Yesterday the House of Commons gave Theresa May a positive mandate to return to Brussels to renegotiate the deal. During the debate, Sir William Cash made the following interventions:
Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): On the question of our control over our laws, to honour the referendum will my right hon. Friend give instructions to make certain that in any future withdrawal and implementation Bill, there will be an express repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, so as to dovetail with section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which we have passed?
The Prime Minister: As my hon. Friend knows, in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act, we repealed the 1972 Act. It would be necessary to replicate the impact of some aspects of that Act for the purposes of the implementation period, but I certainly take what my hon. Friend has said. Within the withdrawal agreement Bill that we will need to bring before the House, we will make absolutely clear the arrangements for ensuring that the European Communities Act, and its impacts, do not go beyond the end of the implementation period.
Sir William Cash: Somebody who refers to national suicide, as my right hon. and learned Friend did the other day, is now moving towards a proposition that involves constitutional homicide, but let me put it another way. Does he agree that he voted for the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which states unequivocally that the European Communities Act 1972 will be expressly repealed? Therefore, is what he is now saying going to contradict that, because he does not want the 1972 Act to be expressly repealed—yes or no?
Mr Grieve: I say to my hon. Friend that he is familiar enough with the constitutions of this country and this House to know that this House can propose, debate, pass and revoke laws—we do it quite often sometimes, including laws that have never actually been implemented. So this House can do what it thinks is right at any given moment, and that is the flexibility we need. I tabled my amendment in the spirit of trying to reach some sort of understanding of where the majority might lie to bring this unhappy episode to a conclusion. I have also made it clear that in doing that one has to keep in mind and respect the decision of the earlier referendum, but that does not mean—I will come back to this in a moment as well—that one simply says that one is going to drag the country out on terms that nobody very much seems to support and towards a future that on the face of it looks pretty bad. To do that would be an abdication of our responsibility.