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Early Parliamentary General Election (No. 2)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:40 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Leader of the Liberal Democrats 11:40 pm, 9th September 2019

The hon. Gentleman cannot be surprised that the Liberal Democrats are a party that wishes to stop Brexit. In a general election, where we will stand to secure a Liberal Democrat majority, such a Liberal Democrat majority Government would indeed revoke article 50. He should not be surprised by that position; perhaps he should pay more attention.

This Government and this Prime Minister have no mandate for a no-deal Brexit that they are trying to force on the British people. It is clear from the resignations of the right hon. Members for Orpington (Joseph Johnson) and for Hastings and Rye that he has no plans for securing a Brexit deal. He is not entering into this in any spirit of seriousness. Jeremy Lefroy made that point exceptionally well. How does the Prime Minister seriously think that with the previous occupant of that role having tried to negotiate a deal over the course of three years, he and he alone can achieve in four weeks what she failed to do and fight a general election at the same time—what arrogance. If he were serious about getting a deal, he would be negotiating hard in Brussels, not running away from the responsibility of the job that he now holds and said that he wanted for such a long time.

The right hon. Member for Rutland and Melton made the excellent point that a general election cannot be guaranteed to resolve this issue one way or the other. The best way to do that is to hold a people’s vote on the Brexit deal. That is the best way to resolve this crisis—to give people the choice of the Brexit deal that has been negotiated or remaining in the European Union. I do not believe that there is a majority for any specific type of Brexit in this country, and we could determine whether that were the case in a people’s vote. The Liberal Democrats are crystal clear: we want to stop Brexit.