I will keep my remarks brief. The Government regret the position that Parliament is in today. This motion not only challenges again our constitutional conventions but offers Parliament hardly any time to consider, let alone debate, the legislation. The people of the United Kingdom rightly expect our democracy to be upheld at all times and for our democratic institutions to take their responsibilities seriously.
Last night, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out the Government’s approach to next steps, including that we will need to seek an extension to article 50—one that is as short as possible and avoids the need to fight the European parliamentary elections, which, nearly three years after the referendum, would be unacceptable. She also set out the Government’s next steps to leave the EU in a way that can command support from a majority of parliamentarians. In that context, I question why this legislation is necessary.