UK’s Withdrawal from the EU

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 12:19 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 12:19 pm, 14th February 2019

I have taken a lot of interventions. I am conscious that many other Members wish to speak, including Keir Starmer, so I will make some progress.

It is clear that a workable compromise with the EU on the backstop can secure a substantial and sustainable majority in this House and give the Prime Minister a clear and irrefutable mandate to get her deal over the line. In supporting the Government’s motion today, this House can do exactly that. Getting to a compromise is a challenge, but it is not an insurmountable one. It requires the EU and the UK to come together and find a solution, and it calls for both sides of the House to continue to work hard to find and grow the common ground, which is in the interests of many watching these proceedings.

As we prepare to exit the European Union, this Government are focused on their most pressing task—to deliver a legally binding change to the backstop—and committed to delivering on that key demand. I am meeting European ambassadors tomorrow to continue making that case, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is speaking today with a series of European leaders. We are also engaging widely across the House, be that with the alternative arrangements working group, yesterday with the right hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras or in the 30 January meeting between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

We have a clear outcome: a programme of engagement with European leaders and engagement across this House. Tonight Members need to give the Government time to make good on this work and, as a House, to hold our nerve, to deliver a deal that addresses the twin risks of no deal or no Brexit and to respect the biggest vote in our democratic history and deliver what people voted for.