I am pleased to be called in this debate and to follow Sir George Howarth.
I have lost count of the number of times in my travels through the beautiful constituency of Thirsk and Malton when I have been approached by people saying, “What on earth are you lot doing down there? Why can’t you simply sort it out together?” The reality is that there are three reasons why we cannot do so.
The first is, of course, that there are an awful lot of remain MPs in this Parliament, and I speak as a remain Member of Parliament. I voted to remain and if there was another referendum I would vote to remain again, but I do not advocate a referendum. I have had my fill of referendums. I also voted in this place to give the people a vote to decide whether we stay or we leave. Nevertheless, if people are straightforward, when push comes to shove, a number of MPs in this place do want a second referendum, whatever they might say.
The second reason is party politics, and the Leader of the Opposition is of course the worst culprit. He claims now that to leave the European Union with the wrong deal would be catastrophic, despite the fact that for decades he campaigned to leave the European Union on any terms possible. The reality is that when the previous Prime Minister’s deal came back before the House—a fair deal, in my view—90% of my colleagues on the Government side of the House voted to pass that deal, while only 2% of Labour Members voted for it—five Members of Parliament. Too much party politics got in the way of a sensible deal.
Finally, on Brexit perfection, 10% of my colleagues on this side of the House, for whatever reason—the deal was either too hot or too cold—did not vote for that deal. It was not seen as the Goldilocks deal. Some people said that it was not Brexit. Some said that the people had voted for a completely clean break. The reality is that the Vote Leave campaign said clearly in its manifesto that there is a European free trade zone that stretches from Iceland to the borders of Russia, and when we left we would be part of it.
It is quite reasonable for people to expect a deal when we leave, which was why the previous Prime Minister set out her red lines and brought back a deal, which respected the promises that were made before the referendum. To settle the issue, Opposition Members often ask for a people’s vote. Now is the right time for a people’s vote.