DExEU – ARTICLE 50 – 7 November 2016

Dr Julian Lewis: If the result had gone the other way, leavers like me would have unequivocally accepted it – [Interruption]. That is absolutely the case. Therefore the same should be expected of hon. Members who were defeated by the referendum result. Given that they all say that they would vote for article 50 in a vote in the House of Commons, why do we not hold such a vote straight away on a straightforward resolution, so that we can see whether that is sincere or whether they are as cynical as their reaction to the true statement that I made seems to suggest?

[The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Mr David Davis): My right hon. Friend tempts me, but the proper route for the Government to pursue is to await the outcome of the court case and then act properly under the law.]

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[​Mr Douglas Carswell:​​ It is now more than four months since a clear majority voted to leave. In a spirit of constructive engagement, and further to what the right hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) said, may I suggest that the Secretary of State bring a motion, as opposed to a Bill, before the House ahead of the Supreme Court hearing in January, because doing so might underline where the balance of opinion lies both in this House and in the unelected place.

Mr Davis: ​As I said to my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis), it seems to me that the proper approach of the Government is to respect the ruling of the Court and therefore wait on the final outcome in the Supreme Court.]

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[Mr Christopher Chope: May I press my right hon. Friend further on the idea of allowing both Houses of Parliament to vote early on a resolution calling on the Government to exercise Article 50 before 31 March? Surely to do so would respect the judgment in the High Court, because that judgment made it clear that this House is sovereign; and, as a sovereign House, we should decide how to exercise that sovereignty.

Mr Davis: I refer my hon. Friend to the comment put to me earlier, which was that it is within the power of the House, if it so chooses, to pass such a resolution.]

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[Mr Peter Bone: While I understand the Government’s desire to proceed with the court case  there is a principle of law  is it not a good idea, which we have heard from both sides of the House today, urgently to put a resolution of the House that can be voted on, which would help the courts to decide Parliament’s view on Article 50?

Mr Davis: I have stated my view on the proper approach for the Government. That does not constrain Parliament at all.]