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European Union (Withdrawal)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:15 pm on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Labour, Vauxhall 9:15 pm, 3rd September 2019

I will not support this motion, just as I did not support the motion the last time Parliament tried to change the way we work constitutionally. We were told then that it was a one-off, but we are now in our second or third one-off. If this goes through tonight, we will be debating a Bill tomorrow. If we look at it in detail—I know we will have that debate tomorrow—we will see that it makes it clear that it will give even more power to the European Union over how long we should have any kind of extension.

I know this is only a rumour but there is usually some truth in rumours, so I was concerned to hear today that some of the people who drafted this motion for the Bill took advice from EU lawyers. If that happened, it is shocking. I know there will be people in this House who think that there is nothing wrong with that, as they want to be as close as possible to the EU and there is nothing wrong in taking advice from it, but I believe that if this motion is passed tonight the Bill tomorrow will humiliate this Parliament.

We heard a lot about constitutional outrage when the announcement was made about the Queen’s Speech. Four or five extra days have been added to a recess that we all knew about just before the House got up. If people had felt strongly about this, they could have acted and got that discussion then. I genuinely believe that those four or five extra days are much less of a constitutional outrage than what we are setting a precedent for today, which would take away powers from Government. Our side will be in government one day—perhaps a general election is coming; we will be in that same position, and people should be careful. What we are saying today to people is, “What is the point of voting?” They voted to leave and leave won. As many people have said, there was nothing on the ballot paper that said, “We did not vote with a no-deal.” But there was also nothing on that ballot paper that said we wanted to be half in or half out, that we wanted to pay £39 billion or that we wanted to do all those things that were in the withdrawal agreement. We voted to leave. People voted to leave. I know that many people who will vote in this House tonight are remainers who have accepted the result, but the reality is that many colleagues, particularly on my side, actually want to stop Brexit. They see now using “no deal” as almost being synonymous with stopping Brexit—that is the real truth about what is going on.

Mr Clarke has been honest from the beginning. He is not in his seat now but he talked tonight about “tearing the country apart”. What on earth is another extension going to do, other than tear the country apart even more? What on earth are we going to gain by another extension that we have not already been able to achieve in the past two and a half years? What will this actually achieve?

If we vote for the motion tonight, we will send a signal to all those people who voted to leave that we know best—that we are being arrogant and that we know best about how the future outside the European Union will work. That is going to come home and hit right through, particularly to my party, but to the Conservative party as well, when we get a general election. Any Labour party Member who did not vote for a general election would look absolutely ridiculous. Bring on an election and let the people show what they really want.