed.