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[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:31 pm on 1st February 2017.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 1:31 pm, 1st February 2017

May I start by congratulating Dr Johnson on an excellent maiden speech? She will do her constituents proud if her speech is anything to go by.

We have now a challenge for this whole House—what we do over the next two years and whether what we do strengthens or weakens our democracy. Over the past 40 years, Britain has worked with the EU to achieve some amazing things, but we have done so by sharing sovereignty. We were able to do so, because, when we went into the Common Market in the 1970s, we had popular consent expressed through a referendum. Last summer, we lost that consent, which should be a lesson to all of us who wanted to keep it. Surprisingly, I agreed with some of the things that Mr Osborne said, but disagreed with him over whether we should have done more. We could not make the referendum simply about the economy, and we took for granted too many of the things that we needed to argue, particularly about the necessity for politics to come together.