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[7th Allotted Day]

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 1:02 pm on 11th January 2019.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead 1:02 pm, 11th January 2019

Yes. It is very important for my constituents to understand that, perhaps, we are having a debate in the correct way in this House today. When we had the referendum in 1975, which I was not allowed to take part in because, believe it or not, I was too young, I did not, a year later, lobby my MP to say, “We want to do it again, because I was not allowed to vote as I was too young.” We accepted the decision. I was away in the Army at the time, but we accepted it. The reason why I was so proud of this country in the latest referendum is that the British public stuck two fingers up at the political elite and said, “No, this is what we want to do because you haven’t got the guts to make that decision in the House of Commons.” Many in this House, including my Prime Minister at the time, did not expect them to do that and, partly, neither did I—in the back of my heart I wanted them to, but my mind told me that they would not do it. But they did. The British public said by a large number—I know that it split my constituency—“No, we want to come out.”

I would really like to support the deal of this Prime Minister and this Government, but the issue for me is the backstop. I served in Northern Ireland and I lost good colleagues to protect the Union. I will not vote for anything that does not protect the Union. This will be a sovereign country; we cannot have part of this country outside the Union, so I say to the Prime Minister and to the Treasury Bench, “Go back, do a deal”—I have done deals with Europe before as a Minister in several different Departments—“sort out the backstop, give us our sovereignty, and you will get this Bill through the House and we will leave the European Union.”