Uk’S Withdrawal from the EU

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:39 pm on 27th February 2019.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North 6:39 pm, 27th February 2019

One thing I have noticed in the whole debate about Brexit is that small groups with very loud voices tend to dominate, and this afternoon I had a message from a constituent who said:

“Where did it say ‘leave with a deal’
on the referendum paper;
it never did—did it?”

There are small groups who think no deal is the way forward but the vast majority of my constituents, many of them among those who voted to leave in 2016, want to leave with a deal that delivers on the promises made in 2016.

I certainly believe it is reckless to leave with no deal, and what Jeremy Lefroy said about the negotiations now having gone too far and that no deal should be taken off the table is absolutely right. I welcome the fact that we will have the opportunity to stop a no deal crash-out of the EU in the next few weeks, although very late in the day.

I want to speak briefly to amendment (a). I am pleased that it has been tabled by my Front-Bench team and selected. It is credible; it is a sensible way forward. Of course it opens up the political declaration, but we know that the EU is open to that. It is such a shame, and I feel really let down by the Prime Minister, that over the last two years she has not felt able to act in the national interest and reach out across this House. She has decided on those red lines, it seems, all by herself, agreed with no one but herself. There has been no real attempt to work cross-party.

It could have been so different, and I do think it could have strengthened her hand in her negotiations with the EU if she had had Parliament backing her when she went into those discussions. I also think it would have stopped her suffering the biggest ever defeat in parliamentary history, which happened last month.

Amendment (a) is the best chance to deliver on the promises made to my constituents and everyone else’s constituents in 2016: to protect jobs and trade, and, as an MP representing a university seat, to protect some of our excellent educational schemes such as Erasmus, and also to protect the security of this nation and, finally, the dynamic alignment of rights and protections—which must be, of course, something we all support. So I am pleased that amendment (a) will be voted on this evening and I encourage everybody to get behind it.