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Duties in connection with the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Labour, Aberavon 5:30 pm, 4th September 2019

I rise to speak in favour of amendments 6 and 7 and new clause 1, which have been tabled in my name and those of my right hon. Friend Caroline Flint and many other Members across the Committee. Before I do, however, I want to briefly say that I will be voting for the Bill this evening. That is because I have always been clear that the worst possible Brexit outcome would be a catastrophic no-deal crash-out that severely damages the security and economy of our country and our communities. This is why an extension of any kind is far superior to crashing out on 31 October.

I and other colleagues from across the Committee are, however, deeply concerned that it is nearly three years since MPs voted to trigger article 50 to leave the EU and our nation is still stuck in limbo. We believe that if the UK does not specify the purpose of the extension, we will end up in exactly the same position on 4 January as we are in today on 4 September. The public are getting increasingly tired of this and, like Parliament, increasingly polarised. Finding compromise, or indeed any route forward, will only become more difficult as time goes on. A further extension to the timetable to leave the EU without a very good, clearly defined purpose will leave most of the country banging their heads against a brick wall. The public are fed up of talking and hearing about Brexit. Most people, regardless of what some campaigners may like to tell themselves, would like to see the referendum result honoured. Therefore, amendments 6 and 7, together with new clause 1, aim to set a purpose for the extension request until 31 January. The explicit purpose, we state, should be to pass a Brexit Bill, and, more specifically, to pass something similar to the withdrawal agreement Bill that was drafted in May 2019 as a result of cross-party talks.