Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:08 pm on 1st April 2019.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons 5:08 pm, 1st April 2019

May I first of all say that I hope, for the reputation of this House and the reputation of the political institutions of this country, that we will achieve a majority for at least a couple of these motions this afternoon in order to reassure the public that we do know what we are doing, or we are beginning to know what we are doing, and that we are capable of delivering responsible government and looking after the national interest in the present crisis? I think most right hon. and hon. Members must have appreciated at the weekend how little respect the public as a whole have for their political institutions at the moment, and how very low is the regard in which they hold what is going on in this House.

The House has blocked the Government’s policy. It will not vote for the withdrawal agreement, and last week in a rather curious mixture of votes it voted against the propositions before it. If we are to avoid ludicrous deadlock, today is the day when the House has to indicate that there is a majority and a consensus in favour of something positive that will give some guidance on where we are going.