I congratulate Peter Kyle on managing to deliver a powerful speech despite a certain amount of distraction. He was responsible for my defeat in his constituency in 2005—not as the candidate but as the campaign manager—and I have always been slightly frightened of him since.
I find myself wondering whether it is a coincidence entirely that the people who normally sit around me on these Benches are not here, given that we all know that among them are counted noted naturists. It has long been a thoroughly British trait to be able to ignore pointless nakedness, and I trust that the House will now be able to return to the issue we are discussing.
In last Monday’s debate, my great friend and mentor, my right hon. Friend Sir Nicholas Soames, urged the House to take to heart the words that are recited every day during Prayers by the Speaker’s Chaplain:
“never lead the nation wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals but laying aside all private interests and prejudices keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all mankind”.
In the nine years since I arrived in this House, there has never been a day, or a debate, in which this injunction is more relevant. If by doing this a clear majority of right hon. and hon. Members are able to support one of the Brexit compromises on the Order Paper today, the vast majority of the people we represent will breathe a deep sigh of relief. We are sent here to make the most difficult decisions on behalf of our constituents. If we vote for a compromise version of Brexit this evening, they will see that we are up to the job.