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[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:02 pm on 1st February 2017.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley 4:02 pm, 1st February 2017

This is a long Second Reading debate, and yet the Bill is very succinct, and rightly so. I therefore think it is incumbent on me to be concise in my remarks.

In the lead-up to the referendum on our membership of the European Union last June, the Government published—at the cost of a little over £9 million, from memory—a booklet that went to virtually every household in the UK explaining why they believed it was best for us to remain members of the EU. The booklet also said, however, “Whatever decision the British people make, we will implement.” It is therefore, I believe, our duty to ensure that we pass this Bill tonight, without delay or amendments designed to wreck it, so that the Prime Minister has the authority to start the official formal withdrawal process, and so that this Parliament can once again exercise its sovereignty in rightly holding the Government to account to ensure that we get the best possible deal as we leave the European Union and once again broaden our horizons as a global Britain.