Following an application from SNP Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford, the Speaker granted an emergency debate on the current UK-EU Brexit negotiations.
The SNP leader opened the debate with the following remarks:
"...we are three months away from leaving the European Union and we are sleepwalking towards disaster. There is no majority for the Prime Minister’s deal. We know that today the Cabinet was discussing a no-deal scenario—which very few would support—yet with the Prime Minister deferring a meaningful vote to the middle of January and the process of determining our future having to be agreed by 21 January, we run the risk of crashing out of the EU almost by accident. Having a meaningful vote on 14 January, with only a week thereafter for this House to agree an alternative, is playing with fire."
The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Stephen Barclay, responded on behalf of the Government and stated that "...the responsible act of a Government is to prepare for the contingency of a no deal, but it is absolutely our priority to secure a deal, and that is what the Prime Minister continues to work day and night to do."
Application for debate
The House of Commons agreed to an application for an emergency debate, made by SNP Westminster Leader, on Monday 17 December 2018. Whilst making his application, the SNP Leader stated that,
"Given the historic nature of UK politics at this moment, I am grateful that you have given this opportunity for an emergency debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, that this House should consider the outcomes of the Prime Minister’s recent discussions with the European Commission and the European Heads of Government regarding the withdrawal agreement and potential ways forward.
This Government have been found in contempt of Parliament, yet still the Prime Minister has failed to show any due respect to this place. This House voted to secure a meaningful vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal and the Government agreed to bring that forward last week, yet they have pulled it. They are breaking their promises and showing utter contempt for Parliament and for the constituents whom we represent. The Prime Minister is running around like a headless chicken, going to Europe with the begging bowl and grasping at straws to find a way to appease the hard-right Brexiteers on her own Benches. Europe is not budging and the Prime Minister’s deal is dead. The game is over and the Prime Minister must admit so."
An emergency debate is a debate called at short notice in the House of Commons on a matter that should have urgent consideration. An MP may apply to the Speaker for an emergency debate under the rules of Standing Order No. 24.
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