I am going to make some progress.
Here we are, with 15 days to go, and the extension of article 50 is a necessity, not a choice. It is the only way in which we can try to prevent ourselves from leaving without a deal on
It is important for us to identify a purpose, and the first purpose is to remove the
I listened to the earlier exchanges about EU elections. Let me make it clear that the Labour party does not want to be involved in those elections. There are at least three different views, both here and in Brussels: I know that, because I have been discussing this issue in Brussels for six months. One view is that we cannot get past May without participating in the elections. Another is that we cannot get past June without doing so. Another is that it might be possible to add a protocol or agreement to the treaty that would allow a long extension without EU elections. All three opinions are circulating here and in Brussels, and lawyers are putting their names to them.
We must decide, as a House, what we are requesting extra time for. The Government must then go to Brussels and seek an extension for the agreed purpose, and engage in discussion and negotiation about how long it should be. The one thing that we should not do is just set the clock running and say that that will dictate everything that happens from here on.