I do not agree with much of what Andrew Percy said, apart from when he said that it should be a priority to get this damn thing over. He made a fair point there.
Today has been a difficult day, but we are all here with the best of intentions: to seek to represent the interests of our constituents and to do right by our consciences. I want to support all Members who are speaking in this debate and all who will participate in this process. They are trying to express what they feel to be best for our country and we must pay due respect to everybody in this debate.
That said, however, I think that this process, innovative though it may be, does represent failure. The fact that we are here is a failure of any party to win the 2017 general election with a clear mandate from the British public as to what Brexit would mean. It is a failure of the response to that general election to be a cross-party agreement about what Brexit would mean that we could all stand by and support. What we are in the business of here is trying to put options before the Government, and demonstrating support for those options and asking them to think again about how they form a coalition of support for the future course in this House.
That brings me to motion (D) on the EEA customs union. Last June, I voted for an EEA-type Brexit. I rebelled against my party’s Whip to do so and I remain glad about that. If we are to Brexit, I think that that is probably the most tolerable form. However, I have a couple of concerns with motion (D). First, we heard from Nick Boles about this issue of whether the customs union would be permanent or whether it would be in pursuit of alternative arrangements. I am sorry to disagree with my colleague the Chair of the Treasury Committee, Nicky Morgan. She and I agree on a great number of things, but I just do not agree that alternative arrangements exist. Therefore, that is not enough for me.