Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:03 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 5:03 pm, 11th December 2018

I called this debate because we should be having the proper vote this evening at 7 o’clock. Instead, the Prime Minister has disappeared, allegedly looking for assurances somewhere, and all of her Ministers here are incapable of telling us when the actual vote will be. Is it to be next week? Is it to be 21 January? When will it be?

What we have had over the past two and a half years is a Government exercising their contempt for Parliament by the legislation that they have brought forward, with its proliferation of Henry VIII clauses, culminating, historically, in a vote by this House finding them to be in contempt of Parliament itself.

The purpose of this motion today was to allow this House to express its anger at the way in which the Government have treated it. It has also provided a way for many Members on both sides of the House to express their concerns. There is not much support for the Government’s strategy here, not much support for the way that the Prime Minister has run away from this particular issue. Parliament needs to assert itself. This Government are in contempt of Parliament. They are not taking Parliament seriously and are in danger of leading us into a no-deal cliff-edge Brexit, which will be incredibly damaging for the whole country. Today Parliament needs to assert itself. Tomorrow the Government need either to bring a vote here, or to get out of the way and let somebody else take this issue seriously and negotiate properly on behalf of this country.

Question put.

The House divided:

Ayes 0, Noes 299.