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 5:45 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Labour, Aberavon 5:45 pm, 4th September 2019

As my right hon. Friend Caroline Flint said on Second Reading, we are ready to work every hour of every day, 24/7. The 31 January date is named in the extension document, but if we can get this done before then, and indeed before 31 October, yes—and the huge advantage is that it is on the shelf and ready to go.

We would not have to accept the withdrawal agreement Bill as it stands in its entirety. We could add amendments in Committee; we could improve it, just as with any other legislation. Those who are campaigning for a second referendum can even try again to add a confirmatory vote in Committee, if that is the way they wish to go. As I said earlier, I myself would consider trying to introduce something nearer to a common market 2.0 approach. All those options would be open to us in Committee, but we have to get the Bill over the line on Second Reading. The reality is that whatever angle we are coming from in this deeply divided and fragmented House, the withdrawal agreement Bill is the only game in town if we want to make progress.

Our second substantive proposal calls on the Government to publish a copy of the draft Bill to implement the withdrawal agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union within five working days. The draft Bill must include provisions reflecting the outcome of the inter-party talks. We know that that document exists, and we need to see it published so that we can give it the scrutiny that it requires.

For any Member who supports either a deal-based Brexit or even a second referendum, supporting our amendments is the most sensible and pragmatic approach, and the way forward. Let us get this done. Let us rediscover the lost art of compromise. Let us move our country forward, on to the issues that matter to people up and down the country.