Leaving the Eu: Preparations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:14 pm on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 5:14 pm, 3rd September 2019

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. We all know how much the Leader of the Opposition enjoyed seeing Celtic play in Romania.

Jon Trickett asked me about the extent of our negotiations, and they are extensive; the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and the Prime Minister’s sherpa have been visiting every single European capital to ensure that we can advance our negotiations. But one thing is critical: if we are to succeed in these negotiations, we need to get behind the Prime Minister. If the motion before the House is passed tonight and the legislation that it gives effect to is passed tomorrow, we will be allowing the European Union to dictate the length of any extension and to put any conditions it wishes to on that extension. That would totally undermine the Government’s capacity to negotiate in the national interest.

It has been said of some in the past that they sent out the captain to the wicket and broke his bat beforehand. Well, Labour’s approach to negotiations is not just breaking the bat; it is blowing up the whole pavilion. It is no surprise that Labour Members want to sabotage our negotiations, because they also want to sabotage their own negotiations. Labour’s policy on negotiation is to have an infinitely long extension, to negotiate a new deal with Europe, to bring it back to this country, and then to argue that people should vote against that deal and vote to remain. How can we possibly have confidence in the Leader of the Opposition to negotiate in Europe when his own party does not have confidence in him to secure a good deal for the British people?