Uk’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:11 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire 6:11 pm, 13th March 2019

When this House voted overwhelmingly to invoke article 50, we knew that the default position was that we would the leave European Union on 29 March with no deal. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs opened this debate with his usual enthusiastic and energetic manner, but his words will have struck horror into the hearts of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave and Conservative activists and members across the country. Our manifesto said that no deal is better than a bad deal, and the Prime Minister has said at the Dispatch Box on over 100 occasions that we are leaving the European Union on 29 March with or without a deal. Where does that leave our democracy or belief in politics?

My right hon. and learned Friend Mr Clarke spoke at length, as he is wont to do as Father of the House, and I respect him for his consistent opinion on the European Union. He mentioned that the referendum was three years ago, which seems a long time, but he led the remain campaign in the east midlands while I led the leave campaign. I remember well that we debated, we were on television, we were on the radio and we went out to hustings, but when the votes came in at the end of the day the result was 59% to 41% in favour of leaving the European Union. He is right that his seat voted to remain, but it was one of few in the east midlands to do so, and I am disappointed, as will be the people of the east midlands, that he is treating that democratic decision so badly that he would invite us to revoke article 50 and go against the will of the British people, to whom this House decided we would give the decision in a referendum.