Section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019

Part of Exiting the European Union (Sanctions) – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Independent, Broxtowe 4:59 pm, 9th April 2019

I do not doubt for one moment that the hon. Gentleman does not share that view, but the reality is that the majority of members of the Conservative party, as we heard in earlier speeches, are travelling in that direction. The next leader of the Conservative party will be exactly the sort of person who believes in the most ruinous version of Brexit—a no-deal Brexit.

I was heartened to attend a rally at lunchtime today in central London organised by People’s Vote. What a rally it was. People from all backgrounds, of all ages and from all over the United Kingdom came together in support of sending this matter back to the British people. The star of the rally was undoubtedly the brilliant Baroness Boothroyd, who got a standing ovation before she even spoke. After she spoke, she got another rousing standing ovation, and rightly so. She reminded everybody in the audience that she is in her 90th year—I do not think she wanted that broadcast. The point that she made so beautifully, compassionately and passionately is that this issue is not about her generation. Indeed, it is not about my generation either—I am 62. It is about our children and grandchildren. The overwhelming message from that rally was that many young people have spoken to their parents and grandparents, who are now in turn increasingly saying, “Yes, we voted leave, but now we have listened to our children and grandchildren as we have seen the reality of Brexit unfold. We have changed our minds.” It is profoundly ironic that there are right hon. and hon. Members on the Government Benches who have changed their minds and voted for the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement, but they deny the people of this country, two and a half years on, the right to a final say and to change their minds too.

People talk about the will of the people, but the evidence is clear that the will of the people is changing. In any event, 63% of people in this country did not vote to leave the European Union, and the 52% who voted for it did not vote for this Brexit chaos and this Brexit crisis. As they see Brexit unfold, they are increasingly demanding a final say and a people’s vote. I will vote for this motion, but I want a longer extension so we can have a confirmatory vote—a people’s vote—because that is the only way out of this crisis.