Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:31 pm on 1st April 2019.

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Photo of Peter Kyle Peter Kyle Labour, Hove 5:31 pm, 1st April 2019

The hon. Gentleman anticipates where I will get to in my speech. I will answer the question once I have addressed it, but I think I can predict that we will get there soon.

I believe that the solution is to work with what we have before us: to accept the world as it is, not the world as we would like it to be. After the referendum, I travelled to Norway and met negotiators and Ministers. I visited the European economic area headquarters in Brussels and I worked alongside colleagues to champion a soft Brexit, which I then voted for. So those who say that I and others like me have simply tried to scupper Brexit from the start are wrong.

I have also voted for every proposition from the Labour Front Bench and I encourage others to do the same as another way of achieving compromise and consensus. I congratulate the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Brexit Secretary on their excellent work in crafting a set of Brexit policies that puts the future of our economy and workers first and foremost. I believe that if they had done this from a position within Government, we would have been able to present a deal to Parliament that would have been accepted. That is why our motion relates to a deal, rather than specifically to the Government’s deal.

I know that many people on these Benches still long for a better proposition than the one on offer. We must be honest with each other, however. When the Prime Minister triggered the article 50 process, we all knew, whether we voted for it or against it, that it bestowed on the Government the right to negotiate a deal on behalf of the British people. That deal is now before us, and it defines Brexit.