European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:54 pm on 29th January 2019.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham 5:54 pm, 29th January 2019

With two months to go until 29 March, it is hardly surprising that we are once again debating our withdrawal from the European Union. It is pretty obvious that we should be much further ahead in the process. Of course, the warning signs have been there for months, as all Members have said: from the minute the backstop went down to the Chequers agreement and the withdrawal agreement, which were of course not right for our country. I voted against the withdrawal agreement.

At this crucial time, we need leadership, which is why I welcome the Prime Minister’s very clear statement today. She should be commended for the way she handled strong questioning and rightly addressed many of the challenges relating to the withdrawal agreement. She should be particularly commended for reopening the negotiations on the withdrawal agreement. I would like to hear more from the Government about whether they have engaged in discussions and are preparing to hear from the European Commission whether it is prepared, willing and able to reopen the negotiations and get that legally binding change to the withdrawal agreement.

It is right that we now concentrate all efforts on delivering the referendum mandate. We cannot have more statements or glorified letters of assurances; we must get that clear, legally binding change to the text of the withdrawal agreement. When the negotiations are reopened, we need to ensure that the right people are engaged and involved in the process.