Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:12 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Phil Wilson Phil Wilson Labour, Sedgefield 6:12 pm, 27th March 2019

As my hon. Friend knows, my hon. Friend Peter Kyle and I have been working on a compromise so that the people can decide whether the Brexit on offer is the way that they want to go. That option was not there in 2016 and the people have the right to compare the Brexit facts with the promises made back then.

Implementing any deal without a final say for the British people will be divisive, because they will not have had a say on whether they want, for example, to pay £39 billion to the EU. They also will not have been asked whether they want to remain in a customs union, to accept freedom of movement or to be like Norway. In fact, they will not have a say on any of the proposals that could come to fruition. It is not a criticism of colleagues in the House who have put forward such proposals today, but how do we know what the people voted for or will consent to unless we ask them?

It continues to lie heavily with me that on the several occasions in this House that I have asked the Prime Minister whether her deal is better than the one we have now, she could not answer. Maybe the people will disagree with me and agree with the Prime Minister, but it is time to find out. If the people look at the Brexit facts and they compare favourably with what was promised almost three years ago, so the Brexit deal passes—fine, let us see the deal implemented. Under our proposal, the deal would be given passage through this House with the proviso that it goes to the people in a confirmatory ballot; if the deal is agreed to, it is implemented. That would then put an end to any idea of a third or a fourth referendum. In fact, there is a strong argument that the process that we are undertaking now should have taken place before the referendum in 2016, with the facts before the people, instead of promises that will never materialise.

Some say that what we are promising is undemocratic because the people have already had their say. Yes, they have. But they did not have a say on the current Brexit deal—or, in fact, on any Brexit deal—and they should. When I suggest that the electorate should be given the final say on what the deal should be, some people react as if the only ones who would be allowed to vote are those who voted to remain. People should have the right to changes their minds—not just from leave to remain, but from remain to leave. I do not believe that MPs in this House today, who are elected, in theory, for five-year terms, should have the final say on an issue that will affect our electors, and their families and descendants, for years to come. If that were to happen, it would not reflect well on the establishment, however it is appointed or elected.

The final say should not be given to Members of this House exclusively. The final say belongs to the people. Brexit started with the people and it should end with the people.