UK’s Withdrawal from the EU

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 2:16 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe 2:16 pm, 14th February 2019

I would not disagree with my hon. Friend at all. I have indeed seen those very same papers myself. When I was a Health Minister, I saw the risk assessment documents that took the firm view that it would not be in the public interest at all for some documents to be disclosed, for the very reasons that I have outlined. These papers are different, however, because members of the Cabinet who have seen them have unsuccessfully made arguments in Cabinet that they should be made public. That is the profound distinction in this case.

It really would be to the eternal shame of the Conservative party if it were to continue to support a no-deal Brexit. As ever, I make my views with perhaps too much robustness and sometimes with some passion, but I am one of the founding members of the people’s vote movement—I am very proud of that—and I believe that the only way through this impasse and mess is for this matter to go back to the country. However, I have now taken the view that the bigger national interest—I say this without any fear—is that I am no longer prepared not to vote in the interests of my country and my constituents and in accordance with my conscience. I am now of the view that ensuring that we do not crash out without a deal is my absolute priority and that is why I tabled amendment (e). I make that clear to my right hon. and very dear learned Friend Mr Clarke. We disagree on the people’s vote, but on this we are absolutely—probably as ever—as one.