I have given way many times and I will now make some progress.
This debate is absolutely necessary, but it is not welcome. Applying for an extension of article 50 with 15 days to go is a hopeless end to two years of negotiation. The fault lies squarely at the Government’s door, not with civil servants and not with the House.
I touched on this point yesterday, but I want to repeat it, because it is extremely important. It is no good the Prime Minister and the Government blaming everyone but themselves for the position in which we find ourselves. To be in government is to govern, to lead, to think through what deal might secure majority support, to realise that consensus will be needed, to have a two-year strategy to ensure that that consensus is reached, and to understand that, given the deep divisions on the Government side, meaningful engagement with the Opposition from the start would have been better than blinkered intransigence. All that has been missing. I have lost track of the number of times I have complained that the Prime Minister and the Government have pushed Parliament to one side, and this week is the culmination of that failed strategy.