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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 5:45 pm on 4th September 2019.

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

That is correct. The commitment in the clarifications of the withdrawal agreement Bill makes it clear that that will be the case until such time as alternative arrangements are found. I will be absolutely frank: the backstop is at the heart of the withdrawal agreement Bill, but if Members really boil it down, how many in this House are actually opposed to it? I am a big fan of the backstop because I believe the backstop protects peace in Northern Ireland. The vast majority of Conservative MPs voted for the withdrawal agreement, which has the backstop at its heart. There are a maximum of 50, or 60 maybe, Members of Parliament who are opposed to the backstop, and as a result we are in the mess we are in now; it is the definition of the cliché “the tail wagging the dog”, and it has to stop.

Let us move forward. Let us get back to the issues that people really care about on the doorstep: education, health, housing and cutting crime. Do we remember when we used to discuss those issues in politics—the vital bread-and-butter issues that really matter to our communities?

This House has been paralysed by its extremes; it is time to break the deadlock, and I hope that colleagues will join us in the Division Lobby later in that spirit.