[9th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 5:46 pm on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Independent, Bury South 5:46 pm, 15th January 2019

This should be a historic day for the future of our country and Parliament. This was once the Chamber of Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee. Instead today is a day of high farce and self-delusion: the Government pressing ahead with a deal they have known for weeks is dead; the leadership of my former party offering the illusion of an election when it has no chance of winning a no confidence vote; the no deal camp who have no regard for the impact this would have on our constituents.

In the last-chance saloon it is incumbent on us to seek a pragmatic compromise that can secure a majority in this House and in all political parties. I do not care whether this is presented by the Government or facilitated by this House. Putting Brexit back to the people would be an abdication of our responsibility; it has nothing to do with breaking a logjam and everything to do with seeking to reverse the result of the first referendum. It will further divide our country when we should be leading and healing.

I cannot support this worst of all worst deals, and genuinely believe the only option that can now secure a majority in this House is a common market 2. At its core that is a very simple idea: that we can be out of the political structures of the EU but maintain our economic and security partnership. This will require a radically reworked political declaration based on EEA and EFTA. After tonight this should form the basis of the Prime Minister’s new negotiating position, or alternatively the House will have to take control and seek a pragmatic compromise. Common market 2 or something else: our duty is to lead and to heal this divided nation.