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Article 50 Extension

Part of Destitution Domestic Violence Concession (Eligibility) – in the House of Commons at 6:10 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour/Co-operative, Swansea West 6:10 pm, 20th March 2019

We have been given these choices: deal or no deal; and then deal or no Brexit. We now face a situation of chaos. One million people or more will probably be marching over the weekend to ask for the right to have a final say. The Government say that they are implementing the will of the people. If their deal is the will of the people, they should put it to the people to decide. We cannot agree in this place. We voted down this deal by 230 and then by149, and often for opposite reasons. One set of people say that we are not aligned enough with the EU, and the other that we are too much aligned with the EU. We cannot agree, so the deal should be put to the people. If this deal represents the will of the people, the people should decide.

This debate is about how long the extension should be. I put it to the Government that we should be requesting at least 22 weeks—five months—to allow time for a referendum. We probably could do with nine months if we are to look at the options. However, there is a real risk that the Government will go forward without a purpose, and we will simply be rejected by the EU, which will then force us into a situation where we will have either to take a no deal or to revoke article 50. In those circumstances, I very much hope that the Government choose to revoke article 50, because the people want to carry on with business as usual and not to have to face chaos.

In Swansea, people who voted leave voted in good faith for more money, more control, more trade, and more jobs. They are telling me now that they did not vote leave to leave their jobs. They can see that they will not get the trade and they can see that they will not get the control. They will not get the money, because there is a divorce bill. It is a complete shambles. People are not getting what they want. The Government are not representing the leave voters in Swansea and those voters now want the final say and they deserve that final say. That is what democracy is all about. Democracy is the right to change one’s mind. People are dying for that. Keynes famously said:

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?”

The facts have changed. When we had that vote, we did not have Donald Trump running around threatening people and undermining trade deals, environmental deals and world security. We did not have the Chinese getting rid of their democracy. We will be smashed between those two powers when we are trying to secure trade deals. We need to be part of Europe and share the values of Europe—of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. We need to work together in an uncertain world. People have woken up to the fact that that means staying in the EU. It is all very well having these stupid populist sayings, such as “take back control” and all the rest of it. People may have voted for that, but they now realise that they are losing control. There are those who say, “Oh, well, people will be angry.” The fact is that people will be absolutely enraged when they lose their jobs.

We are seeing the outbreak of populism, fascism and violence. The Daily Mail reported a case of a woman who was beaten to a pulp by people who said, “You’re from Poland, go home.” This is what is happening as a result of Brexit. It must be stopped. The people demand a final say and it is our duty to deliver it.