Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:23 pm on 11th December 2018.

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Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee 3:23 pm, 11th December 2018

Because too many people leading these negotiations do not have sufficient faith in the people, economy and future of this country. Who gave a mandate to this House to set itself above the people? Nothing could be better calculated to sow despair and cynicism about politics and politicians, or about this House, or about the credibility of our democracy, than for this House to fail to understand what the word “leave” means; to argue that leave voters must have their motives dissected and psychoanalysed; or to try to prove that we really did not mean leave, that we were voting about something else or that it was all too complicated for the little minds of the voters. There is no ambiguity in the word “leave” which this House placed on the ballot paper.

When we resume the debate, let us share ideas about what kind of relationship the UK might have with the EU after we have left, but leaving the EU means, at the end of it, becoming once again an independent sovereign state. “Leave” does not mean bringing back the same treaty, costing billions for nothing in return, that installs the EU Court of Justice in some superior position over the agreement or that holds the UK hostage to what the EU might decide about our future; or remaining in a single customs territory or subject to an EU rulebook.

The prospect of bringing an acceptable withdrawal treaty to this House is also about making it clear that the UK is preparing and will be prepared to leave the EU on 29 March without a withdrawal agreement, to trade on World Trade Organisation terms. The only alternative is to lie down and submit to the will of the EU, which seems to be the policy of an increasing number of people in this House