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[Day 2]

Part of Burma – in the House of Commons at 2:57 pm on 15th March 2018.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe 2:57 pm, 15th March 2018

I might not quite go that far, but the hon. Gentleman makes a really important point. I was a member of the Government that decided we would have a referendum. To be very blunt, I am now quite ashamed of the fact that I made a decision that we should have a referendum without the proper debate that we clearly should have had and without the long run-up. More than that, this is the conclusion that I think the British people have also reached: how on earth did a responsible Government put in front of us, the people of this country—notwithstanding how brilliant we are—an alternative that we now see will cause our country so much harm? During the referendum campaign, when “Project Fear” was at its full height—the campaign was very poor on both sides, but “Project Fear” in particular was madness and nonsense—I think that subconsciously, people thought to themselves, “No responsible Government would put something to us as an alternative to their preferred option that would deliver all this stuff, when actually, it will harm our economy, and even undermine or threaten our security and the future of peace in Northern Ireland. They wouldn’t do that.” Of course, now we know that that is exactly what that option was, but we have moved on, as I must too.