[9th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 6:23 pm on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Conservative, Worthing West 6:23 pm, 15th January 2019

The UK is to leave the EU. That decision was taken two years ago. The question is whether we crash out or support the withdrawal agreement, to be followed by a period of transition and the future arrangements on trade and relationships.

Assuming that we are not trying to reverse the referendum—I think there is no majority, either in the country or in the House, for that—the majority of us support the Prime Minister’s deal. The majority of Conservative supporters support that, and I suspect that the majority of Labour supporters support that. Other parties, including from Northern Ireland, would as well given the choice.

Our responsibility is to find where there is an overlap between what is possible and what is right. I believe that the negotiated agreement on withdrawal is that position.

The Opposition, to be reasonably polite, seem to resemble members of the scarabaeidae family who are upside down, pushing in the wrong direction and do not quite know where they are going. If the choice for the country is between chaos and compromise, I think this agreement is the right way of being sensible. I back the plan in the national interest.