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Uk’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Independent, Broxtowe 6:15 pm, 13th March 2019

I have to say that it is a real pleasure to follow Andrew Bridgen. With every word he says, I remind myself exactly why I took the decision to leave the Conservative party. The state of the Conservative party is best embodied by the hon. Gentleman. If you do not sign in blood in favour of Brexit there will be no place for you in that party any longer. That is the reality of the Conservative party now that we have had the referendum, and we have a Government who are taking us through, and forcing on this country, Brexit. The hon. Gentleman is making a positive case, as a member of the Conservative party, which has always prided itself on being the party of business, for no deal in the face of the Brexit Government’s impartial impact assessments, which show conclusively that it would, in the words of the Business Secretary, who might know what he is talking about, be ruinous for this country.

I know whom I would rather listen to—the Business Secretary, not the hon. Member for North West Leicestershire, who has probably not even seen those impact assessments. Even if he has, and has read them—perhaps even understood them—he would reject them as some remain conspiracy, because they do not fit his perfect ideology. I gently say to him that the day may yet dawn when the good people of North West Leicestershire face the reality of Brexit—God help us if they ever face the reality of a hard Brexit—and lose their jobs and see the future of their children and grandchildren reduced because of his words and his actions. I hope that they will seek to put the blame where it absolutely lies—with him and all those who have led this country to make the biggest mistake we have ever made in our history, by voting to leave the European Union. I will not be part of that.

Jess Phillips—unfortunately, she is no longer in the Chamber—spoke wisely. I do not fear my electorate. Good Lord, I was elected with a majority of 389, so I can look fear in the face—I understand these things. I also know that people respect you if you are honest with them, if you fight for them, and if you tell it to them as it is. They do not thank you for spin, and they do not thank you for false promises that you cannot deliver.

Mr Speaker, in case you do not know what is going on, it is fascinating. Mr Grieve identified the fact that the motion is flawed. It does not do what the Government promised, and does not enable us to vote to take no deal off the table—that awful irresponsibility. Dame Caroline Spelman tabled an amendment, very wisely, that does the job and gives the House that opportunity. The Prime Minister stood at the Dispatch Box and promised a free vote. That is not occurring. There will be no free vote, and now the right hon. Member for Meriden has been persuaded not to press her amendment. I hope it will be pushed and I hope people will show the courage that so many right hon. and hon. Members have done—Members such as Mr Gyimah, who had the courage to resign on a point of principle in order to do the right thing by his constituents and by his country. There is, however, a free vote on another Mickey Mouse amendment which undermines everything the Government stand for.