European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:27 pm on 29th January 2019.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield 4:27 pm, 29th January 2019

I cannot deny that I have found the process of Brexit one of the most wearisome and unpleasant periods of my time in this House, but the cloud has a little bit of a silver lining. I find this afternoon that an amendment I first proposed last summer, which was vehemently denounced by some of my hon. and right hon. Friends as being about to break the party apart, and that I brought back just before Christmas, and passed with the help of many hon. and right hon. Members, now appears to have something to commend it to the very people who denounced it then. I note with pleasure that amendment (n) appears to command some support among Conservative Members, and from my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, but it could not even have been brought up for consideration if the system that had been devised for this House, simply to have motions in neutral terms be unamendable, had been followed. I derive some slight satisfaction from that.

I now tempt the House to accept another amendment, amendment (g), and I will briefly explain why. We are mired in complete paralysis. The deal that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister brought back, which I suspect is probably the best deal available, does not commend itself to many of my hon. and right hon. Friends. If they voted to leave, it does not meet their dreams at all. What about somebody like myself? When I look at the deal objectively, from the point of view of an ex-remainer, I simply cannot understand how we are going to be better off leaving on such terms than remaining in the European Union.