Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:10 pm on 11th December 2018.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee 4:10 pm, 11th December 2018

I will not give way to the hon. Lady, because there are lots of Members who want to take part in the debate.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, my right hon. Friend Mr Lidington was absolutely right when he said that we have to face some home truths, particularly those who are intent on rejecting this deal. Home truth No. 1 is that no deal is still on the table and no Government can take it off. EU citizens here and UK citizens abroad are at risk of having no support—none of the support all of us have been calling for over the past two years—and we risk the worst damage to our economy. A second referendum would not only split our country down the middle; I believe it is an abrogation of our responsibility when we were elected last year on a mandate of implementing Brexit.

The withdrawal agreement is, like it or not, what Brexit looks like in reality—backstop and all. To get an agreement, the Prime Minister is entirely right to pause the debate. It is our job to minimise the risk of the UK leaving the EU, and the Government owe it to the House to have the best deal to put to a vote. Rather than focusing on the sensibilities of the House of Commons, I will focus on what is best for our country. The Government are clear that there will be a meaningful vote and debate, and that they will try to resolve some of the issues around the backstop. As Members it is our duty to come to an agreement—not to pass the buck and certainly not to duck our responsibility—to get a way to leave the EU that is acceptable to both sides of the House.