[9th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 2:58 pm on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union 2:58 pm, 15th January 2019

No, as I am going to conclude my remarks.

And the House of Commons will in the end have a chance to vote on that.

The referendum result came as a shock to many in this House, but it did not come as a shock to those who voted to leave. It was a cry of anguish as the EU became the lightning conductor for the feelings of 17.4 million people about the change they have seen in their communities, the disappearance of well-paid jobs, the shrinking of opportunities and—let’s be honest—above all about our collective failure to share with all of our citizens the prosperity of this, the sixth richest economy in the world. But that will not be solved by a damaging Brexit. It will not be remedied by the convulsion, the argument, the lack of direction and purpose, and the refusal to be honest about choices we face that have consumed almost all our energy, effort, attention and time.

We cannot let this carry on for the next five years. We owe it to our constituents to tell the truth. We owe it to ourselves to do the right thing and, in rejecting the deal today, as we should, we must show, as parliamentarians of all parties and all views, that we are, after the vote tonight, capable of coming together—to listen, to compromise, in the interests of the people we come here to serve.