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Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:06 pm on 11th December 2018.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 2:06 pm, 11th December 2018

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the Prime Minister’s unprecedented decision not to proceed with the final two days of debate and the meaningful vote, despite the House’s Order of Tuesday 4 December 2018, and her failure to allow this House to express its view on the Government’s deal or her proposed negotiating objectives, without the agreement of this House.

I have had the privilege of serving this House for 35 years, and I have had strong disagreements with every Prime Minister who has served in that time—it is all there on the record—but I have never, in all those years, witnessed such an abject mess as this Prime Minister is making of these crucial Brexit negotiations and in presenting her deal to the House. Most Prime Ministers lose votes and get things wrong, but yesterday she demeaned her office by unilaterally taking her discredited deal off the table and running away, rather than facing the verdict of this House. We should have been voting on it today. There is nothing wrong with standing by your principles, but this deal is not one of principle—or apparently not one that she is prepared to stand by, anyway. Yesterday the Government did not even have the decency to allow a vote on withdrawing the business. The Prime Minister let down all MPs and the people we represent, on both sides of this House, the overwhelming majority of whom know that this deal is dead and want to get on with putting a realistic solution in place.

I want to thank my colleagues in the Labour party who supported the application for the debate yesterday, and colleagues in all the other opposition parties who supported it, and indeed Conservative Members, on both sides of the debate, in order to ensure that a vote could take place.