European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:13 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright Conservative, Kenilworth and Southam 4:13 pm, 4th September 2019

I certainly agree with my hon. Friend that minorities should not be dismissed, and frankly, the way in which we conduct this debate should reflect the fact that 48% of the public voted in a different way from the prevailing outcome. I do not think that we have succeeded in that as a Parliament or in a broader national debate. The truth is that that we—Parliament—set out the rules for this referendum in the European Union Referendum Act 2015. As she has just said, many of us participated in the referendum campaign on both sides of the argument, and we stressed that it was the public’s decision to make. When they had made it, we— Parliament—decided to trigger article 50 of the EU treaty.

As someone who has spent more time than is good for anyone looking at article 50, I can tell the House that it does not require the leaving country to do so with a deal. When we—Parliament—decided to trigger the article 50 process, we knew, or we should have known, that one possible outcome was a no-deal outcome. It was not one that we wished to see and not one that we expected to see, but it was one that could have happened, so I am afraid that on this fundamental point, I cannot agree that we do not have a mandate for no deal and therefore, that we must proceed as the right hon. Member for Leeds Central sets out in the Bill.