Commenting on the programme motion for the Article 50 legislation proposed by the Government, which has a five-day timetable for its passage through the House of Commons, Chris Leslie MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:
“The Government had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the courts to bring this bill before Parliament and yet they still seem determined to gag parliamentarians as much as possible.
“It is simply unacceptable for Ministers to try and railroad this incredibly important law through Parliament without sufficient time for proper debate.
“It beggars belief that we will have far less time to debate the legislation that takes us out of the EU than we did previous European treaties.
“This is the most significant law we’ve ever debated on our relationship with Europe and yet the Government will only give it an eighth of the time that was spent on the Maastricht Treaty.”
Notes to editors
The House of Commons Library shows that previous legislation relating to the EU had much longer for debate (the figures below are totals across the Commons and Lords):
- European Communities Bill 1971-72 had 39 days.
- European Communities (Amendment) Bill 1985-86 had 12 days.
- European Communities (Amendment) Bill 1992-93 (Maastricht) had 41 days.
- European Communities (Amendment) Bill 1997-98 (Amsterdam) had 16 days.
- European Communities (Amendment) Bill 2001-02 (Nice) had 11 days.
- European Union (Amendment) Bill 2008 (Lisbon) had 25 days.