- 13th October 2016
- The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr David Lidington)
I warmly welcome the hon. Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz) to her new responsibilities. I am sure that she will bring to the role the wit and good humour, as well as the commitment to the House, that we have grown to expect of her during her time here. Let me also thank and pay tribute to her predecessor, the hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn), for his service. He is the living embodiment of the principle that age is nothing but a number. Throughout his parliamentary career, he has continued to express his views, and to speak on behalf of his constituents and his party, with all the passion and commitment that brought him into politics in the first place.
Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP) I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the business for next week. I warmly congratulate the hon. Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz) on her appointment. She comes to her position as a well-liked and respected individual, and I certainly look forward to working with her. I wish also to pay a short tribute to the hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn). To go from two jobs to no jobs is pretty callous, so let us get a petition together to get the hon. Gentleman restored to the Front Bench. The hon. Member for Walsall South is the fourth shadow Leader of the House in my short tenure here. I hope that her position is a little more durable than that of some of her illustrious predecessors.
I offer warm congratulations to my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz), whose talents have at last been recognised. Her appointment guarantees that the exchanges between the shadow Leader of the House and the Leader of the House will continue to be a very welcome oasis of political restraint, good sense and good humour.
When can we debate the royal prerogative and the supreme duty of the sovereign to act in the interests of the nation when a Government start to act in their own interests rather than those of the nation? Now that there is a certain Brexit crisis ahead—and given that we should judge the value of the referendum on the basis that it was won by deceptions, exaggerations and lies from both parties—how will the Leader of the House handle the situation if, in the service of the nation and in the service of the will of the democratic majority of this House, a decision is taken to withdraw the royal prerogatives delegated by the sovereign? What will he do in such a situation, if the sovereign is acting in the service of the nation?
No £350 million then?
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab)
There seems to be some political forgetfulness here. Does the Minister not recall that the Chancellor has forecast financial bumps along the road? Others fear that they will not just be Brexit bumps and that a vast sinkhole will open up in the road, into which the British economy will fall in a tailspin. If that Brexit slump occurs, how can the Minister deny the public a second vote on this? Second thoughts are always better than first thoughts, especially as the referendum was conducted on the basis of untruths from both parties. Is he going to honour the pledge to give an extra £350 million a week to the national health service?
I am afraid the hon. Gentleman has let the cat out of the bag; he wants a second referendum. There will be no second referendum and there will be no reversal. We shall continue with this.