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Britain's Place in the World

Part of Speaker’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 3:13 pm on 15th October 2019.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 3:13 pm, 15th October 2019

That means we should have voted for any deal. We might as well not have had the vote. We set out the sort of deal we would support, but the previous Prime Minister did not reach out to seek consensus across the House. [Interruption.] No, she did not. She did it after 29 March, and everybody knows it. I was in those talks, and both sides said they were held in good faith, but everybody recognised that those talks should have happened two years before they did. If they had, there might just have been a deal that could have been supported by this House. It was the policy of the last Prime Minister not to vote for it.

Let me complete my answer, which is important as it goes to the nonsense that the Act we passed to secure an extension in certain circumstances somehow undermines the negotiations. No measure was taken by this House to prevent a no deal until after 29 March. The negotiations therefore continued for two years without any safeguard against a no deal, and those negotiations did not produce a deal that could go through the House. It is nonsense to suggest that the Act undermines the talks.