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[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:06 pm on 1st February 2017.

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Photo of George Osborne George Osborne Conservative, Tatton 1:06 pm, 1st February 2017

I will make some progress before taking interventions.

We have to accept that, in a democracy, the majority has spoken. Although I am a passionate believer in an open, internationalist, free-trading Britain, I am also a passionate believer in Britain as a democracy. It is unfashionable in schools these days to teach what I believe to be a true tale of our nation’s history, which stretches from Magna Carta to the Glorious Revolution, the founding fathers of the American constitution, the Great Reform Act, female emancipation and the like, but we have given the modern world a version of democracy that has spread far beyond our shores.

Therefore, to vote against the majority verdict of the largest democratic exercise in British history would risk putting Parliament against people, provoking a deep constitutional crisis in our country and alienating people who already feel alienated. I am not prepared to do that, so I will be voting for the Bill tonight.