Leaving the EU

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:48 pm on 21st January 2019.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 3:48 pm, 21st January 2019

The right hon. Gentleman raises a number of issues. He talked about the Belfast agreement. As I said in my statement, this Government will not reopen the Belfast agreement. I have never considered doing that and I would not do it. We remain committed to the Belfast agreement and to maintaining our commitments under it.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about the question of no deal and running down the clock. We are not running down the clock. I brought to the House a deal that had been negotiated with the European Union, and the House has rejected that. I say once again to the right hon. Gentleman, as I did earlier to the Leader of the Opposition and to other Members, that it is very simple: you cannot wish away no deal. Either you stay in the European Union or you have a deal. I believe that it is right for us to leave the European Union because that was what people voted for in the referendum in 2016. If somebody does not want no deal, they have to be willing to agree a deal. The point about sitting down and talking with people across this House is to identify those issues on which it will be possible for us to make changes such that we can secure support around this House.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his comments about the announcement we made today about the fees for applications for citizens. I commend my hon. Friends the Members for South Leicestershire (Alberto Costa) and for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman) and my right hon. Friend Dame Cheryl Gillan, but the issue was also raised by other Members across this House.

Finally, I will say to the right hon. Gentleman, as I have said before and will continue to say, that for the Scottish National party to stand up and say that the best economic future for Scotland is to be outside the United Kingdom is to fly—[Hon. Members: “Hooray!”] Well, I have to say to every one of those Members who is cheering that thought that that is to fly in the face of economic reality, because the reality is—[Hon. Members: “Hooray!”]