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UK’s Withdrawal from the EU

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 12:49 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 12:49 pm, 14th February 2019

I rise to support amendment (a) in my name and that of the Leader of the Opposition. The Secretary of State ended by saying that we have to “hold our nerve”, but he was all over the place this afternoon on all the important issues.

It is obvious—obvious—what the Prime Minister is up to. She is pretending to make progress while running down the clock: a non-update every other week to buy another two weeks of process, and inching ever closer to the 29 March deadline in 43 days’ time. We should not be fooled. Let us look at the history of recent months and set it against the exchanges today. The Prime Minister pulled the meaningful vote on 10 December, promising to seek further reassurances on the backstop. She feared a significant defeat, and it was obvious that the backstop was the problem way back then, as it had been through the autumn. That was 66 days ago, and there were then 109 days until 29 March.