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Emergency debate on no-deal ferry contract

5 March 2019 (updated on 5 March 2019)

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MPs took part in an emergency debate on the Government's no-deal ferry contracts on Tuesday 5 March 2019.

Following an application from SNP MP, Alan Brown, the Speaker granted an emergency debate on the Government's no-deal ferry contracts. 

Alan Brown opened the debate with the following remarks:

"This is all about transparency and accountability and how the Government's been run […] and the fact that these no-deal preparation have been a pure and utter shambles."

He asked for clarification from the Government and Transport Secretary about no-deal planning, expenditure of public money as a result of ferry contracts and whether further lawsuits might be forthcoming.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, maintained that the actions of his department were necessary for no-deal preparations and accused the opposition of working to frustrate the Brexit process and not offering viable alternatives. Mr Grayling said that he regrets that the Government were taken to court, but he stands by the decisions made to try and ameliorate the risks of no-deal Brexit.
  
“We, collectively, across Government, as a result of decision in Cabinet committees, took a decision to go to the ferry industry and to secure capacity to guarantee the delivery of drugs to this country, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

Application for debate

The House of Commons agreed to an application for an emergency debate, made by SNP MP, Alan Brown on Tuesday 5 March 2019. Whilst making his application, the SNP MP said:

"I wish to give formal notice to request an emergency debate under standing order 24 in order to discuss a specific and important matter, that should have urgent consideration, namely the latest developments in UK Government ferry contracts for no-deal preparations.

Mr Speaker, good governance goes hand in hand with transparency and accountability and today we've seen absolutely none of this in relation to the Transport Secretary's handling of the no-deal ferry contracts."

Emergency debates

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.

Image: Bill Boaden, Geograph

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