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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 1:24 pm, 22nd October 2019

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

We come together now, in the very best traditions of this House, to scrutinise this Bill and then take the decision that this country expects: to make the verdict of the British people the law of the land so that we can leave the European Union with our new deal on 31 October.

I of course wish that this decision on our national future had been taken through a meaningful vote on Saturday, but I respect perfectly the motives of my right hon. Friend Sir Oliver Letwin, although I disagree with the effects of his amendment.

I regret, too, that after Saturday’s vote the Government have been forced to act on the advice of the Cabinet Secretary and to take the only responsible course, which is to accelerate our preparations for a no-deal outcome.

Today, we have the opportunity to put all that right, because if this House backs this Bill and if we ratify this new deal, which I believe is profoundly in the interests of our whole United Kingdom and of our European friends, we can get Brexit done and move our country on—and we can de-escalate those no-deal preparations immediately and turn them off next week, and instead concentrate on the great enterprise of building a new relationship of the closest co-operation and friendship, as I said on Saturday, with our European neighbours and on addressing our people’s priorities at home.