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Article 50 Extension

Part of Destitution Domestic Violence Concession (Eligibility) – in the House of Commons at 4:47 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union 4:47 pm, 20th March 2019

I think that—not quite in fairness to the Prime Minister—her purpose and her method has been obvious for a long time. To Opposition Members, it has been, “My deal or no deal.” In recent months, there has been a variation for others that she hopes to persuade to get on board with her proposal, which has been, “My deal, no deal, delay or no Brexit.” Ultimately, it falls to us as Members of the House of Commons to determine what happens and, courtesy of the important Wightman judgment, if the worst came to the worst next Friday, revocation is the one other option that we have, because it does not require the approval of the other 27 EU member states. I really hope that we do not get to that point, and I cannot see how it can be in the interests of the European Union to force us out with no deal, because it will get all the blame for all the consequences that would flow from that.

After we have been through the process that I described in answer to the intervention by Mr Gyimah, I urge the Government to listen to what Parliament says. It is no good inviting us to say what we are for if the Government say, “We are not prepared to go in that direction. We are not prepared to change.” If we are going to move, the Government will have to move along with everybody else, but the past two and three quarter years has shown that the Government have been unwilling to move one inch. The Government should then come back with a revised plan, because that is their responsibility. We do not want to seize control of the process for the sake of it, but if the Government are not acting, Parliament will have to act in their stead. The Government should bring a plan back, having listened to what the House said, so that we can debate, amend and vote on it.