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European Union (Withdrawal) Acts

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

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 2:19 pm, 19th October 2019

No.

On that basis, I urge everyone who wants us to honour the referendum mandate to recognise that the amendment, however sincerely it has been put forward, is unnecessary.

What is necessary now is for us to reach a moment of decision. Lord Judge, the leader of the Cross-Bench peers—in some respects, the voice of moderation in the other place—has said that the time has passed for people to quibble and question the precise terms of this deal. He, a former Lord Chief Justice, has said that Parliament needs to “get on with it”, because otherwise there will be “profound damage” to public confidence in this place.

That is the question that every Member of this House must ask. How will our constituents feel if we vote to support the deal without the amendment? They will feel that a cloud has been lifted; that Parliament has listened to them with respect; and that the vote in 2016, which we promised to honour, has, after three and half years of deadlock and division, been honoured by a House that at last is ready to unite. That is the choice that faces us all.

If we do not vote for the deal without the amendment, I am afraid that all those who sent us here, who are watching our deliberations, will say that Parliament has failed to meet the moment; that Parliament has failed to rise to the occasion; that Parliament has failed to ensure that an important democratic vote takes place; and that the most important vote, with the greatest number of votes cast for any proposition in our history, will be delayed and dishonoured, and will not be delivered. [Interruption.] That is why I urge everyone in this House to recognise that our first duty—[Interruption.]—is to the principle that underpins this place—