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

I might do so when I have got going, but the filibustering on the business motion means that we have very little time for debate, so I am going to make an effort to keep my speech short. With respect to my hon. Friend, who is an old friend, I will not give way.

What happened last week was understandable. People plumped for what they wanted, and we spread so widely over eight motions that nothing actually got a majority. Today, I trust that people will vote for more than one motion if they can live with more than one, because if we just keep plumping for our one and only solution, we will find that we are broken up. That is what my right hon. Friend Sir Oliver Letwin had in mind when he introduced this process.

I voted for, I think, five of the motions last week, and, as I shall argue, I do not think that they are incompatible with each other. Some are larger than others, and they swallow one within the other. Some are on separate subsets of the problem. What we are all asking ourselves, in this deadlock, is, what compromise would each and every Member be prepared to accept in the national interest?