Dr Julian Lewis: I am going to break the habit of a lifetime and say nothing myself, quoting instead a Liberal Democrat colleague with approval. Following some discussion of this matter on a programme this morning, I received the following message from the hon. Member – and he is honourable – for St Ives (Andrew George). He said:
“I feel very frustrated and annoyed by this. In addition, I cannot be there. My father died last night and, as you might expect, I have other priorities today which I cannot alter. Had I been able to attend, I would object in the strongest terms to THE WAY THIS IS BEING DONE –
the emphasis is his. He continued:
“I don’t mind a motion being brought forward in an open and honest manner, but not in this underhand way. If it helps, I’d be happy for you to make reference to any of this message in your remarks.”
I need add nothing further other than to endorse those sentiments.
VOTE: The House having divided: Ayes 202, Noes 228, ... Question accordingly negatived.
[NOTE: This Debate, and the Urgent Question which preceded it, can be viewed here.]