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European Union (Withdrawal) Acts

Part of Prime Minister’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 19th October 2019.

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Photo of Peter Kyle Peter Kyle Labour, Hove 1:24 pm, 19th October 2019

I say with all respect and humility to the former Prime Minister that a lot of people watching who have listened to her words will feel strongly that the only con trick was a Prime Minister making a solemn promise to the public that under no circumstances would there be a border down the Irish sea, and then traipsing through the Lobby to vote for precisely that. I would have expected a little more humility from her.

All of us who participated in the referendum debate noticed one thing: in the prospectus for Brexit, it was very poorly defined. It was difficult to gauge precisely what Brexit would mean for our country. However, when the former Prime Minister signed the article 50 treaty, she had the legal right to define Brexit. She came to the House with her deal, which had over 500 pages defining Brexit. For almost a year, she and the Government said that the deal respected the will of the people.

Now we have a separate deal, brought back by a separate Government, who say that this fundamentally different deal, with different customs arrangements, different regulatory systems, and a different order for the United Kingdom, represents the will of the people. Both deals cannot represent the will of the people. I say this with all humility: if we want to know what the will of the people is—what they were voting for—we can ask them. Their response will be based not on promises, but on facts, because we have the facts now.

My hon. Friend Phil Wilson and I have been working on a compromise—and it is a compromise, because it means we could become the remainers who open the door to Brexit. Fundamentally, it is about breaking the gridlock in Parliament. It is based around a deal.