Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:17 pm on 11th December 2018.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union 3:17 pm, 11th December 2018

I absolutely agree with my right hon. Friend, and I was just coming to that point. There are two other tasks that we now have to face. One is that we will have to apply for an extension of article 50, because if either of those two courses of action is pursued by the Government, or by the House in the absence of Government leadership, we will require more time.

Secondly, we must address, as the very first thing, the point my right hon. Friend has just raised, which is to make it clear that we will not leave the European Union without an agreement, because the Government say it would be chaotic and damaging. I do not believe that any Government would be so irresponsible as to take us out of the EU without an agreement, and I do not think Parliament would allow it to happen, so why should we carry on pretending that it might happen? The sooner we take it off the table, the better it will be, above all, for businesses that watch this mess and say, “We would just like to get on with selling things, making things and exporting things. Can you please give us some clarity and certainty about what is going to happen?”