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UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 1:38 pm on 14th March 2019.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 1:38 pm, 14th March 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Lady, because that encapsulates the problem that we have been living with for the last two years. The referendum answered the question, “Would you rather be in or out of the EU?” It did not answer the question, “If out, what sort of future relationship do you want?”, on which there are many views, ranging from a very remote relationship, looking elsewhere for trade and so on, to essentially keeping within the models that have worked reasonably well in the last half century or so. They are massively different—ideologically different—views. That is the reason why the Prime Minister should have put her red lines to Parliament. The original red lines that came out in the autumn of 2016 were not even put to the Cabinet before the Prime Minister announced them. On a question of this importance, whether someone is the Prime Minister or not, it is not good enough to shrink that decision to such a small group of people, not to open it out to the Cabinet in the first instance, and never to open it out to Parliament. That is a central point.