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European Union (Withdrawal) Acts

Part of Prime Minister’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 2:10 pm on 19th October 2019.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Leader of the Independent Group for Change 2:10 pm, 19th October 2019

On 26 June 2016, we had a referendum, which in effect was a snapshot on a single day. A distorted photograph was obtained. It was distorted by false images. It was distorted by fibs on a bus and by fake promises of getting an easy, quick deal that would convey all the benefits of free trade that our country has enjoyed for so many years as a member of the European Union. It was created by preying on people’s fears and fuelling their prejudices at the same time.

Three and a half years later, we now at least have some clarity. On two occasions, the Government have negotiated a deal with the European Union. Like Antoinette Sandbach, I think this a bad deal for all the good reasons given by so many right hon. and hon. Members.

This place remains divided. The answer is not yet another general election. The last one did not help us by solving anything, because it could not. The only way to solve this matter is to get it back to where, in effect, it began: to the people. We should put the deal to a confirmatory referendum. People are entitled to change their minds as the evidence changes, and they now see with clarity what Brexit is all about. Surely our young people who were not able to vote in 2016 must have the right to play a part and determine their own futures, given that so many of them will be affected by Brexit.