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[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:47 pm on 1st February 2017.

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Photo of David Jones David Jones Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 6:47 pm, 1st February 2017

May I start by paying tribute to all the right hon. and hon. Members who have contributed to what my hon. Friend Dr Johnson, in her excellent maiden speech, rightly called an historic debate? Members on both sides of the House, supporters of both leave and remain, have spoken with passion and sincerity, and there have been some outstanding contributions. Several times over the past two days we have seen this House at its very best. A wide range of issues have been raised during the debate. I will seek to address them in the time available to me, but I hope that hon. Members will forgive me if I do not address every single point made by every single speaker.

Let me be clear: what we are considering is the most straightforward Bill possible. The Bill is necessary to implement the referendum result and respect the judgment of the Supreme Court; it is positively not a vehicle for determining the terms of the broader negotiations that will follow. The Bill follows one of the largest democratic exercises in this country’s history. As pointed out by many hon. Members, an issue that has been central to political debate in this country for decades was finally put to the people of the United Kingdom, and the people made their decision.

We have heard repeatedly from hon. Members on both sides of this debate, on both sides of the House, that they fully respect and accept the referendum’s outcome. Today is an opportunity for all of us to demonstrate that respect by supporting this small but important Bill.