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Article 50 Extension

Part of Destitution Domestic Violence Concession (Eligibility) – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 4:15 pm, 20th March 2019

I am grateful for the chance to speak in this debate, and I commend Keir Starmer for having secured it.

Despite the Secretary of State’s protestations—I can understand why, out of loyalty to his Prime Minister, he has to make them—the Prime Minister’s deal is finished. She will not get that deal through next week. She will not get any changes to it this week, this month or even this year. She is now acting like a motorist who brings a car back to the garage week after week and then runs to the press expressing her frustration at the mechanic for refusing to take a decision to give an MOT when it is perfectly obvious that she is driving a clapped-out old banger that should have been consigned to the scrapheap weeks before. An extra coat of paint on this deal will not make it road worthy; it should be scrapped, and if there is to be any attempt at a deal, it has to be a deal reached on the basis of consensus and engagement with the whole House, including the 90% who do not agree with the Prime Minister’s vision.

The options are a significant extension, not just for a few weeks or a couple of months; the complete revocation of article 50, which would give a future Government the option of trying again; and crashing out with no deal. It was very noticeable today at Prime Minister’s questions that the Prime Minister repeatedly went through a litany of options that she was refusing to take forward because the House had voted them down. None were voted down by anything like the same calamitous margin as the option she is now determined to bring back for the third time, in flagrant violation of the traditions of the House, which—remember—was supposed to get sovereignty returned to it by this whole Brexit fiasco. Given that the Prime Minister has failed twice to get her deal through the House, surely it is well past time that she and her Government accepted it is not Parliament that is out of step but the Government.