European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:21 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames Independent, Mid Sussex 4:21 pm, 4th September 2019

I rise to support this Bill, but before I do so, I want to make it clear that I have always believed that the referendum result must be honoured. Indeed, I voted for the withdrawal agreement on every occasion it was presented to the House, which is more than can be said for my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House and other members of the Cabinet whose serial disloyalty has been such an inspiration to so many of us. I think that history will in due course favour the view articulated so clearly last night by my right hon. Friend Sir Oliver Letwin that a threat to commit an act of self-harm if your counterparts in negotiations do not do exactly as you wish is not likely to be an effective or successful negotiating strategy.

The Bill is modest in its ambitions but powerful in its mandate. It merely seeks to avert the immediate risk of the disaster of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October and thereby seeks to give the Government and the House a further opportunity to achieve a resolution of this profoundly difficult issue. Contrary to the Prime Minister’s assertion, the Bill does not deprive him of the ability or flexibility to achieve a negotiated settlement with the EU on 17 October, but it does ensure that if he should fail, as with his current demands I think he is likely to do, there will be time for him to rethink his remarks.

I will not be standing at the next election.