Early Parliamentary General Election

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:14 pm on 28th October 2019.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 5:14 pm, 28th October 2019

Elegantly put, and thanks to the work of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, our preparations for a no-deal Brexit are very thorough indeed. But alas, as I have said, we have not been able to get Parliament to agree. There was a tantalising moment when I thought that Parliament was going to do the sensible thing, and then this House threw out the programme motion, at the urgings of the Opposition, at the final hurdle, as they intended all along. They made it inevitable that the people of this country would be retained in the EU against their will for at least another three months, at a cost of another £1 billion a month. [Interruption.] I hear cries from those on the Opposition Benches to bring the Bill back. I have offered that and I continue to offer it. I wanted, and I still want so badly, to accommodate this House.

Those of us on the Government Benches have compromised. Last week, I wrote to the Leader of the Opposition offering him more time for debate—days more in Committee, days more in the Lords, the ability to sit round the clock if necessary, and all last weekend—with only one condition: that he would agree to do what all Leaders of the Opposition are meant to yearn, crave and campaign for and have a general election on 12 December. I offered him that chance and I offer it again today. [Interruption.] He turned us down on Thursday and Friday. I offer again today to use all the hours God gives to scrutinise this Bill, provided that that scrutiny concludes in time for an election on 12 December.

Let us be clear: that is enough time to scrutinise this Bill. It was a remarkable feature of the debate last week on the new deal that not only were there no new ideas in that debate, but the Opposition actually ran out of speakers in the debate. [Interruption.] They want more time—they ran out of speakers. The people of this country can see the reality. They are not interested in scrutinising Brexit. They are not interested in debating Brexit. They just want to delay Brexit and cancel Brexit. If the House is to convince the country that it is serious about getting Brexit done, there must be a fixed term to this debate—a parliamentary terminus, a hard stop—that everybody can believe in.