European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 4:03 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Chair, Treasury Committee 4:03 pm, 12th March 2019

I think my hon. Friend is anticipating the phase 2 negotiations about the form of the future relationship. The difficulty with that is that, unless we pass this withdrawal agreement today or in the next couple of weeks, we are not going to get on to debating phase 2. If my hon. Friend wants to have that debate, he needs to vote for the agreement tonight and then make sure that we are going to move on to phase 2.

I will be brief because I know that many other right hon. and hon. Members want to speak in this debate. I have said before that it is very easy to remain in our entrenched positions and to keep saying the same things over and over again. However, I challenge hon. Members on both sides of the House to think about whether now is the time—and we have heard that my hon. Friend Tim Loughton could vote for the agreement tonight—to say that we will change our positions.

Actions and votes have consequences, and if this withdrawal agreement is not passed this evening, we may move on tomorrow to a debate about no deal and we may then on to a debate about the extension of article 50. There will be those in this House who want to have those debates, either because they think no deal is a good thing, or because they think they can take it off the table and potentially put the option of remaining on the table.

A short extension of article 50 would be worse than useless, creating more uncertainty and instability in this country, so I urge right hon. and hon. Members, particularly on these Benches, who have said so far today that they have made up their mind or that they might vote against the agreement, “Please think again”, because the beneficial consequences of passing this withdrawal agreement tonight will be enormous, and I think the public will thank us for it.