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UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 3:06 pm on 14th March 2019.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 3:06 pm, 14th March 2019

Frankly, I would seriously consider that issue. I expressed no confidence in the Prime Minister when we had a vote within our own parliamentary party and my considered opinion now is that, were a similar vote to be held, there would be an overwhelming vote against the Prime Minister and an expression of no confidence in her. One then thinks about the logical extension of that. I am not going to make any promises to the hon. Gentleman now, but obviously it would need the Leader of the Opposition to initiate such a move. I think that Government Members who felt that they were being betrayed would then actually look at the implications flowing from that.

Obtaining a parliamentary majority for the Prime Minister’s deal is now beyond reach. It is pure fantasy to think otherwise. The Prime Minister’s deal does not even satisfy the requirement, for which the Prime Minister herself voted, of replacing the backstop. Nor does it provide a legal answer to the Attorney General’s concern that the Prime Minister’s deal would leave the UK with

“no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol’s arrangements, save by agreement.”

Who would want to sign up to that? It means that we would have less ability to leave the agreement than we have at the moment to leave the European Union. How can the Prime Minister think that we are seriously going to support that?

Our current negotiating team no longer enjoys the trust of Parliament, the European Union or even many members of the Government, as was graphically illustrated last night. The feeling on the Conservative Benches now is really strongly against the Prime Minister and her team. She has lost control, and at this most critical moment in our modern peacetime history, we need to change the general. If we were to change the Prime Minister now, there would be a case for a short extension to article 50, but in no other circumstances.