Duties in connection with Article 50 extension

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 3rd April 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Chuka Umunna Chuka Umunna Independent, Streatham 7:30 pm, 3rd April 2019

Absolutely; I was just making an observation.

Ultimately, there is a need for compromise, and we are at that stage in the process where I think that that is what the public expects. Introducing a provision within the duties in the Bill for the Government to seek an extension for the purpose of a people’s vote is, I would argue, a compromise, in part because there are ways of carrying out a people’s vote that would take account of all the different views in this House. That would involve compromise. For example, we do not like the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement or the framework for the future relationship, but we would be prepared not to stand in the way of them if they were put to a confirmatory vote.

I shall finish by explaining why I was so keen to crowbar these points into the debate. If we do not address these points, and if, through a backroom deal, we ignore the fact that a people’s vote is not provided for in the duties of the Bill, what are we saying to the 1 million people who marched on the streets of this city? What are we saying to the 2 million young people who now have a say on this whole issue but did not have a say three years ago? What are we saying to the 6 million people who signed a parliamentary petition arguing for a revocation, in frustration that a people’s vote might not happen? And what are we saying to the majority of people in this country who certainly did not vote for this mess? That is why it is important, if we are going to seek an extension, that we make it clear that we want to do so primarily to give those people a voice so that they get a final say on whether we go ahead with this disaster or whether we seek to change our country in a different fashion.