Withdrawal Agreement Payment to the European Union

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 6th December 2017.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons 7:00 pm, 6th December 2017

I have never heard anybody put this argument in quite this extreme way. The British public answered the simple question of whether they wished to leave the European Union, but that question carried within it hundreds of highly complicated sub-questions which now have to be addressed after the negotiations. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that we should not, for example, discuss the basis on which we make a contribution towards accrued pension liabilities during our membership of the European Union because our masters, the people, have decided that we must pay those accrued pension liabilities and are indifferent to how much that will cost? That is an absurd misuse of the one simple question about whether or not to stay in the EU.