European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:51 pm on 29th January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 1:51 pm, 29th January 2019

I indicated that I would not take any more interventions and that I was completing my speech. I am sure that my hon. Friend will have an opportunity, if she catches the Speaker’s eye, to speak later.

I have witnessed division and discord, and I have seen passion and anger on all sides, but in the two weeks since the House rejected the withdrawal agreement, I have sensed a growing recognition of the task that has been entrusted to us. Members on all sides have begun to focus on what really matters: delivering the Brexit that Britain voted for while protecting our economy and our people.

We can increasingly see where this consensus lies, and I believe that we are within reach of a deal that this House can stand behind, but the days ahead are crucial. When I go back to Brussels to seek the changes this House demands, I need the strongest possible support behind me. Most of the amendments before us do not provide that. They create a cacophony of voices when this House needs to speak as one. I will never stop battling for Britain, but the odds of success become far longer if this House ties one hand behind my back. I call on the House to give me the mandate I need to deliver a deal this House can support. Do that, and I can work to reopen the withdrawal agreement. Do that, and I can fight for a backstop that honours our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland in a way this House can support. Do that, and we can leave the EU with a deal that honours the result of the referendum.

The time has come for words to be matched by deeds: if you want to tell Brussels what this House will accept, you have to vote for it; if you want to leave with a deal, you have to vote for it; if you want Brexit, you have to vote for Brexit.